The 404 1,505: Where we unravel our hiero-gif-ic history with Giphy
52:02

The 404 1,505: Where we unravel our hiero-gif-ic history with Giphy

Culture
It's Friday June 13, 2014. I'm Mario Nunez. And from our CBS studios in New York City. Welcome to the four o four. [MUSIC] Hey, what's up everybody. Thanks for joining us. It's Friday the 13th. A little bit scared, about what's gonna happen in the next hour or so. Freaky. Yeah. But regardless. It's a great day. Because, Jay, we have Tyler Manzel. From Giphy on the show. [NOISE] Big round of applause for the Tyler. Yeah! Yeah. Thank you for joining us, man. Good to meet you. We actually met before. We did. But we, We need,to start doing that. And just starting the show when you walk. Yeah. [LAUGH]. In the room. Yeah, come on, man. There's no one else here but us right now [LAUGH] and] no other cameras. You know, it's funny. Right before we start though, I want to give a big thank you to Nam. Your co worker at Giphy who set up this interview, my good friend as well. He's, he's the best. Yeah. He's great. Definitely. This guy. He's right there. This guy. Wave hi to the camera Nam. You know what's funny Nam and I had known each other for a little while. We met at San Francisco state back in California and you know, we sort of moved jobs for the last few years and we've kind of moved up, in the ranks and things and a couple of months ago he was like. Just when I got a new job. And I was like oh man, that's amazing. You have an amazing job already like, what could be an upgrade from this? He's like, I'm gonna be working at a place that makes gifs. I was like, man that doesn't sound like an upgrade at all. I mean, how many people could be working at this company? And then he sort of gave me the elevator pitch, which I've heard subsequently many, many times, because we've been in introduced to the same people a few times. Right. I love hearing the pitch because, to see people's eyes light up that it's possible to work at a company that only makes gifs, is amazing. Like, that, that must be the greatest job in the world. It's, it's a kinda like working in an ice cream's factory. [LAUGH] Or like, or like Willy, it's like Willy Wonka. Right. The Willy Wonka factory of, of the, of the internet. Yeah, it's pretty neat. It's incredible, yeah,. So, you know, aside from bringing Nam on the show to give this pitch himself, just can you explain to people that may not know or be familiar with Giphy what exactly the website is? Sure, absolutely. So, Giphy is a, a website it, it, it initially just started out as a, a GIF. Search engine. Mm-hm. You were on the internet, you wanted to find a like, a great cat GIF. Or a great GIF of someone being sad. Or, whatever. An emotion, a reaction. Right. A, you know, a goat riding a turtle. Simple stuff. Exactly. GIPHY is the site you go to, absolutely. It has since evolved beyond that. It's been around for about for a year and a half, and you know, over the past six months or so, it's really become so much more. We've been able to put gifs on twitter. You can put gifs on Facebook through using our links. We've partnered with businesses to create original content for them. We host all kinds of like incredible gifs for different companies, different TV shows, different movies, so they can use all those gifs online as well. Mm-hm. It's really become this, this hub for. All things gif on the internet. Right. It's become so much more, now it still is a search engine and it still is like an incredible search engine to find whatever you want, but it's, it's, it's evolved beyond that. Yeah, it's incredible cause you feel like yeah, anyone who's been on the internet for more than a year or so can tell that gifs have made a serious comeback. Yeah. It's sort of in a renaissance period right now. Exactly. Just to sort of trace back the history, I remember the first gif that I saw in the 90s was that dancing banana. You remember that one? I, I see it often. Really? So, yeah, yeah, yeah, it,it still shows up from time to time. [CROSSTALK] Yeah, it's great because the internet really has a- Peanut butter and jelly time. Exactly. Yeah, yeah. This is like a gif version of that flash video. Yeah. It's great because like, I feel like the internet, you know, it hasn't been around that long, but it's been around long enough for you to be nostalgic about things that were around in the beginning. And I feel like gifs sort of started as, a humor driven thing to kind of distract people or apologize for your crappy website or 404 page. Yeah well that's. [CROSSTALK]. Yeah, the under construction of gif, so the first gifs I remember from like GeoCities or. Right. Or like the, you know you, would have like, like a line break. But it would be some kind of like pulsing. Right. You know, kind of like rainbows. [LAUGH] whatever, you know? And it was like the coolest thing ever. Like, I remember like, putting those in my GeoCities page and being like, well. I'm badass. I'm just gonna let that do, [LAUGH] the heavy lifting. Just like I can type programming to my resume now. [LAUGH] You know that's funny. We had a guy from the internet archives on this show. Yeah. A couple months ago. And he showed us this collection of under construction gifs that he coll, he's been collecting over the years. I wanted to, you to take a look at this, Yeah. And for everyone watching the video, check this out. There's just, maybe, dozens and dozens of pages of