In the future we won’t watch live sports on television, we’ll watch real-time GIFs paired with a live audio feed. In the future we won’t watch shows on television or Netflix, we’ll watch episode length GIFs synced with a soundtrack. In the future kids won’t trade sports or magic cards, they will trade GIF cards. In the future SBNation will publish a “longform” piece on the history of action cards from the 1980s and how they influenced GIF creation. It will be fantastic and exhausting.

In the future we won’t debate the pronunciation of the ‘g’ in gif, but we’ll debate whether the ‘I’ is pronounced /ai/ or /I/.

GIFs, man. They’ve taken over and these are the people making them…

The Real-Time GIF Machine

You best logoff from social media sites if you’re not watching live events and programs and trying to avoid spoilers. The real-time GIF machine snags every bobbled popfly, muffed punt, and silly facial expression that graces his or her screen. This maestro of moving images probably works off of a dozen or so screens at once, scanning for the next bump of viral content to snort up their nose and sneeze all over Twitter for the inclined masses.

Probably employed to create content for a blog network or website. Fields requests from social media’s elite.

The N00b

Spends most of his or her free time gawking and admiring GIFs. Ponied up for a new laptop and some screen capture software in an effort to learn how to make their own content. Usually fails to grasp fundamentals. Lives with parents.

The Recognition Seeker

Not really watching anything, save for their Twitter timeline. It’s “Oh, I see Darren Rovell tweeted about the value of the suit Kevin Durant wore on his way into the arena. I will make a GIF of that and tweet it at him and hope that he RTs me!!!” or sometimes it’s “Bruce Arthur just tweeted ‘wow, that LeBron dunk’ so I better manually RT him and include a link to my GIF.”

Always in search of ye olde pat on the back. Rarely solicited to create media, but passes it all off as ‘by request’ anyway. Freelancer [read: unemployed].

The Comedy GIF Maker

Creates hilarious images by replacing footballs with cats, or baseballs with hogies; an auteur of sorts. Known to publish elaborate re-creations of famous film scenes, spliced with heads of popular athletes and coaches. Respected and admired by all who view his or her work. Will die penniless.

The Educator

Cares not for your run of the mill goofy misplays, slapstick type stuff. Creates and publishes GIFs to compliment a written piece. Focuses on minutiae of the games the pros play. Pitch framing, release points, inbound passes, poor positioning, defensive reads, GIFs on top of GIFs on top of GIFs, etc, etc. Likely paid to write somewhere, justifies existence with pageviews generated from GIFs.

Pac-Man

A close relative of the recognition seeker, but pumps out GIFs, video, and other media at a seemingly unsustainable rate. Basketball, soccer, hockey, baseball, lacrosse, celebrity falls, clips from television shows … it doesn’t matter. Consuming everything at once while consuming nothing at all. Probably leaves an intrusive watermark on all media.

Might be a self-aware BOT. Probably a lawyer.

The NSFW GIF Maker

Creates lewd looping images, probably from some porn torrents downloaded from the Pirate Bay. Publishes on Reddit and watches thousands of perverts demand a ‘SAUCE’.