My Internet: Manny Fidel
The MSNBC producer has had a few viral bangers.
Every Friday, we quiz a “very online” person for their essential guide to what’s good on the internet.
Today we welcome Manny Fidel, a producer at MSNBC who appears on the network’s TikTok and Instagram videos (and was once interviewed here about simping). Manny’s For You page is inundated with people pretending to be non-playable characters in video games, has been told by multiple people that he’s “emoji illiterate,” and once had a shitpost of his screened at the Camden International Film Festival. —Nick
EMBEDDED: What’s a recent meme or other post that made you laugh?
MANNY FIDEL: There was a debate on Twitter as to whether it’s normal to offer to feed a guest in your home, and the divide was largely drawn on cultural lines. People were making graphs and shit, it was so funny. It seemed like the darker your skin was, the more likely you were to offer your guest food. For me, the debate peaked when it was revealed that the Saudi government had to make a video PSA to ask people to stop inviting census-takers in for food and coffee because it was taking too much time away from their jobs.
EMBEDDED: What types of videos do you watch on YouTube?
MANNY FIDEL: My YouTube algorithm right now is almost 100% Elden Ring content since I searched for more than my fair share of walkthroughs and strategies. I don’t even have the game anymore so I’m trying to fix the algo by watching 40-year-old Eddie Murphy interviews. I’m also a huge fan of the Corridor Crew channel—they’re video FX artists who break down Hollywood effects in a super accessible way. I waste so much time on that channel.
EMBEDDED: Do you use TikTok? What shows up on your For You page?
MANNY FIDEL: I don’t use TikTok too much which is kind of wild considering my job is being the MSNBC TikTok guy. My FYP is currently inundated with this meme where people pretend to be NPCs (“non-playable characters” in a video game) and attempt to give unwitting, real-life pedestrians a side-quest. Those pedestrians’ responses can range from hilarious to heartwarming, and don’t worry I am aware of how nerdy this is.
EMBEDDED: Do you tweet? Why?
MANNY FIDEL: Yes, and reader, I wish I knew.
EMBEDDED: Have you ever had a post go viral? What was that experience like?
MANNY FIDEL: I’ve had a few bangers if I may say so myself but one that sticks out is an absolute shitpost I made in response to a weird string of stories about cops claiming to be treated badly by minimum-wage food service employees. It got so much attention that it was screened at the Camden International Film Festival where I joined for a virtual Q&A.
EMBEDDED: Who’s the coolest person who follows you?
MANNY FIDEL: That’s a tricky one. It could be AOC by default, but Chrissy Tiegen and Seth Rogen are also followers. Ever since Ziwe followed me I often imagine her reading my Tweets before I send them, which has to count for something. John Cena is also randomly a fan of my dumbass musings, and Andrew Yang is a follower, despite me dunking on him from time to time.
If we’re not talking celebs, the coolest people who follow me are either my guy @SaiduTTJ, who’s a wonderful poet and podcast host and was the subject of a god damn NYT profile, or @TylerRickyTynes, a prolific sports writer whose clothing style I am so painfully jealous of. Whenever I see either of them in person I feel like I briefly become a little cooler by association. Like second-hand smoke except it’s for getting compliments on my shoes.
EMBEDDED: Who’s someone more people should follow?
MANNY FIDEL: That’s gotta be either the homie @Kofie who is truly innovating the sports/gaming/internet world (and whose “My Internet” piece would be fun as hell, make it happen) or my longtime friend @newsmanual who just left his hosting gig at A Big Podcast and is surely going to get into some really dope projects in the near future.
EMBEDDED: Which big celebrity has your favorite internet presence, and why?
EMBEDDED: Where do you tend to get your news?
MANNY FIDEL: [NBC lawyer holding a gun to my head] I get my news from NBC News and other brands under the NBC Universal umbrella.
EMBEDDED: What’s one positive trend you see in media right now? What's one negative trend?
MANNY FIDEL: One positive thing is that there seems to be a proliferation in union activity which is great because the one negative thing is that pay equity is in the absolute basement. I recently learned that my pay at my last job was way below some of my peers who were doing similar work.
EMBEDDED: What does “cancel culture” mean to you?
MANNY FIDEL: Don’t cancel me but I do think there’s a modicum of truth to the fact that there is some amorphous form of our culture now that discourages people from effectively learning about their mistakes and cultivating the correct response. I think it’s a shame, but I also think it isn’t remotely as big of a deal as the right would have you believe. Can’t think of anyone that’s been genuinely canceled and so the “issue” probably doesn’t require the attention it’s been getting.
EMBEDDED: Are you into any podcasts right now?
EMBEDDED: Have you ever been heavily into Snapchat? Around what age?
MANNY FIDEL: My Snapchat usage peaked at around age 23 when I had just moved to NYC and needed to appear to my Ohio friends to be having the time of my life.
EMBEDDED: Are you playing any games right now?
MANNY FIDEL: Pretty much all of them, sadly.
EMBEDDED: What purpose do you see in NFTs?
MANNY FIDEL: At first I didn’t see any purpose in NFTs, but then I realized that ape holders can use multiple slurp juices on a single ape.
EMBEDDED: Do you think Web3 will mean a better internet?
MANNY FIDEL: I’m gonna keep it a buck, I have no idea what that is.
EMBEDDED: What’s your go-to emoji, and what does it mean to you?
MANNY FIDEL: I’ve been told by multiple people that I’m “emoji illiterate” and that people never know what I mean so I’m suspending usage until further notice.
EMBEDDED: What’s a playlist, song, album, or style of music you’ve listened to a lot lately?
MANNY FIDEL: We are entering the summer again which means I will be revisiting SG Lewis’ Times. It has incredibly vibey features from funk/soul gods Nile Rodgers and Channel Tres.
EMBEDDED: What’s your favorite non-social media app?
MANNY FIDEL: My Roku app that I can use as a remote for my TV because I lost the actual remote.
EMBEDDED: Have you recently read an article, book, or social media post about the internet that you’ve found particularly insightful?
MANNY FIDEL: I periodically revisit @GenePark’s 2020 Washington Post piece about the relationship between gaming and the Metaverse, because no matter how much the definition of the Metaverse changes, his thoughts on that dynamic are still so prescient.
EMBEDDED: What’s the last thing that brought you joy online?
MANNY FIDEL: During the pandemic, I used to stream myself reacting to politics and playing video games on Twitch, and I really miss the small audience I built. Super wholesome gen-z kids who just really liked to watch me be an idiot for some reason.
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