AOL has an originality problem. Sure, AOL has written big checks for vast sums of money to buy cool things like The Huffington Post, TechCrunch and Engadget. But the AOL service is no longer cool. AIM has taken a backseat to Gchat and Facebook messaging. AOL mail trails its competitors. When it comes to original ideas, AOL is still looking for a hit.
Perhaps that’s where the AOL Tumblr comes in. Until recently, the site was used to share funny and interesting stories. But then AOL had an idea: animated GIFs, which are image files that contain a couple of frames of animation and are usually captioned with some kind of Impact-esque font. Last night, AOL live-giffed the Grammy Awards, posting clips of several moments from the broadcast and captioning them with phrases like “U MAD?” Another image compared celebrities and their outfits to various types of food. With every new post, the laughs just kept on coming.
I predict that AOL has started a new trend here. Over the next few months, we’ll see GIF images take the world by storm. I think we’ll see long list posts like “47 Adorable Cat GIFs,” and we’ll see new Tumblr blogs appear that do nothing but post GIF images around a certain theme. All because of AOL and its originality.
Thank you, AOL. Thank you.