by: Jessica Buettner
About two weeks ago, the Internet has been driven around the news about a social media star quitting what she has been doing for the past few years. Essena O’Neill, an Australian Instagram star, decided to leave her life on the media for the real life. She made her decision in order to show people the positive message to truly living their real lives.
Essena posted a YouTube video saying that she felt miserable when she lived like a star and that she feels that online and media sites can lower one’s self confidence. She wanted to spread the message that a person is not defined by their looks and should not compared themselves to someone who looks better than them ion social media.
“I have spent five years wishing I was this perfect person online and I spent three years every day working really hard at it,” O’Neill tells ABC News. “I think if people understood just the amount of effort and time that goes into perfecting your life like that and being consistent that I think that wouldn’t be aspirational. I think the reality is quite sad.”
O’Neill decided to delete many of her photos from her Instagram account and changed the captions of the ones she left up to reveal what was really going on in that particular photo. When she decided to announce this to the world, her intent of doing so was trying to spark up a conversation among people who might think the same thing about social media. “What I’m saying isn’t revolutionary but I just think it’s a discussion worth having with how much value we put into just putting photos of ourselves online,” O’Neill stated to ABC News.
Ever since her video was released, various YouTubers have made videos, revolving around the subject on whether or not social media is bad. Jamie Pine, a British YouTuber, said that the way social media works is a way to make people think that they could aspire to become like the people in those photos. “When you see a picture that you think is beautiful, often you would think to themselves, ‘How can I become that?’ ‘How can I model myself around this image of beauty?’” Most of social media involves around people looking at something that could possibly lower their self esteem and make them feel like they have to work towards looking like that person in order to feel happy once more. However, this ideology has come into mind when some people have thought that the pictures that are shown are particularly fake.
“Often, celebrities have their photos edited in an effort to make them look flawless when realistically they are just humans like us,” Jamie comments in his video. O’Neill really did make an effort to get the life she wanted, starting at the age of 12 with posting on MySpace back then. Eventually, Instagram began to become a thing and she would begin to post on it, which led to her having a huge following of fans and receiving a huge number of likes on each photo. This eventually led to businesses reaching out to O’Neill so she could get paid for posting pictures of herself promoting their products. Her followers were unaware that she was under contract with international modeling agency IMG.
“What? Paid Instagram posts?” O’Neill admits to ABC News when she found out about the ideology of paid Instagram posts. “I was like, ‘What? People don’t know this?’ I thought it was a joke and people could be like, ‘Oh, that’s why she quit.’ It’s not real life.”
When she felt like enough was enough and that she wasn’t really happy doing what all of this, O’Neill decided to drop everything and to focus on the reality of life. O’Neill wants people to take a break from the means of social media to see what happens. “Experiment, talk about it with people in your real life. Don’t just sit on your phone, reaching article and then replying, talk about it to people around you, talk about it to yourself.” She wants people to turn off social media for a while in order to live a real life and to live it to the fullest that you can. This shouldn’t be a sign that social media is scary and that you should try to stay away from it all f the time.
Jamie Pine finishes his video with a few words that I would like to leave you with and for you to think about. “Social media is what you make it. And if you make it, remember that you have to be happy with yourself and with your life before you can search for happiness, using social media.”