The Truth About Social Media

11.3.2015

“Happiness based on aesthetics will suffocate your potential here on earth.”

elite-daily-instagram-SO glad that someone finally spoke the God’s honest truth about social media. A former Instagram model has done the realest thing ever and quit social media in a bold and inspiring way to hopefully gain back years worth of depression and self-doubt.

Essena O’Neill is just 18 years-old and is probably more educated than that of the average 20-something. She knows a thing or two about social media and what its doing to our society/generation. After all, she has been center-stage on Instagram for a while now with over 580,000 followers and 260,000 YouTube subscribers. Essena made YouTube tutorials focusing on fashion, beauty, and her life as a vegan. I’ve seen her YouTube videos before and thought she was a down-to-earth chick and her most recent move to quit social media has proved that.

Essena came out with a video yesterday and it would be her last. She has chosen to step out of the social media spotlight and focus on herself. Years of gaining social media fame and having to live up to those expectations of her fans and of herself became utterly exhausting.

I know social media has a very negative side, after all, I am a marketing grad student. I know that most marketing incentives and social media posts are misleading and tend to be a poor representation of reality. I know that what most people post are only things that they want you to see, the glitz and the glam. Rarely unedited, non-altered images are seen on news feeds and timelines.

Essena made a bold move of deleting over 2,000 pictures and re-captioning previous Instagram posts with the reality of each photo.  On many, she noted that she took hundreds of pictures to get the right one. She sometimes got paid a lot of money to post pictures of herself in clothing as a sponsorship to a brand or company, noting that if it were not for the money, she would never be caught wearing some of the clothes she modeled. She mentioned that in several of her pictures she had acne but used many apps to edit and Photoshop the images before posting. She said it became very depressing to her when she began posting things based on gaining approval in the form of likes, followers and shares.

Essena has chosen to shed light on how social media can be the most crippling addiction out there – focusing way too much on looks, material items and what others have. She admitted she spent so much of her time consumed in social media that she missed out on life and the special moments with friends and family that could have been cherished.

You can read the full article here.


I can’t express how happy I am to see this from someone with such authority. This movement coming from a world-known Instagram model might actually get the point across. She’s done it in a way that has really brought the issue to light.

I, myself, can spend hours on social media wishing for a “perfect life” like those I see on Instagram. Let it be known that the perfect body, the perfect hair, the perfect makeup, and perfect life is complete bullshit. Let it be known that those people with the “perfect life” have their share of struggles too. Essena sets a great example of what I mean by this. Many followers probably idolized her and her life and perfect pictures, but in reality, Essena admits being the one wishing she had the perfect life. Do you see where I’m going with this? It’s a never-ending cycle.

She makes a comment that really resonates with me. It goes, “happiness based on aesthetics will suffocate your potential here on Earth.” Constantly thinking about what other people will think about you is how social media works. Because why else are posting it? You WANT other people to see it, approve it, like it, share it, follow it. I’m guilty of deleting pictures that didn’t get enough “likes” and I know I’m not the only one. I also used to edit the crap out of my photos. Just recently I have seen what that is doing to society. Everything you see is fake.

About a month ago, when I got my new phone, I vowed to myself not to download a single editing app because I was sick of going through the motions. You can do everything on editing apps – change hair color, volumize hair, whiten teeth, hide that double chin, smooth out wrinkles and under-eye circles, hide pimples, give yourself a huge ass, make your stomach flat, etc. I mean, come on, who are you at the end of all that? Unrecognizable, that’s who. I had to ask myself, “what is that doing for me?” Nothing. I still look in the mirror and see the real Haley and that is what I want everyone else to see. It’s a shame because even people who don’t want to edit their pictures feel the need to do so in order to compete with the level of “perfection” society has created.

Social media has taken over at all levels. It is near impossible these days to compete in marketing without social media platforms. It is the easiest and fastest way to spread the word. I would delete every social media app right now if I weren’t a merchandiser rep selling products.

I am going to say it again, I am SO glad someone chose to take the stand and speak honestly about how social media is fabricating reality and how that seemingly candid photo is actually the 99th posed shot.

I think this is an amazing movement and everyone should get on board. I’m so over seeing women plastered against each other. Comparing our lives every second we get? Is that what we want? We should all begin focusing on REAL STUFF: the projects we are working on, the dreams we have, the ideas we are exploring, the parts of the world we wish to help, the parts of ourselves we wish to heal. That’s friendship. It’s unconditional support and empathy.

Think about this…

“EMPOWERED WOMEN, EMPOWER WOMEN.”

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