The presidential inauguration dominated media coverage and just about everyone's news feed on Monday. People used Facebook and Twitter to discuss speeches and poems, but one piece of technology was clearly the preferred method for chronicling the day's most infamous events: the GIF. Graphic Interchange format, or GIF (pronounced "jiff" or "giff"), is the official term for those endlessly replaying short video clips.
Bloggers love them for their ability to record fleeting events, and Monday's events gave birth to many now-famous ones. There was Michelle Obama's (debatable) eye roll that ignited conversation online. There was Sasha Obama's exhausted yawn, which will no doubt haunt her for years to come. And there was the highly shared moment when Malia Obama photo-bombed her little sister's attempt to capture an adorable smooch between the president and first lady.
GIF's popularity was officially acknowledged when it became the Oxford Dictionaries USA Word of the Year 2012, but here's a piece of geek trivia for you: People have filled blogs and emails with looped video clips in GIF form since the late 1980s. In fact, what could be known as the first GIF happened in 1879 when Eadweard Muybridge, an English photographer, showed people what a horse looked like in full gallop.
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