At first glance, it appears as a simple picture. However, keep your eyes locked on and you’ll notice that what you’re staring at is no ordinary picture. Oh, not at all. That brief animation you just watched is what’s called a “GIF.”
“An animated GIF is a series of images that create the impression of movement, much like a mini-movie that repeats on an endless loop.” Depending on the context, GIF stands for many, many different things. For this particular context it refers to GIF as, “Graphics/Graphic Interchange Format.”
They’ve begun to establish a presence in the form of memes and as an appropriate illustration of ones emotional reaction to another’s comment. For example, one person may post a very funny comment and in turn, someone else posts a GIF of a man laughing in response to that individuals funny remark. See? Emotions are conveyed in a totally new way!
It should be noted that GIFs are super-evolved forms of keyboard emoticons. If everyone knew how to properly post/use GIFs all the smileys and various other keyboard emoticons would cease to exist.
The GIF is moving into more public forums under politics and news in the form of satirization. Spending just one minute over at awesome gifs within the Politics category is enough to draw gales of laughter from any viewer.
To claim GIFs are nothing more than silly creations of the internet is a very narrow-minded approach. For those individuals, I highly recommend Googling the term GIF and, using an open-mind, consider the quality of emotional expression each unique GIF conveys. Really think about the potential humor people can create by placing the right GIF in the right place at the right time.