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Image credit: Engadget/Roberto Baldwin

Tweet with #GIFhistory to learn your favorite GIF's origin

GifHistory takes the mystery out of memes.

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Engadget/Roberto Baldwin

There's a good chance you've seen a classic GIF and wondered just where it came from. But where do you start looking if the answer isn't obvious, and you don't want to comb through a dedicated website? If you use Twitter, you just have to ask. Filmmaker Matthew Cherry has launched an informal #GifHistory project where he'll track down the source video for a GIF, whether it's by himself or with the help of others. The source of that blinking reaction GIF (spoiler: it's former Giant Bomb staffer Drew Scanlon) may be a quick tweet away.

We wouldn't treat #GifHistory like an AI assistant -- there's only so much a few humans can do. Even so, an effort like this might be more important than it seems at first glance. GIF creators seldom provide context in the first place, and when they do it's frequently buried deep in a web forum (assuming there's even an archive at all). Projects like this not only satisfy curiosity, they help explain and preserve little slices of internet history.

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