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If a picture can speak a thousand words, is it fair to say a GIF can speak a thousand feelings?

At a recent Ignite event, during which each speaker had five minutes and a maximum of 20 slides to get their point across, our imagination was caught by one of the evening’s more enlightening talks all about the humble GIF.

Candace Kuss, Director of Social Media at H+K Strategies, argues that the GIF is a force of computing technology. Since its conception in 1987, it has increased in popularity because it allows people to express themselves quickly. Whether it’s a baby dancing, a Barak Obama mic drop, or a good, old fashioned, slow clap, GIFs help convey any emotion.

What’s more, the history of the GIF seems fairly unfettered by the concept of money. Steve Wilhite, the founding father of GIFs, has never taken a penny from them, according to rumours. While the original GIF was suited to logos, the animated version hasn’t been a success for brands. That’s not for lack of trying though.

It would seem the only thing that hasn’t caught on about GIFs is how to pronounce them. Apparently, it’s “jif” but don’t let that stop you.