Here's What 'GPOY' Stands for and What It Means

The Acronym Embraced by Tumblr Users

Holding Up a Photo
Photo © Henrik Sorensen / Getty Images

GPOY is an acronym that stands for “gratuitous picture of yourself.” The acronym is almost always followed by a photo or an animated GIF that's either a selfie or an image of someone/something else that resembles a situation, action or character similar to the user who is sharing it.

Put simply, when a photo or GIF is so relatable that it could be used to symbolize yourself or your life in any way, then it's appropriate to include 'GPOY' in the caption.

You can basically think of it as the acronym equivalent of saying "this is how I feel/what I look like right now."

For example, if you were feeling sad, you might share a picture of a sad looking dog or cat with the caption “GPOY” to let people know you share a strong resemblance to the photo. Or as an alternative, you could snap an actual photo of yourself looking sad and then tag it with “GPOY.”

GPOY Use on Tumblr

The acronym is primarily used to describe visual content on the popular microblogging platform Tumblr, considered to be part of its weird and unique community culture. It's not quite as commonly used on other popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, ​and others, although that doesn't mean you won't ever come across it being used in those places. 

When it comes to Tumblr culture, GPOY is rarely used in full sentences, and is primarily used on its own without any other words or information.

The photo or GIF communicates the message, often with a caption that says nothing but 'GPOY.'

Origin

According to Know Your Meme, the GPOY acronym can be traced as far back as 2008 when Tumblr users would tag posts with “GPOYW” on Wednesdays. Posting a gratuitous photo on Wednesdays was a weekly ritual for several Tumblr users.

In 2009, it seemed that the “W” had been quickly and quietly phased out so that users to post on any day of the week.

Viral Spread

With such explosive growth,​​ Tumblr has experienced over the past couple of years or so, the GPOY Tumblr meme was picked up in strongly in 2009 and 2010, still going strong and often used mostly by the younger crowd. Tumblr enthusiasts use it to describe other memes, photos, web comics, GIFs, drawings or anything else visual.

Despite its popularity, the acronym is one of those rare ones that has really only remained popular within the Tumblr community and nowhere else online. You can follow the GPOY tagged posts on Tumblr right here.

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