2012, it seems, is the year the GIF finally receives the recognition it deserves. Long had the short animated images languished on 4chan and Reddit before transitioning over to Tumblr and BuzzFeed. 2012 was the year of the reaction GIF blog, where everyone from law students to editors filled Tumblrs with GIFs meant to capture (and laugh at) the human condition. Then came an avant-garde form of election coverage, where stables of live-GIFers fought with Photoshop to bring their devoted audiences the funniest, most compelling GIFs of the presidential candidates.
Now, the GIF has received the ultimate sign of zeitgeisty approval: “GIF” (the verb) is officially the Oxford American Dictionaries’ 2012 word of the year.