You know how people photograph their happy moments and rush to post the photos on Facebook and other social media trying to make the world think their life is all peachy? Well here’s one person who made a living doing it; and why she stopped.
Essena O’Neill is a 19-year-old from Australia who used to spend a considerable amount of her time showing off her perfect life on various social media platforms.
With over one million fans, followers and subscribers Essena reached a point where she was able to support herself through sponsorships and was receiving modeling offers from some of the largest agencies out there.
Even though she says she had everything she ever wanted, yesterday she posted a video (without even putting on makeup) explaining why she has decided to quit all social media.
While some accounts will be shut down completely, she decided to leave her Instagram account active but edited the captions to reflect the truth behind those “perfect” moments.
Taking herself off social media “is a wakeup call to anyone and everyone who follows me” Essena said, adding that “’Having it all’ on social media means absolutely nothing to your real life”.
At the time Essena decided to quit social media she had over 570,000 followers on Instagram, over 250,000 subscribers on YouTube (with many of her videos receiving hundreds of thousands of views), 250,000+ subscribers on Tumblr (each), 60,000+ average views on Snapchat.
As you can see, she had a following many could only dream of. While her Snapchat and Tumblr accounts have been closed for good, she left only her vegan-related videos on YouTube but what she did with her Instagram is where it gets really interesting.
Renaming her account to ‘Social Media Is Not Real Life’ and deleting thousands of her photos, she left her Instagram active and edited the captions of the photos “to expose the harsh and often humours reality behind the #goals #instafamous culture”.
“stomach sucked in, strategic pose, pushed up boobs”. A lot of work was put into these “candid” shots:
Even a simple selfie isn’t so simple anymore:
So why did she do it? Essena asks and answers this question on her new website ‘Let’s Be Game Changers’:
“I found myself drowning in the illusion. Social media isn’t real. It’s purely contrived mages and edited clips ranked against each other. It’s a system based on social approval, likes and dislikes, validation in views, success in followers… it’s perfectly orchestrated judgement. And it consumed me”.
For more information on Essena’s process and some interesting details about how people get sponsored to post certain photos on social media head on over to ‘Let’s Be Game Changers’.
If you have no idea (yeah right) what I was referring to when I said peoples’ lives look good on social media, here’s a video that shows it how it is:
You can also get a humorous look behind Instagram’s lifestyle/travel accounts in a video that will leave you never trusting Instagram again (in case Essena’s story wasn’t enough).