At 9:50AM on Wednesday, April 3rd, there were 19,916,211 photos shared to Instagram using the hash tag “ThrowbackThursday.” That’s not even counting the 12,804,602 photos shared using the abbreviated version of that same hash tag, “tbt.” Consider the millions of botched hash tags in between and I reckon we can confidently attest that Throwback Thursday is perhaps the single most popular Instagram installment since the unveiling of the app itself.
Make no mistake though, I am wholly committed to executing Selfie Saturday.
What seemingly started as a harmless clock back, initiated by nostalgic narcissists (not unlike myself), to more primitive, diaper-laden days has catapulted into an outrageous revolution. One that often leaves me scrolling through my Instagram feed on Thursday mornings to find only an inundation of sometimes creative, often nonsensical photos with the corresponding hash tag. While scrolling this past week and taking mental note of the babies in bonnets, celebrities flashbacks, and irreverent #throwbacksixteensecondago’s (fine, that idiotic one was mine), it occurred to me that there is no code of etiquette for Throwback Thursday.
Why do we need a code of etiquette, you might ask. Because in this day and over-exploited age, Instagram users are seemingly convinced that anything is fair game on Throwback Thursday. But is the footie-gram of the shoes you bought six months really ever a Throwback Thursday? No. In light of the listed difficulties, the mere technicality that tomorrow is Thursday, and because I do shit imminently, here’s a list of ten TBT-fails.
1. Really, really, angelic baby pictures. Yes, you were cute as shit. But that was then and this is now. Show us something funny, have you ever thrown up on your brother? Yourself? This digital holiday was practically founded on the principles of comedy. Seize it.
2. Throwbacks to that month in college you had a rather violent stomach virus and as such appeared 15 pounds lighter than you do now, accompanied by a caption that says something along the lines of “OMG, we were suck dorks! LOL!” Look, I was skinnier in college too. But if I’m going to draw attention to my deceased chiseled abs, I’m also going to make it clear that I am doing just that. This way, at least we can hate me together, right?
2a. Perfectly sun-kissed photos apply in this bracket too. You’re not really posting that one because you’re standing in front of a Jonathan Taylor Thomas poster, are you?
3. Throwbacks to a wedding. It’s sweet that you’re married, really, we’re so happy for you. But why are you telling your network how much you love your husband, by way of telling him how much you love him, (see: “Love you hun! Five beautiful
years days!”) when his face doesn’t even show in the photo. This picture is about how great you looked with that face painted on, isn’t it? Isn’t it? Isn’t it?
4. According to one friend, a Throwback Thursday picture should only exist if it’s pulled from an actual film photo. According to myself, this only rings true if you were alive during the age of actual film photos. The supposition is that if you’re throwing back, you’re commemorating a vintage moment, and digital files aren’t particularly vintage. Said friend continues, “neither is a picture you wish you could have posted to Facebook before Instagram existed.”
5. Celebrity Throwbacks. Is Ryan Gosling chewing your face off? Probably not. Are you trying to demonstrate how extensive your bank of celebrity comrades extends? That’s shitty. Us mere mortals are still filtering our pre-paternal dads in bell bottoms.
6. Time, too, is of the essence. On the one hand, you probably shouldn’t be hash tagging throwback Thursday pictures when it’s not Thursday (disclaimer: I do this). On the other, you should not be posting upward of, say, two in a single Thursday. Why blow your load in one shot? Also, do people really want to see the inner-workings of your childhood? I learned the hard way that breast-feeding photos are not popular.
7. Hash tagged throwback Thursday images that aren’t even throwbacks, rather just an over-excessive, over-excited use of the popular hash tag incorporated to find yourself on the search page. That is deceptive and I have to wonder if you are one such denizen offering shout outs and follow-for-follows.
8. Irreverent Throwback Thursdays to, say, the previous Thursday. (Disclaimer: I’m guilty of this one too). There is a gap of time (let’s say five years) that should be respected between the photo’s inception and its appearance on Instagram.
9. On this note, I also wonder about “selfie Throwbacks.” How far can you be throwing shit back if the original photo is one you took on your iPhone, for Instagram, at some point in time that cannot predate 2010.
10. And finally, the last is a do. Do post the most uncomfortable, awkward, compromising photos you can find of yourself. Because Throwback Thursday will almost only ever be interesting and applicable to the people who know you, at least give the people who don’t a reason to believe that you, too, were a weird little critter and let that freak flag fly.
My gut tells me you are far funnier than I am so please, impart the lacking wisdom. What do you like/dislike most about TBT?