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The 2012 Summer Olympics are turning into a giant coming-out party for the animated GIF.

Stashed in: Tumblr!, YouTube!, Olympics!, Web Browsers, History of Tech!, Gymnastics!, About GIFs, my boys love this!, ha!

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GREAT observation:

The GIF, invented by CompuServe in 1987, has many advantages over video: It requires no Flash and works in any browser on any device. It is silent, and therefore viewable in environments where sound is not available or desirable (i.e., the office). It’s incredibly shareable, as any visit to Tumblr will attest. And, perhaps most interestingly, a GIF is harder to take down than, say, a YouTube video, where one DMCA notice or the whim of the uploader can turn a video into a black void. (Try to watch this hilarious, adorable, RIDICULOUS video of U.S. gymnast’s Aly Raisman’s parents on YouTube, and you’ll get the dreaded “This video has been removed by the user.” Gawker was able to snag the video in a different format.)

“People aren’t quite sure about the rights involved with GIFs as a medium,” Lincoln said. Sports journalist Scott Lewis has reported the notoriously protective MLB is trying to crack down on GIFs within 48 hours of a game. (But “sports and animated GIFs were made for each other,” laments David Holmes of The Daily Dot.) Good luck with that.

Like any disruptive, creative medium, the GIF is easy to spread and difficult to control. The files are small; anyone can host them without relying on third-party servers. Most importantly, a GIF is a moving story compressed to its most essential form. If the 2008 presidential election was a coming-out party for Twitter, perhaps the 2012 Summer Olympics are the coming-out party for a 25-year-old file format.

NBC's authoritarian removal of stuff from YouTube has caused the proliferation of GIFs.

Pandora's box is open.

I see you one and raise you one.


ta daa!  i love how she lands it perfectly at the end and raises her arms anyhow, like it all went according to plan!

Her training over and over again makes that ending arm raise automatic. Muscle memory! :)

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