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An Open Letter To People Writing Article's Entitled "An Open Letter To..."

or should I say whiney girls calling themselves writers because they occasionally post to their university's community posting website.

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Dear Open Letter Writers,

We get it. You have a problem you would like to complain about. You already texted your best friend, but she just sluffed it off and now you don't know what to do, so you turn to your one true friend that will always be there for you: the Internet.

But blogging is too much work. You started one in eighth grade, but gaining followers was hard and time consuming. You could write a Facebook status, but no one reads those long posts, and you have way too much to get off your chest. Twitter isn't even an option; 140 characters would never be enough.

So you turn to the one place that provides you enough room to vent: online sites with community posting. I mean where better to share with the world your dire situation. Like about the person who took up more than half of your armrest while flying first class on Southwest or the person on the phone in the adjacent stall while you were trying to poop or the girl who you thought was your friend but then took a drunk selfie with your enemy last Friday night and you refuse to talk to until she apologizes or about the Starbucks barista who forgot to give you nonfat milk in your frappuccino (as if that would make a difference!) or your friend who you love having movie nights with but won't shut up during the movie or any number of your other superficial #firstworldproblems.

But what should you title this fine piece of literature you are about to share with the world? It can't sound like you're complaining because no one would read it. You want it to be quirky enough to gain people's attention so you decide on the most overly used title in all of the modern Interwebs: "An Open Letter To..."

Let's get one thing straight from the beginning: open letters are meant to be read by the person at the receiving end, but are also public. An example of this is a letter to the editor that is then published in a newspaper. These letters attempt to state an issue the writer has with an individual or with a particular group, but are published publicly in an attempt to draw more attention to the issue and hopefully start a dialogue.

As I'm sure you read recently, Taylor Swift did this very thing, writing an open letter to Apple asking them to change their policy on it's payment of musicians on their new platform, Apple Music. The letter received Internet attention and eventually the musicians got the money they rightfully deserved.

You, however, are not Taylor Swift. Nor are you a public figure, and you most certainly do not have a real issue you are trying to start a dialogue about.

You are probably in college or high school, writing from your laptop wearing sweatpants wanting to complain about your Panera bagel, which you asked to be lightly toasted and it came out darker than you would have liked. Instead of tackling your issue head on by either A) asking for a new bagel or B) being happy that you had food in front of you and eating your crispy one, you decided to go with a different approach. One that would capture your true hipster spirit and allow you to appear like you are actually doing work on your Macbook while sipping your overpriced latte.

Oh you ate that bagel alright, but instead of being satisfied with what you got, you tore into it bitterly, all the while plotting in your head just the right words you were going to use to tell the Internet about the crusty Panera worker who may or may not have had a mole on their hand when they put your bagel into the toaster without setting the dial to "light."

"An Open Letter To My (Apparently) Deaf Panera Cashier."

You post it to BuzzFeed just waiting for them to hire you for your witty article and clever title. You post it to your university's page and Her Campus. Then you share all of these on your Facebook page. That ought to get readers' attentions.

You may even publish your article to Panera's website in hopes of getting a free bakery item with your next purchase.

But what are you really accomplishing?


No one will see this, save your friends who decide to open the link. No one will share this except your BFF who you text and demand to share your ~latest~ article.

This isn't "an attempt to focus broad attention on the letter's recipient, prompting them to some action" as Wikipedia defines an open letter. It isn't going to get that cashier fired or start a mass boycott of all Panera restaurants in the United States. And it sure as hell isn't going to make the bagel (currently sitting in your stomach) any less crispy.

So stop.

And leave room on the Internet for the open letters that are actually trying to make a difference and are written by the people who actually can.

Sincerely your hypocritical open letter writer,

Tyler Murphy

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