The phrase “lulw” is a Twitch meme it’s an emote on twitch. Joining other dozens Twitch emotes and memes. “Lulw” is a is a corrupted and rotated variation of the “lul“ another Twitch emote.
In 2013 by photographer Jonathan Tayag took a photo of John Bain “TotalBiscuit” laughing out at Bain laughing at the Major League Gaming Anaheim. John’s Twitch channel the “TotalBiscuit” began using it in his stream as a sub emote “cynicallaugh”. The laughter gained acceptance by streamers and was given a slang “cynicallaugh”.
Later a “Better Twitch.Tv” a plug in Twitch that enables emotes added the emote to its collection calling it “LuL. Later the laughter photograph was redrawn and the version came out bearing the face of John, “Better Twitch.Tv” added it to Twith as an official emote in 2017.
Now the emoji has been adopted massively in Twitch as a memorial to the 33 year old gamer John who passed away due to bowel cancer.
In 2019 “Lulw” has seen its variation with LOLW referring to a variation of LULW in which the emote is combined with the Face With Tears of Joy emoji. Used initially by FrankerFaceZ Twitch extension in 2019 the emote was adopted by over 400 streamers within two month.