The Internet has been buzzing with news that Australian Instagram model Essena O’Neill has quit her social media career. The blow out happened after she revealed that she wasn’t happy with the person she portrayed to her hundreds of thousands of social media fans. Ironically, the teen turned to the interwebs to announce her tearful resignation. This story keeps popping up in my news feed, and I just have to put my 2 cents out there for anyone who cares to read.
Do I believe that she quit making her big social media influencer bucks for good? NOPE! She has simply decided to FINALLY disclose her relationship with the brands that she no longer identifies herself with, and has switched to a different platform to continue to make those Internet dollars. As a matter of fact, her new website has a donate button, so instead of only brands paying her, her followers can too!
Essena O’Neill is young and I feel that young people have a hard time realizing that there is a world outside of social media; mostly because it has been such a large part of their youth (I sound really old right now lol). Maybe when Essena was 16 years old, her personal tastes and desires aligned with bikinis, beaches and her follower count. Now she’s grown up and realized that she stands for more than that, which I applaud her for, but she shouldn’t blame social media for her unhappiness. That’s her own doing. She is responsible for her relationship with social media and I don’t feel that she is a “hero” because she quit. As a matter of fact, I feel that she still needs the attention, she’s just decided to use her fame for a different cause.
I think there is something we can definitely learn about Essena’s story and social media: don’t believe everything that you see.
In a world of profile pictures and 140 character bios, it’s easy for people to lose themselves in type translation. One can swiftly slip into the tangled web of lucrative photos that make us wish that we could be that person with the perfect life and thousands of people wishing to be in their shoes. Just like the old saying says, “everything that glitters isn’t always gold.”
Moral to my rant: Happiness is not defined by a follower count or how many double taps you get on your sweet Instagram pic. Before you envy the fabulous life of some of these online stars, remember that fame doesn’t buy you happiness. Most importantly, let’s take a break from the bright screen to spend time with real people, in real places, creating real relationships, that no follower cont can replace!
What are your thoughts on Essena O’ Neill’s announcement? Do you agree with her decision? Do you feel that she is a “victim” of social media?