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That Awkward Moment is a hashtag often used as a preface when sharing stories about socially uncomfortable experiences on Twitter and other social networking sites.
While the English adjective “awkward” traditionally means “socially inept, or with a lack of dexterity,” its broader, colloquial usage of the word in describing simply weird or mildly uncomfortable social situations has drastically increased since the late 2000s.
One of the earliest examples of awkward humor can be attributed to the advice animal series Socially Awkward Penguin, which first surfaced through places like 4chan’s r9K board and MemeGenerator in June 2009. The oldest example of a text-based platform for sharing “awkward” stories can be found in the Tumblr blog ThatAwkardMoment, which was launched on October 23rd, 2010.
Awkward stories quickly grew into a staple genre of internet humor at the dawn of a new decade, largely aided by the advents of social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, as well as widespread usage of greentext stories on 4chan’s R9K (experimental / original content) imageboard.
Single topic blog TheAwkwardMoment.com and its Twitter account @awkwardmoment10 were launched on December 1st, 2010 and similar Twitter blogs @TheAwkwardTweet and @AwkMoment were set up days later on December 5th. As a result, Twitter hashtag #thatawkwardmomentwhen was subsequently listed as a globally trending topic in late December 2010. Numerous other blogs continued to spring up via Twitter in 2011, such as @ThatMomentTweet, @MyAwkwardTweet, @ThatAwkMmtWhen and @SoVeryAwkward.
Meanwhile, #thatawkwardmomentwhen jokes were quickly adapted into image macros and featured on various single topic blogs on Tumblr, including Awk Momentz, Fuck Yeah That Awkward Moment and FY Awkward.
On Facebook, there are dozens of fan pages and groups with hundreds of thousands likes and followers, including “That awkward moment when you glance at someone staring at you,” which has over 1.6 million likes, “That Awkward Moment When Someone Says You Guys Should Go Out,” which has over 1 million likes and “That awkward moment when u throw something at your friend & hit some1 else,” which has over 650,000 likes as of January 2012. The first Urban Dictionary entry was submitted on September 15th 2011, which describes it as a popular Facebook fad.
@TheAwkwardTweet December 5th, 2010 / 2,392 Tweets / 598,016 Followers
@AwkMoment – December 5th, 2010 / 1,303 Tweets / 2,253 Followers
@That Moment Tweet – February 18th 2011 / 964 Tweets / 51,279 Followers
@MyAwkwardTweet – May 18th, 2011 / 3,129 Tweets / 110,909 Followers
@ThatAwkMmtWhen – June 20th, 2011 / 1,522 Tweets / 174,272 Followers
@SoVeryAwkward – July 5th, 2011 / 1,652 Tweets / 158,070 Followers