GIFs are the new YouTube. Even though .GIFs have been around for a lot longer than YouTube, it's true. You know it's true. Why would you bother watching a full eighteen seconds of a video of a Stormtrooper hitting his head when you could just watch the moment of impact over and over again*? If pundits declared YouTube to be the end of our attention spans, I can't even imagine what they have to say about .GIFs, but I'm too busy watching .GIFs to care. I spend more time at Senor Gif than at YouTube on any given week; it delivers all the head trauma and amazing pet clips with none of the waiting for the extraneous video to pass by or sitting through advertisements.
But it wasn't until I discovered If We Don't, Remember Me that I realized .GIFs can be a medium of artistic expression. The movie clips are mostly still; if you're not paying attention, you'd think they were large .JPEGs. But there's always some kind of moment (usually a very, very tiny movement) to throw you off. It's just enough to make the Gif into a window pane, a view into another world, a mirror with a flutter of supernatural movement in the reflection.
.GIFs bring new life to the internet, an irrepressible, amoebic life, completing simple functions again and again. You can keep your Hulu; I know where my allegiances lie.
* Most would consider the lack of sound to be a problem with .GIFs, but it's also kind of appealing. They're jittery, silent markers of a short stretch of time, like old movies. They're like fossils from a prehistoric internet of the 1930s that never existed. If they somehow had sound attached, they'd lose all of their charm.