Throwback Thursday: Your Weekly Trip Down Memory Lane on IG

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Karen Lin

Instagram 101 | May 23, 2024

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If you’ve been on Instagram for years, you’ve probably seen “hot” trends quickly come and go. Instagram has seen lots of these trends, from overly filtered photos to collages to the Ice Bucket Challenge. As with all fads, these trends that were once so exciting slowly die out, and new trends start to emerge. But there is one trend that has withstood the test of time. Over a decade in, and the love for the Throwback Thursday trend is (arguably) still alive and kicking.

Today, we’re talking about this nostalgic social media trend and why people adore it. We’ll even throw in some ideas on cute content you can post to join in on the fun. Are you ready to reminisce on the good old days and share your memories on Instagram? Keep reading to learn more about this trend and how you can use it to engage and excite your followers.

Three women looking at old photos of themselves from their younger years.

What Is Throwback Thursday and Why Do People Love It?

But first, what is Throwback Thursday anyway? This type of content — which some refer to as “TBT posts” — evokes nostalgia by showing memories from the past. People typically post old photos and videos on their feeds or Stories and use the hashtag #ThrowbackThursday in the caption. As the name suggests, these posts are usually published on Thursdays.

What’s awesome about the throwback trend is that you can post whatever you please. The trend isn’t limited to a specific decade or content theme. You can share childhood memories, old outfits, retro music, and even junk from years ago you find in the attic. As long as your post takes people down memory lane, it can suit the tag.

It isn’t clear who started this trend. But what we do know is that it started getting big on social media around 2012. Some social media users attribute its popularity back then to the Kardashian sisters, who used the tag often. It was famous on Twitter first. Then, it slowly trickled down to other social media platforms — including Instagram, where it boomed.

People loved the throwback trend because it allowed them to share their favorite memories online. It evoked a sense of nostalgia and positivity. Users jumped at the chance to show their followers cute baby photos and family albums online. Sharing such personal, intimate, happy memories is a terrific way to feel more connected with your audience.

Curating throwback content can also be therapeutic for some. One study finds that nostalgia boosts one’s self-esteem and can even keep you from having an existential crisis. And it makes sense — remembering happy, impactful moments in the past makes you feel good. It reminds people that life isn’t always bad.

Two elderly women smiling while looking at an old photograph together.

A Classic or Just Another Fad: Is Throwback Thursday Still a Thing Today?

The throwback trend was arguably at its peak in the early 2010s. People loved it so much that they made a Friday equivalent of it called “Flashback Friday.” But today, with so many fads, challenges, and trends on all social media platforms, is Throwback Thursday still a thing?

While it’s not as much of a weekly ritual for everyone now, throwback posts are still quite popular on Instagram. Some people still post their vintage content and old memories on Thursdays for old times’ sake. But others post any time they want and post it with the hashtag #throwback, omitting the day of the week.

Why did the throwback trend have such longevity, you ask? The answer is simple. Unlike other trends that rely on seasons, celebrity news, and the latest music, throwback content is evergreen. It’s hinged on the universal and timeless desire of people to look back fondly on the past. Whether you’re young or old, male or female, it’s still fun to post old memories online.

Plus, over the years, people have adapted the throwback trend to make it more modern. Instead of posting the usual feed post, people have turned to Reels and Stories to reminisce on old memories.

For example, instead of using hashtags to mark their throwback content, some will use trending audio with the same effect.

This is something we saw when the “I’m Just a Kid” trend blew up. The throwback hashtag wasn’t always included in these nostalgic posts, but the idea was always the same. Even if the formats and content themes change, the legacy of the throwback trend clearly lives on.

Engaging Throwback Thursday Ideas for Instagram

Many people enjoy posting throwback content to relive the memories that make them feel happiest. But at the same time, you need to think about how engaging your throwback posts will be. If your audience doesn’t think your post is interesting, your engagement rate might plummet.

So, don’t flood the feed with the same old kinds of retro photos every Thursday. Branch out and experiment to keep things fresh, especially since the throwback trend has been around for years. The goal is to keep things positive and poignant. Be vulnerable enough to let your followers into your personal life, but don’t forget to keep them entertained.

Not sure what throwback content to post in the coming weeks? Here are some charming and engaging Throwback Thursday ideas to consider.

Charming Childhood Photos and Memories

The easiest throwback content to post is photos from your childhood. This includes baby pictures, videos with your high school or college friends, and old family memories. It’s a great way to show your followers your simpler and more innocent days.

Look for the most heartwarming photos you have in your mom’s old albums for this. Post a photo of your sibling carrying you on their back or a memorable summer vacation with your parents. You can also share photos of the home you grew up in and tell a short anecdote about it. All these tug at the heartstrings and are sure to emit an “Aww!” or two from your audience.

Posting photos with childhood friends can also help you reconnect with them. Bringing back photos of the good old days will remind them of your shared experiences growing up. Hopefully, tagging them in your throwback photos can help you rekindle your old friendship. Your inner child will thank you!

