The Monitor is a weekly column devoted to everything happening in the WIRED culture world, from movies to memes, TV to Twitter.
Time travel has been on a lot of people’s minds lately. Or at least on mine. Not necessarily the kind that sends you through the past or a leap into the future, but rather the kind that makes you feel like you’re stuck in another time and place. It’s the feeling you get when access to abortion in the US is reduced to what it was before 1973, when the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to fight climate change is rolled back to another time, when Top Gun is once again the greatest movie in the world and your favorite video game includes the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And also the feeling you get when RadioShack for some reason dominates the conversation.
OK, so that last one isn’t as consistent as the first, but it might be the one that speaks most to the present moment. In 2020, an outfit called Retail Ecommerce Ventures — known for relaunching brands like Pier 1 and Dressbarn — bought many of RadioShack’s assets. Since people in the Amazon era no longer had to drive to a store for obscure A/V cables, the idea was to make RadioShack a “modern e-commerce company.” To do that, REV transformed the retail chain into an entity on the blockchain and launched a cryptocurrency platform called RadioShack Swap and its own token, $RADIO (it currently has almost no value). In an apparent effort to publicize these efforts, the RadioShack Twitter feed went full blast this week.
“Hey @MileyCyrus, are you awake?” read a monday tweet† “It’s always a bad idea to take the second half of an edible after you haven’t felt anything from the first half. This chocolate bar made me fight for my life here,” observed another† There were also promises that “any interaction with” this tweet will be considered for a chance to win in catching these mf radio hands.” Mostly it was the kind of childish, NSFW humor that made you think the account had been hacked. Instead, it was a plea for attention – and it worked. Many of the tweets went viral, some were deleted and as of Thursday, the account said:“I got parole on Twitter for talking about getting married to squirters. @elonmusk if we make moves fam?”
Oh boy. Is this all so stupid? Yes. But is it also a sign of the times? Yes. It feels like America’s clock is rewinding, and seeing a solid company from the ’80s and ’90s turned into a crypto brand only puts that into sharper focus. Everything that is old is new again, but it has not been improved.
Nostalgic cycles come and go all the time — throwbacks to the ’90s have been blooming for a while — but they often come with an air of celebration or wistfulness. This has been the case less often in the past two years. Gen Z liked bringing back emo, but bringing back 50 years old policies feels like you’re stepping into the wrong wormhole.
On Wednesday, following the layoffs of several popular DJs, a contemporary pop/rock station in Vancouver played an edited version of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name” on repeat for over 10 hours. When people called to request other numbers, they were reportedly ignored. As news of the KiSS Radio stunt spread, it seemed like the Rage Marathon was an act of rebellion against layoffs. But on Thursday morning, the Vancouver Sun reported that it may have just been a publicity stunt — an iconic protest song used to drum up listeners. Or, in another dimension, a beloved electronics retailer posting wild tweets.
This post What will happen to RadioShack’s Twitter feed?
was original published at “https://www.wired.com/story/radio-shack-twitter-crypto/”