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^This is a single-word demonstrative pronoun used on message boards and social networking sites to show agreement with quoted or reblogged posts. Besides its usage as a single-word text post or tag, the term can also be found in image macros and reaction GIFs in which subjects are shown pointing upwards.
The phenomenon was discussed as early as December 5th, 2009 on Yahoo! Answers, where an anonymous user asked why people simply quote a post and add “this” underneath it. The question only received one answer, which suggested that the person did not finish what they were typing.
While demonstrative pronouns, such as “this” or “that,” are typically used to refer to an object in the physical surroundings of the speaker or the listener, it can be also used to indicate one’s concurrence with the immediately preceding statement said by someone else in remote or online communications, similar to the use of “hear, hear,” as in “I second this motion.”
In October 2010, another unknown user inquired about the use of “this” on Tumblr on Yahoo! Answers Canada, where a user named green meklar explained the colloquial usage of the term on discussion forums and message boards. This definition was reiterated in another Yahoo! Answers questionposted in November 2011.
“^This,” with and without the ASCII caret, is most commonly found in opinion-based discussion threads on forums. The term is used to reemphasize feelings or arguments in a previous post instead of posting redundant information. Due to the chronological setup of bulletin board systems, the use of a caret is a popular way to convey one’s approval of the preceding post. It is also found as commentary on reblogged or quoted posts on Tumblr, sometimes paired with the tag “this.” On Tumblr (shown below, left), “this” can be found in response to any sentiment the poster agrees with, not just in conversations with others. It can also be used as a hashtag on Twitter (shown below, right), echoing a sentiment expressed in a retweeted or quoted tweet.
In addition, other phrases can be used in substitute of “this” to mean the same thing most notably “what he said,” “he’s right, you know” and “bless this post,” the latter two of which have been also iterated in the form of image macros on 4chan and Tumblr.
Yahoo! Answers – Why do people say ‘this’ on Tumblr? I don’t get it.?
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