Throwback Thursday: what are the history and the rules of the trend.


While many associate Throwback Thursday the main social media channel they use, such as Facebook or Twitter, the phenomena actually started in the blogosphere. However, it has now really flourished and come into its own on Instagram. At 13:02 on 25 February 2015 there are 314,790,097 posts on Instagram using the hash tag #TBT. That is not counting the 46,486,952 using the full hash tag #ThrowBackThursday or the 1,431,389 challenged posts with #ThrowBackThursdays. Those are people who can type, there are probably millions of posts with slightly different spellings in the ether.

So how did this come to be such a popular weekly trend? Following is a rough rundown of the hashtag’s history from the Dumb and Genius blog:

2003 (March) – the word Throwback was first defined in the Urban Dictionary.

2006 (January) – first known blog appearance on Saxton Moore’s blog.

2006 (July) – the first Throwback Thursday series started by Nice Kicks’ blog.

2006 (July) – for the first time, Georgia Tech football game was themed Throwback Thursday.

2011 (February) – the first recorded Instagram hashtag of the phrase was made by @bobbysanders22 on his hot wheels photo but there’s no guarantee that this was actually the first one in the said application.

2011 – it became popular in the blog community

2011 (November) – the hashtags #throwbackthursday and #tbt became Instagram’s recurring trend.

2012 (January) – the phrase Throwback Thursday was included in the Urban Dictionary.

2012 (February) – socialite Kim Kardashian began her series of Throwback Thursday photos on Instagram and Twitter.

2012 – Throwback Thursday and #tbt gains popularity all over the social media channels including, but not limited to, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, Pinterest, and Facebook.

…via What is with Throwback Thursday? | Dumb and Genius

While social media has no body strictly policing it or enforcing rules (but be prepared to be flamed if you step too far out of the social standards on any platform), there are apparently rules before posting photos tagged as #throwbackthursday or #tbt.

1. TBT is all about comedic nostalgia. We know you looked cute as a baby, but posting angelical pictures of yourself is not nearly as amusing.  Throwback Thursday was founded on principles of comedic relief. Embrace it.

2. Timing is essential. So refrain from tagging #TBT pictures when it is in fact not Thursday. This should be a no-brainer.

3. Throwback Thursdays are all about commemorating vintage moments. Try and aim for non-digital photos that were probably taken from your Polaroid iZone. If you are #TBT-ing to last week’s Thursday, you’re doing it wrong. Try to have a gap of a couple years.

4. You can’t be hashtagging pictures that are not even throwbacks but just a clear abuse to the popular hashtags. This also includes “Celebrity Throwbacks.” Unless you were childhood friends with Ryan Gosling, this is a major DON’T.

5. #SelfieThrowback: Unless you were rolling around as a baby taking pictures of yourself, there is no such thing.

by: Velocity Agency

We would add that photos of you looking amazing as your sexy 20-something self or even your shot form last year when you were on that crash diet, just for the purpose of letting people know you used to be hot, is not aligned with the principle of offering up giggles. Post that ugly, awkward one of you in braces and bad hair. Throwback  Thursday is for the amusement of your mates, who may or may not have known you back in the day. Count yourself lucky for those that did and are still in your life, as John Leonard put it “It takes a long time to grow an old friend.”