Today is the day we are inundated on all of our social media platforms with sets of pictures known as Throwback Thursdays — though if you're really cool, it's shortened to just #tbt.
I tried researching the origin of how exactly Throwback Thursdays came about, but to no avail. The Internet failed me yet again. But, no worries, we will press on without historical context and instead explore the various reasons someone may post a #tbt picture and what that really means.
1) The Repeat: You really wanted to post a picture of whatever fun/interesting thing happened to you not that long ago, but when it happened, you did not want to explode social media with a million pictures at once. So, you saved a couple of the good ones to strategically post on #tbt. No judgment; we've all been there.
What this says: The event that happened is important, OK? So important that it obviously needs to be shared across social media multiple weeks in a row (side note: I still have yet to decide whether posting about something that happened a couple of days or even a week ago counts more accurately as a #tbt or a #latergram. A problem that keeps me up at night.).
2) The Baby: You spent a lot of time browsing through the really, really old pictures of you to find an adorable shot of yourself when you were a small child and, of course, cute beyond words. You are probably doing something almost all small children do (pose with their families, sleep, pet a dog), but it doesn't matter because it is you, and it is novel.
What this says: You're not too cool to expose yourself to the social media world and show you were not always as good-looking as you are now. It means you can laugh at your baby stage while also knowing your friends will, too. It may also even help to convey how much of a family person you are.
3) The Needy: You haven't posted a picture in awhile just because it didn't feel right, or maybe because nothing of note has happened in your life. Neither of those matters now though, because it is Thursday and you can post a picture that happened at literally any point in your life. Even a picture taken five minutes ago is fair game. All the possibilities are open, meaning you really have no excuse not to post something.
What this says: You are in want of some Instagram hearts or Facebook likes. And this is an easy way to get them. Plus, it only requires you to scroll through your camera roll and pick a picture.
4) The Sentimental: Maybe it was the day you graduated high school, or the summer you spent tanning on the beach, or even just the time you had a really good day hanging out with your friends. It is likely a visual glimpse at what you've been thinking about lately. But since throwback pictures have been relegated to Thursdays, you've just had to wait it out and put it up then.
What this says: You really just want to re-live the moment of the throwback picture you posted. Nostalgia is probably hitting you hard right now.
Whether you post a #tbt every week or only on occasion, we've all seen them, laughed at them and liked them – they're a part of our social world.
Perhaps the reason we do them is because we are beings who love rituals and are subject to traditions. No matter what new developments and innovations enter into our realm, we need something to make them familiar and comforting, and a day that is known for one thing is just that.
Plus, with the way that our platforms are constantly getting updated and changed, this is one constant we can count on.
Victoria Knight is a senior in microbiology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.