Boomers learned how to use GIFs, so Millennials and Gen-Z are over it
::Liz Lemon rolling eyes GIF::
According to an article over at VICE, GIFs are a plaything of the Boomers now, an antiquated way of communication shunned by the younger set of technologists in lieu of emojis and selfies of their foreheads.
As someone who still maintains a “reaction GIFs” folder, this is news to me. But then, as a Gen X’er, I don’t really give a shit what’s popular with what generation or what’s not. We do how we do. Millennials can pound sand.
The thing is, overall, GIFs haven’t lost any ground on the internet as far as usage. GIPHY reported strong use numbers, and r/gifs on Reddit still has over 21 million subs and thousands of daily comments.
GIFs are still hot, and if you tell me that only Boomers are using them while also telling me that Boomers are using them on Reddit, I call bull. I’ve never seen a Boomer use Reddit. Go ahead, ask a Boomer what Reddit even is.
While there is no evidence to support it, chances are the younger generations are calling GIFs dead (as in, the Boomers have latched on to GIF use, so it must be uncool) while simultaneously still using them to express themselves.
Otherwise, who would be creating new GIFs? Hell, several of the Instagram accounts I follow are younger Millennial kids that post nothing but self-created memes and GIFs. Memes have moved into communication territory previously occupied by GIFs, but have certainly not replaced them.
Not to mention circumstantial evidence like the children that infest my domicile continuing to shove GIFs in my face like a Subway sandwich artist insisting that it’s real bread. I can’t use the bathroom without my phone blowing up with poop GIFs from the 21-year-old, who doesn’t even live here. How does he know?
To be fair, I started the trend of sending poop GIFs while on the toilet in the house, but a Boomer I am most certainly not, even though my GIF-addicted 13-year-old calls me one.
The GIF was created way back in 1987 and has had its battles with sustainability, so it makes sense that a lot of young internet users might not ever use a GIF in communication. Others might have only started with memes and saw their parents using GIFs before deciding to never use them again.
One could easily find many cases of GIFs not being used, but I think it’s less that Boomers are using GIFs and more that older generations are using GIFs too, even though they invented them and popularized their use.
Younger generations always think they are utilizing technology better than the previous generation, I know I feel that way toward Boomers. So when an older generation finally adapts, the younger set somehow turns it into some sort of insult toward the technology itself. Fucking why? Get over it you little shits.
Yes, my mom just discovered and started using GIFs. Sure, she’s two years behind the trends but isn’t that what we all want? To be using technology together and communicating more effectively? Or are you Gen-Z/Millennial rats pissed because you no longer have ownership of a particular communication method?
What is happening is that younger internet users are using apps like TikTok and Snapchat to share videos of themselves, becoming the GIF. This has become the current hot form of communication, therefore by attrition, GIFs must either be dead or relegated to use by an older generation. Hence the heat from younger Millennials and Gen-Z.
But that’s a self-centered reaction. For every person that isn’t using a GIF, someone of equal-or-lesser generational value is. Plus the olds. What happens when the olds start using TikTok and Snapchat to communicate? Will those platforms be designated as only for olds as the younger generations feel somehow slighted that the olds dare use their favorite communication tools?
Frankly, this is one of those internet situations where everything is subjective and true use is obfuscated. It’s not clear whether it’s the younger Millennials, Gen-Z, or both that are turning away from GIFs.
We’ve got Elder Millennials in the mix, Boomers using emojis along with younger Millennials and Gen-Z, and the classic “Ok Boomer” meme taking a toll on Gen-Z. It’s all a mess and none of it means a damn thing.
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