Under Construction gifs. So many, so many memories of my-. Yeah. Pokemon fan site, coming back. That's just incredible. If you want to reconstruct a page, as it appeared in 90s, this is the places you would go. That's incredible, I like the one with the With the crane, that would. That's like a high tech one. Yeah. [LAUGH] That's a. It's doing some serious construction work, yeah. [LAUGH] But you know, in the last few years, I'd say in the last five years, we have seen, sort of a comeback with the gifs and it's not really humor driven anymore. It sorta spans a wide range. Of emotion. Yeah. How did that happen? How did we get here. That's a really good question, I mean, I think that, well it, it, you know, it definitely it still like humor plays a, a sort of a big part in it still, I think like there is nothing fun, funnier to me than a, a good gif. Right. And I think that, that plays a part in it still, like, if you want to, if you want to send an email to someone. Mm- hm. And if you want to, spice it up a little bit. Sending a gif is the way to go for sure, you know? but, as far as like why, why it's come back. You know, I don't really know. You know, it's, you, technology has increased to a point where gifts look nicer. You know, the, obvious, like you can just, you know, take a look at the, I, I'm sorry, I just got. Got distracted by. By my Twitter page on the [LAUGH]. Oh, that's me. I didn't realize that is, [LAUGH] And this is something that was gonna be shown. [LAUGH] Yeah. We actually should never forget about poor, poor Mercy. Mercy, the cat there. Just really gratitude. Killed, killed that at an early age, right? The Kardashians. I'm sorry, I got distracted there. But yeah, so now like, larger gif files can be easily seen you know, as opposed to just like these, the under construction gifs. Now you can actually like show, you know, small clips from a t.v. show. Now you can you know, actually. Show a reaction by some, you know, somebody from a movie. Right. Like, screaming or crying or whatever, you know, it's, it's much easier to do that. You know, different net, you know, social networks like Tumblr, for instance, I think, was, was hugely instrumental in, kind of, fostering these Gif communities. Mm-hm. You know, based around. Like t.v or movie like fandoms. I think that was, I think that was huge product for, the Gif format. You know, people splicing up and collecting, Doctor Who Gifs. Right. Or, or you know, Buffy the Vampire Slayer or whatever. Those things go hand or you know, what's the, Sherlock. Oh, yes. Sherlock is, is like. Enormously, enormously popular in the sort of gif, gif realm. I think that, like the TV show, or just a I don't know, like media like fandoms. Right. Were just incredibly, incredibly important to, to fostering that as well. Yeah. Yeah. You know what's fine is, I, I read this story. I've just been doing research for this episode, I read this story about a high school teacher who works with students that have English as a second language. She's an ESL teacher, and she's been using gifs lately, to sort of communicate. To students to teach them about vocabulary, because a lot of the gifs have captions on them. Yeah, sure. But, it's also a great cultural touchstone too, which I think it is a great point that you make that, you know, if you want a great reference to American pop culture, maybe you should be looking a gifs because they are always the most modern things. Absolutely, absolutely. And and it's actually really funny that, just gifs that. As language in general, like even if like you, you find a gif for a series of gifs that just don't have any subtitles on them at all. Right. You're using them as kind of like a. Eh, like a hieroglyph, ya know, a hieroglyphics, hierogifics. [LAUGH] Whoa. Whoa! [LAUGH] Quick, somebody write that down. No seriously, yeah. [LAUGH] I like that. We've stumbled upon something here. Jesus. Maybe we shouldn't air this and maybe we should go into business. [LAUGH] God, I love that. No. But yeah, you can, you can actually, like. Beyond the, the written language or beyond, you know? Like, you can, you can string together a series of, Emotions. Or, you can, you can, you know? Get across your point simply by, you know? Putting together a, Homer Simpson is, you know? Walking into a bush. Right. You know? Backing up back into a bush because of this, because of this, you know? Like. It, it goes, it goes beyond the English language, or, you know, any language. Yeah, it's funny, cause man, I feel like, you know, anyone that reads the internet or has the unfortunate decision to read internet comments know tha,t the vast majority of people don't have a good grasp of the English language, whether they choose to or not. So sometimes the best way to communicate something is not in your own words. Let somebody else take care of it, you know. The gif can do that. They're just so full of opinion that they can't, they can't get it out fast enough. Right. That's why it gets a little jumbled. I do love reaction gifs though, I mean, it's the best way to punctuate a sentence, or just replace what you want to say entirely. But, you know along the lines of pop culture, there's these themes that you see, you know it. Everybody uses gifs now. In comments, on Reddit they're everywhere. Yeah. But you start to notice sort of the same pop culture references being used. Like Beyonc

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