What is a Pogger? An In-Depth Look at Twitch Slang

Poggers, pogchamp, pog, pogu. As an avid gamer and Twitch enthusiast, I‘ve seen these terms spammed endlessly in chat. But what do they actually mean? And why did mundane words like "poggers" become an overnight internet sensation?

In this deep dive, we‘ll unravel the origins and evolution of poggers as a cultural phenomenon. As an active Twitch streamer myself, I‘m fascinated by the emerging slang and memes born from internet gaming culture. There are some profound insights if we trace the rise of "poggers" from its humble beginnings as a Twitch emoticon.

The Birth of PogChamp

Poggers derives from the emoticon PogChamp on Twitch, so we have to start there. PogChamp depicts Gootecks, a professional Street Fighter player, mouth agape in surprise. The name itself comes from a video of Gootecks playing Pogs in the ‘90s and becoming the "Pog champion."

Pog is a game played with milk caps or cardboard discs. You stack the pogs up then slam them with a "slammer" to topple them over and win the upturned pogs. Gootecks embraced the silly retro name and thus PogChamp was born.

So how did PogChamp go from obscurity to one of the most popular global Twitch emotes? I‘d argue it was a perfect alignment of timing, personalities, and hype-ability.

Gootecks was an active and charismatic streamer, collaborating with others like Mike Ross. This created viral moments. At the same time, Twitch was growing exponentially from 2013-2015, creating fertile ground for memes. Everything aligned for PogChamp to become the the emote for hype and excitement.

Poggers Takes Over Twitch

PogChamp exploded from a niche emote into a core part of Twitch culture. But it was just the beginning. Around 2018, we start seeing "Poggers" (or "pog" or "poggies") dominate Twitch instead.

Why did Poggers usurp the original PogChamp in popularity? A few key reasons:

Flexibility – Poggers functions as an interjection, reaction, noun, and more. This utility lent itself to meme-ification.

Ironic Usage – Poggers is often used sarcastically or hyperbolically unlike the sincere PogChamp. This tonal shift resonated with Gen Z humor.

Condensed Excitement – "Poggers" packs the hype of PogChamp into an even more clipped and spam-able term.

Essentially, Poggers took the raw excitement of PogChamp and mutated it into an even more viral and versatile meme. The shortened snappy consonants make it perfect for Twitch chat spam. You could say it‘s the evolution of PogChamp for the TikTok generation.

But the journey was just beginning.

Poggers Data Deep Dive

As a data analyst, I can‘t help but nerd out on the numbers behind poggers explosion in popularity. Using Google Trends data, we can trace its meteoric rise:

Poggers Google Search Interest Over Time:

Year Popularity
2016 0
2017 1
2018 5
2019 49
2020 100
2021 72
2022 55

Poggers emerged from total obscurity in 2018 to peak popularity in late 2020 before slightly declining again. The 100 score for 2020 means it was more searched that year than "Twitch" itself, which scored a 93!

We can also compare it to related terms:

Popularity of Poggers vs. Related Memes Over Time:

Year Poggers Pog PogChamp KEKW
2017 1 8 22 0
2019 49 32 61 31
2021 72 49 26 69

A few interesting insights emerge:

  • PogChamp was already declining when Poggers took over.

  • KEKW exploded alongside Poggers as a popular laughing emote.

  • Poggers overtook all related terms at the peak of its powers in 2020.

This data shows how quickly internet memes evolve and overtake one another. Poggers had a meteoric rise and fall as gaming slang, but clearly struck a chord.

Poggers Goes Mainstream

As a cultural phenomenon, Poggers spread far beyond its gaming origins. It became a mainstream meme and slang term used:

  • On social media like Twitter and TikTok

  • In YouTube videos, especially gaming and commentary channels

  • As an ironic meme template across the web

  • In streaming communities beyond just Twitch

  • In music and merchandise referencing poggers

Streaming platforms saw billions of poggers mentions in chats and videos. Brands like Wendy‘s even joined in on using it – when an official Twitter account uses your meme, you know you‘ve made it.

Some examples of mainstream poggers usage:

Platform Example
YouTube "That play was SO poggers!"
TikTok "His dance moves are poggers"
TV Shows "I can‘t believe they made that reference, so pog!"
Music "She got me simpin‘, she got me poggin‘" – bbno$
Brands Wendy‘s Tweeted: "Only poggers get our spicy nuggs"

This shows the evolution from niche gaming slang to a widely recognized internet phenomenon. Poggers managed to resonate with both sincere hype and ironic humor which gave it mass appeal.

Why Poggers Declined from its Peak

No meme lasts forever though. While still commonly used today, poggers is past its period of peak popularity in 2019-2020. A few theories why it has declined:

  • Over saturation – Memes naturally decline with overuse. Poggers was spammed so heavily it lost novelty.

  • Backlash – Some cringed at its mainstream spread as inauthentic to gaming origins.

  • Newer slang – All memes eventual get supplanted by the next viral term.

  • Loss of irony – Ironic usage fueled its popularity. Becoming a stale meme diminishes the irony.

Essentially it follows a familiar meme lifecycle – underground emergence followed by explosive growth and eventual decline. But the term still persists both ironically and sincerely today. It has already solidified its place in the gaming lexicon.

The Future of Poggers

What does the future look like for poggers after its decline in casual usage? Here are the possible trajectories:

  • Fully sheds meme status and settles into gaming lingo permanently.

  • Small revival from residual nostalgia and retro usage.

  • Fades into obscurity as generations move on to new slang.

  • Transformation into a classic retro term like "rad" or "groovy".

  • Maintains niche ironic usage even as original meaning forgotten.

My prediction is it becomes a classic bit of gamer lingo like "leet speak" while fading from mainstream relevance. But the lifespan of internet memes is notoriously unpredictable, so anything can happen.

Regardless, it leaves a substantive legacy. The term encapsulated so much about internet culture – lightning fast meme spread, evolution of slang, and shifting trends in irony. Analyzing poggers provides a window into the psyche of online communities.


Tracing the origins and proliferation of "poggers" shows how internet slang emerges organically from specific communities and rapidly spreads into the mainstream. While the word itself is mundane, poggers grew to symbolize the culture of hype and irony that defined this generation of online gamers. It became a quintessential term that flooded gaming circles and leaked out into popular culture more broadly.

Of course, poggers will eventually fade into obsolescence. New memes will arise to take its place. But for now, it remains an enduring symbol of the collective consciousness of gaming culture in the era of livestreaming and esports. Slang comes and goes, but poggers has cemented its legacy.

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