The creator of GIF, Stephen Wilhite passes away at 74

Smrithi Mohan
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Stephen Wilhite

Netizens pay their tribute to the creator of GIF Stephen Wilhite who passed away last week due to COVID-19.

If there is anything that needs to be credited for making our regular text chats with our friends interesting, it is GIFs. The internet mourned this week after the inventor of GIF, Stephen Wilhite, passed away at the age of 74 due to COVID-19. Graphics Interchange Format or as they are commonly known as GIFs was created by him when he worked at CompuServe in the 1980s. He introduced them at a time when internet speed was icy in comparison to today. It was a way to help people distribute “high-quality, high-resolution graphics” in color.

The invention became a huge success as millions continue to use it in their daily only interactions. They are usually used as part of animated memes or in between regular texts as a reaction. We all have witnessed the stress of finding the perfect GIF that matches the conversation before our friend changes the topic. They have indeed become an important aspect of our chats and we cannot imagine social media with them.

Apart from it being widely used online, there is a long holding debate on how one pronounces it. To the point where people judge you and assume if you are a boomer, millennial, or a GenZ based on it. Putting a rest to the debate the creator himself clarified it with The New York Times and said, "The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations. They are wrong. It is a soft ‘G,’ pronounced ‘jif.’ End of story."

On hearing the news, the netizens did not miss the chance to honor the creator and his memory in the most Internet way possible. They took to Twitter to mourn the loss.

Here's how netizens bid him goodbye:

RIP Legend, thank you so much for making our online life interesting!

Also Read: 18 GIFs you’ll relate to if you hate interacting with people too

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