Ah the good old day-of-the-week-based reminiscences. Who doesn’t love a #WCW, #TBT, or #FBF? I know I do. But how, when, where, and whom did this wonderfully nostalgic and appreciative trend stem from? The dark, dank ages of 2006 actually – nearly 2 years before the oldest tweet on Twitter used the hashtag. What a time to be alive.
First things first, we need to credit the genius behind this life altering hashtag, because without dear ol’ Matt Halfhill, how would we be able to show our love for our former selves or loved ones? How could we let people know what we did last week with that pic that we *oops* totally forgot to post? Seriously though, how else would we get away with posting old vacation pics? How could we keep our life full of palm trees, sun and sand from our get away to the DR when we want to smash everything and cry IRL because it’s 28 degrees and sleeting in NYC? Life would be so grim.
But I digress. The story starts, as all good stories do, with shoes. Sneakers, to be exact. In 2006 the innovator that is Halfhill saw the opportunity to do a similar idea to the ‘throwback’ posts on the sneakerhead blog he created, NiceKicks.com. Around July of 2006, he organized his regular weekly features into a few categories; one a “Release Reminder” would be about when new shoes were going to drop. and another “Throwback Thursday” would be about an old shoe he liked. Little did he know his footwear scheduling technique would turn into such a huge phenomenon that it would be frequently used by the likes of Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, Michelle Obama and even General Electric.
In fact, the hashtag #throwbackthursday has been used 38 million times on Instagram (The first being a photo from user Bobby Sanders featuring a picture of Hot Wheels in 2011) and the #tbt hashtag has been used 193 million times on Instagram (The first was posted by Insta user Ashro picturing their dog as a puppy).
So while sure, Twitter seems to be the OG as far as the hashtag goes (the oldest #throwbackthursday tweet featuring Lil’ Kim came in October 2008), the hashtag phenomenon that popped over to Instagram in 2011 was clearly a more natural home for the visual ‘oldies’ references, and by 2013, it was one of the most popular hashtags on the social media App.
It isn’t certain that Halfhill was the first person EVER to combine the words throwback and Thursday, however he’s cited as the earliest relevant mention by Cheezburger. Either way, we are dubbing him the ‘Throwback Thursday originator’ and want to praise him for creating one of the purest of pure hashtags out there. After all, it’s less about forcing views and likes and more about some good old fashioned self deprecation and sweet nostalgia. Truly, there isn’t another day of the week that has a similar serendipitous random occasion associated with it.
Halfhill took a stab at explaining what it all means, and we couldn’t have said it better ourselves: “It’s allowing yourself to take a break from the news and have a moment to celebrate what happened in the past. We human beings become products of our past experiences — just the same as shoes.”