The Obama campaign has officially joined the GIF bandwagon, sending out an animated GIF of the president giving high-fives to a crowd in an campaign email soliciting donations from supporters.
The email, which was sent out Friday morning with the subject "High Five," features four slightly different animated images of Obama doling out high fives to a group of supporters.
Animated GIFs, short for Graphics Interchange Format, are a relic from the earliest days of the World Wide Web, when its compressed size allowed users to share colorful, active information across relatively slow Internet connections.
According to The Daily Dot, Compuserve created the first GIF (it was a picture of a plane) back in 1987. Thanks to overuse (including, but not limited to, 'Dancing Baby' below), the GIF began to look tacky and fell out of favor in the 1990s.
Nowadays, when Internet users expect to consume information faster and with minimal effort, GIFs have undergone something of a renaissance--appearing as blockbuster memes like "Nyan Cat," capturing fictional teen breakup faces, and in more interactive "rubbable" format, courtesy of GIF-loving site Buzzfeed.
GIFs are even helping reporters add visual depth to their coverage of mainstream news events.
New York Times reporter Jenna Wortham wrote of their usefullness during the Olympics -- the animated playback format of GIFs meant that you could watch Olympians win gold on constant loop and in slow motion.
The Obama campaign has also made frequent use of the moving image on his Tumblr page, captioning the following GIF, "When my boyfriend told me he wasn't going to vote for Romney."
But now that the adults have adopted the format, does that mean GIFs are over? The Atlantic Wire's Elspeth Reeve thinks so.
It seems all cute and quirky and fun that President Obama's campaign emailed supporters four GIFs of the president giving fans high-fives. But do not be fooled. This is like the days in 2006 when the first old people started getting on Facebook. It seemed so cute at the time to see someone like, say, former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey hanging out with the college kids. But it was the begining of the parent invasion.