This post will only be relevant to you if you know who Essena Oneill is. If you don’t, then… this may not make sense to you.
For those of you who do not know Essena Oneill, she is an 18 (almost 19) year old girl from Australia. She rose to “internet fame” when she began posting photos online on her Tumblr page when she was only fifteen. 570k followers later, Essena has amassed an enormous follower-fan base and has made huge impacts on people all around the globe. She went vegan (coincidentally around the same time I did), around February 2014. She has made a huge impact in the vegan community and probably has influenced thousands of people to go vegan for their health, the animals and the planet.
Essena has changed a lot over the years, and that is understandable, considering she is only a teenager, and had to evolve through her teen years in the ‘spotlight’. People have hated on her for changing her mind, or doing something differently than she used to. But she is only a teenager, and she is allowed to change her mind. However, yesterday, Essena posted the most shocking change of all – she is deleting all social media accounts and focusing solely on her blog, which will essentially exploit the reality of social media and what it’s like behind the scenes.
I agree with Essena 100%. Social media has become quite a destructive tool for a lot of people. Youths are comparing their lives/bodies/appearances to other people online, and that can be truly detrimental. She deleted over 2000 of her instagram photos, almost all of her YouTube videos, and deleted her Tumblr. She went back on her instagram photos that she did keep (there’s only about 100 left) and re-wrote all of the captions, essentially exposing herself and revealing the truths ‘behind the image’. Example:
I wrote a blog post a couple months ago (March 16th to be exact) called ‘The Media is Taking Over”. However, I never published this because I was afraid of the reaction I would get. I called out the Instagram community, and how fame is taking over people’s lives; boosting their ego’s; creating false realities. I also pointed out how Instagram followers are spoken about in the equivalence of high scores in a video game. “Just hit 100k!”
Hit? You just hit/reached 100k? One hundred thousand people are following you, and you treat it like you just reached a new high score. Why do we treat our social media apps this way? It’s quite sad. And to make matters worse, people hold ‘shoutout comps’ or do ‘sfs’ to get more followers. Pretend all you want, but shoutout competitions are to gain more followers. People use excuses like “it’s a great way to help me find other cool accounts!” or “I just want to help out the smaller accounts”.. but if these things were true, you would only require people to comment on your photo, or find other ways other than them giving you a free promo with nothing guaranteed.
You are not better than anyone else because of the amount of followers you have acquired. Your friends do not define you by how many likes your selfies get. Your family will not love you any less if you only have 100 followers. These things do not matter.
(Yeah, that was a bit harsh, I know. That’s why I never published the older article)
I don’t like technology and social media. I never really have. And it’s a bit ironic and hypocritical of me considering I use multiple social media platforms, and have over 58,000 followers myself….
However, I like to relate my online presence with the term counter hegemony.
Counter-Hegemoney: people working within the media (and elsewhere) who attempt to challenge the dominant ideology by working to produce a counter-hegemonic world view.
Basically that means using technology, to dis-promote technology. (Similar to what Essena is doing)
Personally I am trying to make a difference in this world, so I am using the same tool that I despise to make that difference. Does that make me hypocritical? Maybe. But it’s working.
What Essena is trying to say is that we are being brainwashed by this online social media presence. We feel self worth by the amount of followers or likes we get. We compare ourselves to others, and determine who is worthy and who is not. It’s ridiculous. Essena also speaks about the ‘celebrity concept’ of worshiping these social media starlets such as herself. She says , why? what makes me so special? I am not different than anyone that follows me.
I’m so glad to see Essena posting these kinds of things because she has such a huge following and can actually make a difference.
However, I don’t think it’s necessary for her to delete all of her social media’s. Sure she can take a break and post less, but she is very inspirational and has made such a positive change for so many people that I think she should keep her accounts, and rather than deleting them, just change the content.
I also don’t think it’s her fault that her followers treat her this way. She never asked to be worshiped or be put in the spotlight – that’s on the people – that’s US. How we treat others is up to us. We as online viewers have the ability to believe everything we read online, or take everything with a grain of salt, and understand ‘everything is not what is appears’. I know that Jay and Alexis don’t have perfect lives. I understand that Instagram is a highlight reel where people only post the best shot out of 100, with the best possible lighting and well thought out caption. Does every human actually look/act this perfectly? No. But you would be a fool to actually believe that.
So basically this post was just a spew of information out of my mind that I had to jot down and share with others. Use social media, but with caution. Use it for good, to help spread a positive message, or to connect with like-minded people. But don’t let it consume you to the point where you lose sleep at night over followers or how your photos are not as good as someone else’s. Because remember, when you turn off your phone, it all goes away. It’s just an app after all.
Take a break from your phone/technology once in a while. Heck, take a break everyday. Just hide your phone somewhere and go for a walk, read a book, hang outside, chill with friends or family. Remember that there is a world a part from your phone.
Also to note, I study the media. Literally, my major in Uni is Media and Cultural Studies. So I have been learning about this kind of stuff for 3 years now, and have written countless essays on the topic of technology and social media. I enjoy writing about that stuff so if you’d like to see some of my essays, let me know and perhaps I will post it on here.
I also wrote a post a while ago called ‘How to be Insta Famous’ if you want to check that out: http://mindfullybliss.com/how-to-be-insta-famous/