About a year ago, I was approached by a coworker who I’d estimate to be between forty and fifty years old. “Hey, you work for social media, right?” she asked me. In this case, she happened to be correct: I did, in fact, do social media. But I’m going to say this was just luck on her part, because that’s how anyone in her age bracket approached anyone in my age bracket, even if only three or four people in the entire company had social media-doing as part of their job description.
Me: Yes. What’s up?
Her: Where online can I find those little movies?
(I waited for her to expand. She did not.)
Me: I’m sorry, I don’t know what movies you’re talking about.
Her: Those little movies you see everywhere.
Me: I… Are you talking about YouTube?
Her: No, not YouTubes. They’re smaller than YouTubes.
Her: Oh, maybe. Where are Vines?
Me: Go to vine.co, and they’re all there.
(She checks on her computer for a few moments.)
Her: No, not these, I don’t think. What I’m looking for is even smaller. They’re, like, these tiny, little films.
Me: Are you talking about actual short films? Like, student films that are short?
Her: No, you watch them online.
Me: Where online?
Me: Do we have them on our site?
Her: No, but we should.
Me: Can you tell me a little bit more?
Her: They’re tiny. They’re like the size of a postage stamp.
Her: And they only last a second or two and they just repeat as soon as they’re done. And sometimes they have words on them.
Me: Oh. You mean gifs.
(She said that single syllable with great difficulty, l should add, as if it had letters from some foreign alphabet in it.)
Me: Yeah, that’s called a gif.
Her: Okay, gifs. Where are the gifs?
Me: Well, they really are everywhere.
Her: But where are they stored? If I want some, where do I go to find them?
Me: All of them? Well, they’re not actually stored in one given place. What are you looking for?
Her: I’m not looking for any one in particular. Okay, so when people make them, where do they put them online to be stored before they get disseminated all over the internet?
Me: Like, there is no single place.
Her: It’s not like YouTubes?
Me: No, it’s not like YouTubes.
Her: But who makes them?
Me: Like, everyone. Anyone.
Her: Okay, but is someone paying them to make these?
Me: No, basically. People just make them for free.
Her: They make them for free and they just put them anywhere?
(She typed away at her computer a bit.)
Her: All right, that seems a little weird. I think I’m going to ask around.
Me: Oh, okay. Good luck.
She never asked me again about anything.
And before you interpret this little anecdote as a young-ish person making fun of an old-ish person for not quite understanding technology, let me tell you that she spoke the sentence “I think I’m going to ask around” in a way that it also communicated “Oh, you dumb-dumb, blathering on nonsense. I’m so certain that you’re wrong, because you’re so clearly a worthless dumb-dumb. Go off and continue being a dumb-dumb.”
I’d like to think that she asked an even younger person who was equally unable to help her. And I’d like to think that she’s still looking for the one single place where all the gifs come from.
A funny story, previously:
- In Which Drew Searches for Frozen Fruit
- The Strangest Phone Call I’ve Ever Received
- The Fireballs of Our Youth
- Losing One’s Shit (Both Meanings)
- The Lawnmower Man