*alarm goes off*— Chris Hallbeck (@ChrisHallbeck) April 21, 2016
Ugh, this again.
*remembers breakfast is a thing*
Well, alright then.
Lots of things are things now. For example, micro braids for hair are now a thing. At a certain point in time, they transitioned from not a thing to a thing.
But when did a thing become a thing? That is: when did it become popular to describe an emerging, popular trend as "a thing"? Alexander Stern writes at the New York Times:
Speakers and writers of American English have recently taken to identifying a staggering and constantly changing array of trends, events, memes, products, lifestyle choices and phenomena of nearly every kind with a single label — a thing. In conversation, mention of a surprising fad, behavior or event is now often met with the question, “Is that actually a thing?” Or “When did that become a thing?” Or “How is that even a thing?” Calling something “a thing” is, in this sense, itself a thing.
The linguists at the University of Pennsylvania's Language Log have been able to trace the expression back to 2002:
I don't have time this morning for a serious search, but on a quick scan, the first possible example that I've found is in a web forum query from November of 2002:
What actually 'is' a flame? is it the em radiation emitted by burning gas? Or what? Is a flame actually a 'thing'.
Anything can become a thing. But, specifically, what things would you like to see become things?
-via Ace of Spades HQ