UPDATE: Yep, it’s an Airbnb promotion. The last Blockbuster in the world is now available for an overnight stay through Airbnb, complete with ‘90s-style furniture and entertainment center and a selection of VHS tapes to enjoy.
THE DEAD SPEAK!
Or tweet, at least.
Blockbuster’s official Twitter account, @Blockbuster, hadn’t tweeted since Jan. 12, 2014—the day almost all of its locations officially went out of business. (There’s still one ornery location that refuses to die, up in Bend, Ore.) As the vestigial account of a long-dead brand that was obsolete even before death, there was no reason to think this Twitter account would ever stir again—and absolutely no reason to want it to, either, no matter how nostalgic you might feel for those old ticket stub signs or blue-and-yellow VHS boxes. In fact that official Blockbuster Twitter account has basically become a meme at this point—a weird social media monument to the hubris of media titans, and a relic from the long-gone past. Basically it’s “Ozymandias” but as a Twitter account for a shitty chain that killed off all the good video stores back in the early ‘90s.
Given all of this, it’s understandably a shock that Blockbuster’s Twitter account suddenly, inexplicably tweeted for the first time in over 6 years this morning.
What could this mean? Perhaps a rogue social media intern from 2014 realized they still had the login info, and decided to poke back in for a laugh? Perhaps our bottomless hunger for nostalgia will lead to the revival of yet another dormant brand from the past? Given that the only other tweets the account has written today were direct responses to the Airbnb Twitter account, you have to wonder if this is all somehow connected to them. Maybe they just bought the rights to Blockbuster's Twitter account as a marketing prank. Maybe none of this really matters, and signifies absolutely nothing on the horizon, but has enamored us today because of how fervently we wish we could go back to the world of January 2014—before the pandemic, before the current state of politics, before all of the entertainment industry was siloed off in different streaming services that require separate subscriptions and don't always work with every TV or streaming stick. Maybe we just want the simplicity of hitting Blockbuster on a Friday night, finding a (not particularly obscure, not particularly arty, definitely not rated anything past an R) movie to rent, and watching it on the couch without the glow and hum of social media apps on our phone constantly distracting us.
Or maybe it's just a weird, dumb thing that will get people talking for a few minutes before leading to the lame reveal of Blockbuster logo T-shirts at Old Navy or something.
And of course, no new @Blockbuster tweet could ever match this classic from 2011 for how elegantly it captured both the corporate mindset and a particularly crucial moment in home entertainment.