Do you want to make your throwback post a little funnier and more lighthearted? Do a side-by-side comparison of an old photo from your childhood and your present self re-enacting it! You can either do this using a carousel feed post or create a quick Reel for extra impact.

Old Fashion Photos With Nostalgic Throwback Thursday Outfits

Every decade, we had its fashion sense. One way to pay homage to past eras is to post Throwback Thursday outfits. Look for old photos of you wearing what used to be super trendy clothes back in the day. Not only does this transport your audience to a bygone era, but it also shows off your sense of style.

And if you weren’t the most fashionable person a few years back, it can make for silly content, too. Who doesn’t love a little self-deprecating humor? Make your followers giggle with photos of crazy layers you wore in the mid-2000s or baggy jeans in the 90s. It might make you cringe, but these lighthearted faux pas photos are sure to get you tons of interactions!


A set of old, nostalgic vinyl records on the table.

IG Stories Sharing Your Favorite Throwback Music Tracks

Do you love a specific decade in the past but have no photos from that era? You can still join the fun by sharing throwback songs on your Stories. This shows that you’re an old soul who appreciates music from the past, not just what’s on the Hot 100.

Just add Instagram music to your post and share a little anecdote about why you love that retro song. Share your favorite Elton John, Beatles, ABBA, and Michael Jackson to get people reminiscing about yesteryear.

You can also share photos of your vintage vinyl records or old cassette tape collection on your feed. It’s an excellent way to share a special hobby with your fans and celebrate throwback days at the same time.

Photos From Past Travels and Adventures

Do you have leftover photos from a trip you took last year that you never got to post? Throwback days are an excellent excuse to get them on your feed, finally. Post your favorite photos from your old trips to remember the adventures you had then.

Not only does this give you more ready content to post. It also induces wanderlust in your followers. This can lead to a lot of engagement on your content if your target audience loves to travel.

“Before and After” Pictures From Your Fitness Journey

One throwback content idea for fitness content creators is posting “before and after” shots of themselves. The “before” photo serves as the throwback photo, while the “after” encourages their followers to start their fitness journey. By doing this, you can tell people the story of your personal growth and motivate them to be healthy, too.

And it doesn’t always have to be body photos. You can do comparison photos of you doing yoga poses over the years to showcase how practice makes perfect. The idea is to inspire people to start their fitness journey by showing them how much you’ve grown from before.

Drag queen with a red dress and afro holding a sparkling disco ball.

Bringing Back Retro Fashion: What To Wear for Throwback Thursday

Throwback content doesn’t always have to be old photos and videos you rummaged through your hard drive for. They can be new photos of you reliving a specific era from decades ago.

In fact, the throwback trend has gotten so popular that it has become a theme for events. These include School Spirit Week and even costume birthday parties.

Are you attending a throwback party soon or perhaps curating retro content from your favorite decade? Here’s what to wear for Throwback Thursday to look the part.

  • Dancing in the Disco in the ‘70s: This is one of the most popular throwback themes out there. Embody the glitz and glam of the disco-obsessed ‘70s by wearing sequined tops, sparkly dresses, and bell-bottomed trousers. Sweep your hair up in an afro for even more pizzazz!
  • The vibrant, neon-lit ‘80s: Want to get that bright, colorful look reminiscent of workout videos from the ‘80s? Wear electrifying colors like hot pink, fluorescent green, and neon orange. Sweatbands, high-waisted leggings, and high-top sneakers will be your best friend for this look.
  • The edgy, grungy ‘90s: Look like a rebel from the 1990s with band t-shirts, combat boots, and flannel tops tied around your waist. Don’t spend too much time on your hair. Messy buns and beanies will really give people that ‘90s feel. The goal is to look as anti-fashion as possible. Snap a photo of your OOTD and add a baddie Instagram caption to match!
  • Skater girls and boys of the 2000s: If you were a 90s kid who grew up in the 2000s, you’d love this one. Dress in baggy, oversized clothes, cargo pants, and Converse sneakers for that skater-punk look. Think Avril Lavigne and Tony Hawk. You can even style your hair in that emo style with layers and side-swept bangs!

Let Your Throwback Posts Shine With Path Social!

Posting throwback content every Thursday is a terrific way to spice things up on your feed. It gives your followers something charming to look forward to aside from your regular content. Plus, it’s a fantastic way to share relatable stories about your personal life to form a stronger connection with them.

And because people love nostalgic throwback posts so much, you can enjoy tons of engagement on your retro content. So, don’t be shy! Post that cute baby photo or that awkward school picture from high school in good fun. They’ll surely endear your followers and gain you some likes and comments to boost your engagement rate.

Do you want to give your Throwback Thursday content an extra push? Path Social can help with that. With our proprietary targeting tool, we can push your throwback posts to the people who will enjoy them most. That guarantees tons of engagement and new followers who will be excited to see what you post every Thursday. Let your content take center stage and gain more Instagram followers with Path Social today!