Reading The Culture of Connectivity by Jose Van Dijck, I came across an interesting quote regarding how Facebook’s Timeline format:
“Cues members to post pictures from the pre-Facebook days of their youth – a baby picture, family snapshots, school classes, old friends, college years, wedding pictures, honeymoon – and thus experience content in terms of their life’s story…Timeline caused enhanced feelings of intimacy, memory and connectedness” (55).
My Facebook identity begins the day I created my profile. I upload pictures and videos in real-time, but did not readily add media reflecting my pre-Facebook life. That is until the creation of the platform-agnostic trend Throwback Thursday.
Those who use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram have more than likely been exposed to Throwback Thursday posts. If you haven’t, take a moment to visit one of these platforms and search by related terms (e.g., #tbt) for a quick list of sample posts.
There doesn’t seem to be established rules for participating in Throwback Thursday. Posts generally reference images, videos or audio that dates back at least a year; the older the reference, the bigger the impact. Images can be of a person (yourself, loved ones or celebrity), place (building or landmark) or thing (product or media).
While most #tbt posts are from personal accounts, this trend was also quickly embraced by brands seeking a new and exciting way to engage with their audience. More than demonstrating knowledge of web trends, the #tbt post can be leveraged to:
- Connect with longtime users who remember the good ol’ days and foster memory sharing among audience members
- Engage with younger generations who may not know the brand’s history or progress
- Encourage audience participation by requesting old photos featuring the company’s products
- Introduce new products, reflecting on the similarities and/or differences from past products
Considering the initial quote, I’d say a strong #tbt post also plays to Facebook’s Timeline strengths. Sharing photos and ‘personal’ memories deepens connection and creates a new level of intimacy with your audience. To demonstrate use across industries, I have compiled a quick list of companies that have utilized Throwback Thursday in social media and blog content.
- Automobile – Chevrolet
- Food and Beverage – Coca-Cola
- Beauty – Into the Gloss
- Entertainment – Food Network
- Higher Education – DePaul University
- Retail – Macy’s
- Politics – Barack Obama
Please share other examples below!