Put down the pitchforks for just a moment and let's talk about this

I read E! Online’s article about the Teen Choice awards last night before bed. As a 30 year old, I sort of got its intention, but it didn’t make me laugh at all. There were a lot of names and faces I didn’t know at the Teen Choice awards, sure. I understood that the author was intending to mock herself for being old. But it didn’t work out that way. 

I believe she intended irony, but what was conveyed was vitriol. Why? 

Well, if you ask the author, it’s because America needs a master class in sarcasm:

Oh good job! It’s a great idea to insult your audience! That goes really well for everyone who does it.
^^^this is sarcasm

Look, the article was a swing and a miss. Poorly used sarcasm that was not self-deprecating enough to be read as such. I could go into more detail about this but I hate to spend that much time breaking down the finer points of a buzzfeed style listicle.

It was badly used sarcasm aimed at a audience I can’t identify. 

That, I can actually forgive.

What happened next, however, was just plain stupid.

Now, many are writing this off to say that E! used the wrong meme and intended to insult Grace. I myself thought so and posted a tweet to mock this one in her defense.

But I actually think they were using the meme they meant to use… they are just idiots.

This tweet was intended to mean “Hey guys, our article was sarcastic. Of course we know who YouTubers are, we gave one her own show.”

It’s just used very stupidly. It’s just so easy to take it the wrong way. Who in the world thought this was a good idea????

AND THEN! As if that wasn’t moronic enough of a move, they throw shade Tyler Oakley?!?!? [the tweet was deleted, likely because they realized it was stupid and are hopefully working to clean it up - but they posted a photo of Tyler with the Straight Outta Compton logo, changed to “Straight No Chill” for defending YouTubers that E! Mentioned in the article]

No no no no no, E!!

The time for passive point-making was over before the stupid article came out. Drop the sarcasm and would-be cleverness and explain yourselves. Use normal words. Stop trying to talk to us like you know us. We’re pissed over here. Calm us down. Assure us you didn’t mean harm, though you caused it.

Do not call us idiots who have no chill.

We have no chill because of your ill-advised use of sarcasm, which, again… was intended for what audience exactly? It feels like you’re having a bit of an identity crisis. Or not. I don’t know! I keep trying to make sense of it, but I have nothing of substance to go on because you’ve only used sarcasm in response to people not getting your sarcasm!



Until then, you just have a lot of people pissed off at you and very upset.

You are wasting people’s time and energy.

Please clean this up immediately. 

And apologize to Grace for dragging her into your stupidity. Now.

Ok, back to your Pitchforks, everyone. Just want you to be wielding them for the right reasons :)

Open Letter to E!

ATTENTION: eonline

To whom it may concern:

I write today to express grave concerns about the unprofessionalism and absence of good judgment by the individual(s) managing E!’s social media accounts. My concern primarily stems from a tweet timestamped today that reads “Remember that time we gave a YouTube star their own TV show?” This quip is followed by a meme, heavily implying that the decision to give Grace Helbig her television show was some kind of charity case on E!’s part, that Ms. Helbig didn’t do anything to deserve a television show, but that E! was so benevolent as to bestow one upon her, a lowly digital content creator.

Now, there are two possibilities here. The first is that the person running the E! Online Twitter account is a rogue agent operating without oversight by dragging E! talent through the mud. In that case, I would hope human resources would swoop in with a pink slip and an apologies for Grace Helbig and the myriad of other new media creators who were offended with this simple statement. If this is the case, then E! still has a chance to reconstruct the last tatters of its relevance.

The second possibility is that this tweet is indicative of a larger feeling at E!, and that’s where we have a problem.

I neither know nor especially care why the individual behind this tweet felt the need to rake Ms. Helbig specifically, and YouTubers collectively, over the coals. Nevertheless, because they did, there are a few things I think it would be prudent for E! to consider before they take to social media to air their superiority complexes.

Let’s clear one thing up right quick: Grace Helbig has done nothing to deserve this kind of treatment. She has done nothing but work her fingers to the bone to churn out quality content on multiple platforms, to try to marry traditional and new media, to breathe fresh life into your network, and to pull in viewers that wouldn’t have turned on E! in a million years if not for her presence thereon. E! has only been helped by her presence. If you want to know what’s hurting E!, look to whoever typed this tweet. That’s who’s responsible for hurting your brand.

You didn’t “give” Grace Helbig a television show. Grace Helbig worked her ass off to earn that television show. You made the decision to pick it up. Deal with whatever buyer’s remorse you may have about that decision in private, because airing such temper tantrums in a public forum is a stain on your entire enterprise.

See, here’s the thing about this generation of consumers that you don’t seem to have picked up on yet: we value collaboration over competition. We build each other up, we don’t tear each other down. We learned this from new media and we exercise it outside of new media. Taking a jab at Grace Helbig doesn’t just alienate Grace’s two-and-a-half million subscribers. It also alienates Miranda Sings’ 4.7 million. And Connor Franta’s 4.8 million. And Lilly Singh’s 6.3 million. And Tyler Oakley’s 7.3 million. And Felix Kjellberg’s - kindly inform Seija Rankin that, yes, he is a real person - 38.7 million. (Remember when E! had 38.7 million views? Me neither.)

Your brand is dying fast and quiet, and you don’t seem to be noticing. That should scare you. Perhaps you still hold a certain degree of glamour and intrigue to a generation past; but to my generation and that after mine, you are nothing but a punchline. Gossip, rich people living the high life, mean-spirited fashion reviews…Generation Y fundamentally does not care. That’s why we’re getting our entertainment through any avenue but traditional media. Frankly, putting Grace Helbig on your network was the only shot in hell you had of getting us to tune in.

Do you have some grasp now of the ripple effect this poor judgment has had on your brand? You have only served to underline your image in the minds of millions of young people as a petty, spiteful little network that has long-since flown by the last exit to relevance.

E!, you have cut off your nose to spite your face. Digital media creators will continue to thrive and grow while you remain stagnant, churning out increasingly desperate variations on a theme in the hopes that nobody notices that it’s all the same crap; and you - and your profits - will regret it.