Twenty-eight years ago, the ever-looping GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) was created by Steve Wilhite of CompuServe.
"I remember when other people saw the GIF," Wilhite recalled in an interview with The New York Times. His colleagues quickly took notice and proceeded to abandon their work and began to spread the GIF online, he said.
Since then, these little moving images—often moments grabbed from videos—have continued to captivate and entertain the Internet.
More than that, though, the GIF has been the subject of one of the most heated debates in Internet history—how do you actually pronounce this three letter word?
Finally, in 2013, Wilhite set the record straight while accepting a Webby Award for his work. In his five-word acceptance speech, a big screen appropriately flashed a GIF reading: "It's pronounced JIF, not GIF."
The Internet, or those that pronounce it as "GIF," erupted. Peanut butter brand, Jif, owned by The J.M. Smuckers Company, wasted no time getting in on the action:
Regardless of what's right, 70 percent of people still pronounce the word as "ghif," according to a poll done by Mashable and Column Five in 2014. The hotly debated word also was presented with the Word of the Year award in 2012 by the Oxford American Dictionary, which – incidentally – accepts both pronunciations.
In other words, after 28 years and counting, the GIF is the Internet gift that keeps on giving.