But just when you thought you’d learned emoji, now you’ve got a whole new symbolic meme language to master. On Twitch.tv, the internet’s primary hub for video game streaming and esports videos, there’s a parallel set of icons and a very specific vocabulary that goes with them. If you’re new to Twitch, you probably have no idea what a “PogChamp” or a “Kappa” are, or whose faces represent them, but they’re such an ingrained part of the culture. that popular broadcasters often say them out loud while livestreaming. And even though Twitter doesn’t support Twitch emotes, people steeped in the culture will spell them out in tweets, too.
What it means: TriHard is an extremely popular, yet controversial emote — and it has a detailed history. Based on a face made by streamer TriHex while at an anime convention in Dallas, the emote didn’t officially become “TriHard” until 2014 when TriHex was speedrunning Yoshi’s Island and noticed a Twitch staff member hanging out in chat. TriHex told Kotaku he did everything possible to get their attention and, essentially, was trying way too hard. So he became TriHard.
Since Twitch didn’t want to touch the emote because of legal concerns, according to Bain, he uploaded the photo to BTTV. BTTV, otherwise known as BetterTTV, is a third-party browser extension that allows people to use emotes in chat. Since these aren’t run through Twitch directly, the emotes often circumvent rules. This meant LUL could exist as an emote — a very, very popular emote — on Twitch despite the DMCA takedown. It only grew from there.