With the surge in popularity of social media, many everyday citizens have acquired fame via social media, amassing thousands of followers that brand them as an “Instagram celebrity”. Essena O’Neill, an 18-year-old from Australia was a regular tennager who had 200,000 followers on YouTube and Tumblr, 60,000 on her Snapchat that are now inactive and over half a million on Instagram. It was filled with selfies, outfit posts and fitness inspiration photographs until recently she decided to quit social media.
She deleted 2000 photos and renamed her account to “Social Media Is Not Real Life” and changed the captions on her posts with honest ones that exposed how much she gets paid to endorse products and the pressures she felt. Instagram is supposed to be ‘instant photography’ that shares what you’re doing in that moment. However, when you’re an Instagram model, a picture needs to be taken 100 times before being good enough for social media.
She posted less than a week ago that she posted this message on her Instagram: “I’ve spent majority of my teenage life being addicted to social media, social approval, social status and my physical appearance. Social media, especially how I used it, isn’t real. It’s contrived images and edited clips ranked against each other. It’s a system based on social approval, likes, validation in views, success in followers. It’s perfectly orchestrated self absorbed judgement.”
In addition to making changes on her Instagram, O’Neill created a website called “Let’s Be Game Changers” which consists of personal blog posts, a community forum and anti-modelling vlogs that give you an insight into what really happens behind the scenes.
The latest video is a lengthy explanation on why she quit social media.