The internet is filled with ghost towns, haunted by forgotten GeoCities sites, Craigslist ads for apartments that have already been rented, and long-shuttered blogs that someone is still paying to keep online. And yet there is a disturbing alternative, which can be found mostly on Twitter. I am speaking, of course, about active social media accounts for television shows that have not been on the air for years.
These reanimated corpses continue to churn out content (mostly in the form of GIFs), presumably to get people to watch the show on whichever streaming service it calls home. I don’t know how effective this tactic is. I don’t think I would ever watch Parks & Recreation just because I saw someone engage with a picture of Rob Lowe taking a nap with a dog.
As an example, here is a smattering of recent, depressing tweets from the official account for 30 Rock, a show that ended in 2013.
And then there is the account’s magnum opus. Every single Wednesday at 9 a.m. the poor soul behind this account tweets “What a week, huh,” and has been since August of 2019. It is a quote from the show spoken by its protagonist Liz Lemon (Tina Fey), to which her boss Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin), responds, “Lemon, it’s Wednesday.” Someone always quotes that part back in the replies.
Modern Family, New Girl, Community, The Office Game of Thrones, and — in a choice that runs counter to the tone of the series — Fleabag are just a few examples of shows that still have active Twitter accounts. This has to be one of the most boring social media jobs you could have. You can tell that no one is putting much effort into this lackluster content.
This is, truly, nothing. A promotional image of Zooey Deschanel and copy that barely makes any sense (since the show premiered in 2011 and ended in 2018, Deschanel has not been a “new girl” for quite some time). And yet people are there in the replies, earnestly telling this account that they want to find themselves a Nick Miller, that they want to watch New Girl again, and or even just that they want to get back into reading, for some reason.
In a few instances, it makes sense that these accounts would still exist. The Game of Thrones account has nearly eight million followers, and will become a useful tool when the prequel series House of the Dragon premieres later this year. It also still has the ability to go viral, as evidenced by this tweet sent off the day before the winter solstice.
But most of these accounts do not need to exist. Free these social media professionals from having to scrape the bottom of the barrel to come up with content for a long-gone television show that will get, maybe, 2,000 likes and a few replies. They could be doing so much more with their time, like making TikToks for the Saved by the Bell reboot, or creating the ranch from Yellowstone in the metaverse.
Lost did it right. The last tweet from that account came four years after the show’s finale, and contains two links to blog posts about Psycho. Before that, the account hadn’t tweeted since 2010, when it shared a bit.ly link that no longer works. We should all hope to go out like that.