Throwback Thursdays

GRACE KNUTSEN

Who doesn’t love scrolling through their Instagram feed on Thursday mornings, getting a weekly dose of the most popular hashtag game ever, the alliterative ditty otherwise known as #ThrowbackThursday (#TBT)?

What makes the #ThrowbackThursday trend so popular, anyway? Is it the sentiment-induced feelings of social connectedness we create in our ever-advancing digital world? Is it the wistful, old-fashioned sense of nostalgia that leaves us reminiscing about the good ol’ days (because, yes, even though we may be teenagers, we have our very own version of the good ol’ days)? Maybe it’s seeing the curious balance our friends find between humor and self-deprecation when posting their most socially awkward moments for the whole world to see. Maybe it’s a combination of all three?

Where did #ThrowbackThursday originate? Well, according to some super sleuth research on the interwebs, the phrase “Throwback Thursday” dates back to the blogging era, when, in January 2006, artist and illustrator Saxton Moore (http://sacks10.blogspot.com) titled a blog article “Throwback Thursday” when re-hashing a series of retro cartoon characters.  

Later the same year, in July 2006, Matt Halfhill started a weekly feature, “Throwback Thursday”, about old sports sneakers on his blog, http://www.nicekicks.com.

Finally, in making its social media debut, the first recognized use of #ThrowbackThursday, as reported by Time, was back on February, 10, 2011, when Instagrammer @bobbysanders22 used the hashtag in reference to a photo of some old hot wheels.  

At publication time, #ThrowbackThursday is one of the most widespread trends on Instagram, with 44.2 million posts since hashtags were first introduced (add to that a whopping 454 million related #TBT posts). In fact, it’s such a popular trend that some Instagrammers seem convinced any old post on a Thursday is worthy of the #ThrowbackThursday hashtag. Trust me when I say it’s not. Below is a general list of social media do’s and don’ts regarding the revered hashtag:

  1. It must be shared on a Thursday.
  2. It should include #ThrowbackThursday or #TBT.
  3. It must be old, from another era in your life. It shouldn’t be from last week, last month, and usually, not even last year.
  4. It should reveal something about you that not many people know.
  5. It’s a courtesy to ask permission before tagging others if they’re included in your throwback photo.

The beauty of the hashtag game, #ThrowbackThursday, is that it comes every week, and given everyone loves a bit of nostalgia with a splash of self-deprecation thrown in for good measure, go ahead and find the most awkward, socially compromising photo of your earlier self and post it this week!

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