Invented in 1987, the GIF (or Graphics Interchange Format) definitely isn't showing its age. Popular on social networks, community websites, and making appearances in acquisition announcements, the GIF has evolved from the spinning email animations of yesteryear into short and seamless pieces of online media. It was named word of the year in 2012, and yesterday, its creator — Steve Wilhite — accepted a lifetime achievement award at The Webby Awards.
Wilhite created the GIF when he was working at CompuServe (an early US ISP). According to The New York Times, the format was originally intended to help the company display things like color weather maps, although the first image he created was an animated paper airplane. More than 10 years after his retirement, he remains proud of his creation but there's one thing he's been wanting to clarify — the pronunciation of the word. Fittingly, Wilhite used a GIF for his Webby acceptance speech, reminding us "it’s pronounced JIF, not GIF."