The word GIF was named the word of the year by the Oxford Dictionaries. Here is TechCrunch’s Devin Coldewey explaining why.
This is because communication takes place in the world; it’s rich, it’s improvised, it’s distracted. Not so on the internet. Most conversation is in text — inflexible, sterile text. What a stifling restriction for anything other than the most basic communications! It’s no surprise that constellations of impenetrable argot have arisen to circumvent these restrictions. The humble emoticon is an invaluable tool for shading a statement one way or another, and a further natural outgrowth of that is things like rage faces and celebrity gifs.