File format creator Steve Wilhite accepts Webby Award from Tumblr’s David Karp

GIF creator gets lifetime Webby Award, reveals it’s pronounced ‘Jif’

At the 17th annual Webby Awards last night, GIF file format creator Steve Wilhite was given the Lifetime Achievement Award.

He also definitely stated how GIF should be pronounced, with his five-word acceptance speech, posted on screen on the night, saying: "It’s pronounced ‘Jif’ not ‘Gif.’" Who knew?

The Webby Awards honours excellence on the internet and all awards recipients have to keep speeches to five words. Wilhite accepted his award from Tumblr’s David Karp (pictured left to right).

A statement on its site reads: “The Webby Awards are proud to honor Steve Wilhite with a Lifetime Achievement Webby Award in recognition of inventing the GIF file format.

"The GIF has had an immeasurable impact on the way users interface with the Web and how designers and developers present visual data and imagery. From its humble beginnings in the early days of the Netscape logo, the GIF has continually proven a dynamic format for Net artists and advertisers alike.

"Despite developments in moving image and animation technology on the Web, the GIF remains a staple among image formats used to spread news and information. The proliferation of the GIF within today’s meme-powered, Tumblr-driven pop culture, proves it a lasting format still among the most celebrated on the Web (despite the hotly contested controversy over its correct pronunciation).

"With 2012 being the 25th anniversary of the GIF we think the 17th Annual Webby Awards is a most fitting event to honor and celebrate Steve Wilhite and this historical achievement.”

Established in 1996 during the Web’s infancy, The Webbys is presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS) — a 1,000+ member judging body that includes Executive Members comprised of leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities, and Associate Members who are former Webby Award Winners and Nominees and other Internet professionals.

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