Here's What 'GPOY' Means

The acronym embraced by Tumblr users

Person holding up a photo of themselves

Henrik Sorensen / Getty Images

If you have ever used Tumblr, you might have seen a post that simply states GPOY. It doesn't sound like any word you can think of, so what in the world does it mean?

GPOY 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 or something else that resembles a situation, action, or character similar to the user who is sharing it.

GPOY Use on Tumblr

The acronym is primarily used to describe visual content on the popular microblogging platform Tumblr and is considered to be part of its community culture. It's not used much on other popular social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, although you may come across it 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.

Examples of GPOY in Use

When a photo or GIF is so relatable that it could be used to symbolize you or your life in any way, then it's appropriate to include GPOY in the caption. Think of it as the acronym equivalent of saying, "This is how I feel/what I look like right now."

Example #1

A picture of a sad-looking dog or cat with the caption GPOY.

This lets people know you share the feeling in the photo.

Example #2

As an alternative, you could snap a photo of yourself looking sad and then tag it with GPOY.


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. By 2009, the W had been quietly phased out, so users could post on any day of the week.

Viral Spread

With Tumblr's explosive growth, the popularity of GPOY memes spread rapidly within the Tumblr community, where it is most often used by the younger crowd. Tumblr enthusiasts use it to describe other memes, photos, webcomics, GIFs, drawings, or anything else visual.

Despite its popularity, the acronym is one of those rare ones that remain popular within one social media community and is seldom seen anywhere else online.