Doing #ThrowbackThursday like a pro

By , on September 16, 2013

In honour of Throwback Thursday, Lindsay Lohan recently posted an old-school picture with Kirsten Dunst on her Instagram account, saying “#tbt @kirstendunst”. They were adorable!
In honour of Throwback Thursday, Lindsay Lohan recently posted an old-school picture with Kirsten Dunst on her Instagram account, saying “#tbt @kirstendunst”. They were adorable!

If you are using Instagram or Twitter or even Facebook, it is (probably) inevitable for you to use or spy the hashtag #throwbackthursday, or #tbt, once, twice or even more.

Social media experts’ records show that more than 40 million pictures were tagged with #tbt on Instagram, and roughly 23 million with #throwbackthursday.

As your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter is flooded with these hashtags, you are either already amazed or irritated with it (I hazard a guess—you are probably amazed—some of the pictures are funny!). Want to know how this popular hashtag craze started?

Its (possible) beginnings

No one knows. We can all probably just surmise.

Indeed, it is tough to identify the exact origin of the tag #throwbackthursday, but a search using the Instagramers iPhone app will allow you to see the oldest tags on file and there you’ll find out that in 2011, a user named @bobbysanders22 started to use the tag, which became synonymous with “events and objects that are no longer culturally relevant”.

However, Instagramers founder Philippe Gonzalez said in an interview that there’s no clear indication that the user was the first person to use the hashtag: “We are never 100 percent sure, as Instagram is removing old tags these last months and some old ones could have been deleted.” Hmmm…

In January 26, 2012, it had some sort of legitimacy when Throwback Thursday put in the dictionary radar via the Urban dictionary which defined it as “When you put a picture from ‘awhile’ ago on your social media sites”.

Google Trends also show that people started using #ThrowbackThursday more regularly in February 2012, and since then people’s interest in the hashtag game has increased significantly.

It was also not possible to pinpoint exactly when Throwback Thursday started on Twitter. However, it is known that the Kardashian sisters were one of the frequent #tbt post-ers (and hence, its advocates). Kim’s first recorded use of the hashtag was in February 2012.

Enough about its history. In case you are wondering about it and now want to participate, let PCI teach you do how to do #ThrowbackThursday like a pro.


Here are some rules according to some social media experts and self-confessed #tbt addicts:

  1. Your throwback picture must be at least 5 years old. The older the photo, the better. If you have the hard copy of the old photo, it is cool to take a photo of it as well (okay, a scanner will do too). The #tbt photo must really show how different you are now from before. Photos from the polaroid zone are best. If you have childhood photos with now-popular actors and actresses, man, those are the best.

If you want to post a photo from the more recent past, better tag it as #latergram, according to social media fanatics and experts (the advice: Respect Throwback Thursday).

  1. Please. No Pictures from summer or last week. No matter how excited you are to post your vacation pictures from last summer or last week and tag it as #tbt, contain yourself and place a different (more appropriate) tag instead.
  1. Do not post 20 million pictures for #tbt. Because you will have a gazillion chances (er, days) to post your best throwback photo for the succeeding days—ergo (and a friendly tip), don’t post it all at once. Give your friends the chance to be excited with, and or to guess, what to expect from you the following week.
  1. One or two #tbt posts per week is enough (a plea: please don’t post more than two). And it is Throwback THURSDAY, so let that be your guide and do your posts every Thursday only. To quote from

Look, we know you have lots of old pics of yourself that you think are absolutely stunning. And we know you wanna share those pics with your new-found Instagram friends. However, those of us who have known you for ages, and have seen all these pictures of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Friendster and Blackplanet – we’re not interested in seeing them again. Especially 8 in a row … on a Monday when we’re trying to scroll our InstaTimeLine and see what folks got into this past weekend. We call it ThrowBackThursday for a reason.

And as one website said, “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.”

Oh, one last thing, on #SelfieThrowback, there is no such thing, unless you were rolling around as a baby taking pictures of yourself.

With a report from