Here is what’s up:
I want to use this #TrendingTuesday to not only inform you of a fun, trending topic, but also how explain how easy it is to be misinformed online—you can’t just blame one journalist or one article; you have to hold yourself accountable too.
As I wrapped up my Valentine’s Day-turned-Galentine’s Day with a newfound friend, I saw that the hashtag #TWUG was trending on Twitter and, maybe I live under a rock, but I had never heard the term before.
The backstory though, from what I have gathered, is pretty cute.
According to several articles and one, specifically, from heavy.com, Donnie Wahlberg coined the term in 2013 after an argument with himself over typos in a Tweet he sent out about his hatred for Mondays.
The site links to the Boston Archives which has its own article and multiple links to show Wahlberg’s Tweets from Dec. 9, 2013.
Let’s talk “fake news”
It is important to note that the article to heavy.com was one of the first links that came up during my initial Google search. This naturally indicates importance, but, that is not always accurate.
Advertising money, algorithms, Google reviews, etc. can and DO affect what shows up as the first URL on a Google search—the same applies for Yahoo, Bing, Safari and other search engines!
I linked two websites above stating that the term #TWUGS was “coined” in 2013. That seems pretty reliable right? Multiple people have reported it, documented it and I provided photo evidence of an actual Tweet from Wahlberg. Eh. Not quite enough, unfortunately.
Why? Let’s go to the source.
Donnie Wahlberg’s Twitter (@DonnieWahlberg)
He Tweeted March 16, 2020:
“When I invented the #TWUG—aka the “@Twiitter Hug”—ten years ago, I had no idea that is would work perfectly for something called “Social Distancing” during a pandemic.
Anyway, here we are a decade later and it seems we can all use a #TWUG right now!
Let’s freaking go!”
Assuming Wahlberg, the “creator” of the term, is right—well, then simple math tells us the term was first coined in 2010 which, if you recall, does not add up with the article and additional link mentioned in the heavy.com article.
Doing your own research:
If you want to be accurate, it is important to be attentive.
The source of #TWUGS, we know, is Donnie Wahlberg. So, by going to Twitter and doing an advanced search, we can quickly and easily see when he first used the term.
Unfortunately, for us—and probably the reporters at heavy.com and the Boston Archive website—we reach a dead end on October 9, 2009. Wahlberg tweeted in response to a Twitter user with a private profile (Terri0916) “TWUG!!! TWUGS !! TWUGS !!
Wrapping it up:
Getting to the point here!
While, we can all agree that sending each other #TWUGS is a cute trend to hop on board with, it is also a quick and easy way to explain the concept of fake news and how it spreads like rapid fire.
Since Wahlberg's first time using the term links back to an account that is private—blocked from non-followers—we do not know why or what he was replying to. Thus, we do not know why the term started.
Sometimes, you reach a dead end and, unfortunately, that is that. We can assume and conceptualize what the true backstory is and, maybe, it is not that far off from what actually happened (often times, that is how it works out).
The point is, when it comes to a silly, new word, it can be skimmed over without causing much harm to society. The same does not apply to local news, politics, healthcare, our education system, human rights and so much more.
I hope, if nothing else, you walk away a bit more cautious and even more informed! #TWUGS!