Can anyone name a greater contribution to the Internet than the rise of the .GIF? Regardless of whether you say the soft or hard ‘g’, you can’t deny the impact that these moving, flashing images and words have made on pop culture and areas of the Internet.
California graphic designer Cat Frazier has secured a spot in the Internet Hall of Fame with her Animated Text Tumblr, which features rotating phrases like “I turned on my data for you” and “LOL NO BYE” in retro, 90’s style fonts and colors. Frazier spoke with Fusion about her popular aesthetic and her followers’ assumptions about her.
“Literally everyone assumes I am a straight white man,” she told Fusion’s John Walker. In order to combat these presumptions, Frazier posts selfies to “prove I am female, that I am black, that I am gay”.
Frazier, an instructional designer for California’s Pacific Gas and Electric company by day, has built up an enormous Tumblr following by appealing to users’ sense of nostalgia: “The internet I grew up with—like GeoCities and Myspace and Blingee—was always really personal, as tacky as it was. You didn’t need a degree in design.” In response to her work being used by celebrities and brands, she says “I see a lot of clothing sites [use my gifs without attribution]…But it doesn’t upset me… It’s, like, more power to them! Someday, I hope to see an entire Internet of animated text.”
Frazier also uses her platform to reach out to fans and offer advice. She recently launched Ask Cat, a Tumblr advice column where fans text her questions like, “Do you have any advice for trying to maintain friendships while living with depression?” and “How much porn is too much porn?” Frazier responds with a mixture of one of her .GIFs and real advice, and told Fusion “I’m really affecting people’s lives…It makes me feel like I can be a better person. I may still be the asshole that I am, but it makes me feel good and that I should treat everyone better and that maybe the Internet isn’t so bad after all.”