Another day, another slang term on the internet that befuddles users to no end. If you've ever scrolled through popular media sharing services, you've definitely come across an "insider" term or two that made absolutely no sense to you. I can still vividly recall the rage I felt after seeing countless Reddit commenters write, "the narwhal bacons at midnight."
And if you've been browsing through TikTok and have seen people throwing the term "POG" around, you've probably asked yourself, "What does that mean?!"
What does "POG" mean on TikTok? No, it's not a trendy toy that's gone out of fashion.
I know what you're thinking — Pogs are those little circular pieces of glossy cardboard you throw heavy metal discs at to then place inside a binder filled with plastic sleeves. The collectible little animated pieces, for a while, became a kind of elementary and middle school currency, with kids furiously trading their Pogs during lunch and recess.
No, Pogs aren't making a comeback, in case you were wondering or hoping.
It's basically a term that originated in the gaming community, and it translates to "Play of the Game." It refers to a particular moment in a match or game where someone, under immense pressure and high-stakes, managed to pull off a move or game that wowed spectators. If you've ever watched a hotly contested esports match, you know how impassioned live viewers can get, especially commentators.
One commentator in particular has literally become the face of what this slang stands for: Ryan "Gootecks" Gutierrez's expression during a 2010 video he made where he put on the overly excited facade for comedic effect. Gootecks is a redoubtable Street Fighter player, and his face has become known affectionately as the "PogChamp" emoji.
The term "POG" was then extended to be another way of saying something was good, great, or amazing.
While the term "POG" isn't controversial by any means, the face that's very closely associated with the term, however, is. Gootecks came under fire after he expressed sympathy for a "MAGA Martyr" who was shot and killed during the Capitol riots that took place in January of 2021.
He questioned whether or not her death would lead to "civil unrest," or if she would ultimately "die in vain."
Folks didn't take too kindly to the fact that Gootecks was viewing the woman in question, Ashli Babbitt, as a martyr, and others felt that he was displaying some type of support for insurrectionists at the Capitol. Even worse, many felt his tweet was a call for more violence.
Twitch users began to request the platform remove Gootecks' face as the emoji, as per Twitch's harassment policy.
The PogChamp emoji was removed from Twitch while the platform looked for a replacement.
So if you wanted to say that something was "Poggers," there was a time when you couldn't use that particular face to do so. But Twitch was quick to solve the dire issue by coming up with a new emote that was actually pretty fantastic. This lizard, with air horns on both sides of its face and an explosion in the background, was the replacement.
One can't say that they didn't go all in. The live-streaming platform made the announcement on social media, and people seemed conflicted about the new face. I personally think it's great, but my opinion doesn't really matter because I'm not a Twitch die-hard.
What do you think?