Are GIFS already old?
The Future. Giphy is trying to convince the UK’s top competition regulator that its $400 million acquisition of the company should go through because it is so uncool that only Meta will buy it… and the company brought receipts. We’re not joking. Whether the deal does or doesn’t go through is immaterial to the fact that we may be entering (or have already entered) a post-GIF culture. Don’t be surprised if emojis are next.
The Guardian is giving Millennials a heart attack by reporting that even Giphy doesn’t believe GIFS are cool anymore.
- In a filing with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, the company provided “links to several articles and tweets” that show that Gen Z considers gifs “for boomers” and are “cringe.”
- That has led to the company’s decline in culture and Wall Street popularity (the company’s valuation was down $200 million from its peak in 2016).
Internet culture writer Ryan Broderick went so far as to describe gifs as “the cringe reaction image your millennial boss uses in Slack” (which makes us here at TFP feel very attacked).
The death of the GIF
So, what is behind the decline of the GIF? It may have been Giphy itself…
- Giphy wanted to be the Google of GIFS when it was founded in 2013, but that led to only the most popular gifs getting used repeatedly (like Search results).
- That hurt discoverability and the creation of new popular GIFS, making the communication format seem stuck in a past cultural era.
- And when Giphy struck deals with media companies to avoid copyright issues, the whole endeavor felt more corporatized and safe than what users wanted.
Those factors have led to nine of the top 10 GIFS on Giphy being posted by the companies that made them (as opposed to organic users) — an attempt to make their brand go viral. That’s apparently a turn-off to Gen Z.
We assume that this is their general reaction.