In this age, we all read over our Instagram feed like it is the morning newspaper. And I know that because I read it once on Instagram.
Social media has connected people and created networks for strangers to see glimpses into each other lives. It also has allowed beautiful, staged photographs to appear like reality.
This is the exact problem that Australian model and former Instagram star, Essena O’Neil, is talking about. The 18-year-old, famous for posing in bikinis and bran promotions, is now trying to change the conversation to expose to false reality inside social media.
O’Neil wrote, ”I’m quitting Instagram, YouTube and Tumblr..Deleted over 2,000 photos here today that served no real purpose other than self-promotion. Without realizing, I’ve spent majority of my teenage life being addicted to social media, social approval, social status and my physical appearance.”
O’Neil changed the captions on her Instagram photos before finally deleting the account.
She used to time before deleting the account to explain the truth behind each shot.
She explained on her most recent bikini picture that it took more than 100 photos to get the right shot. She also wrote that she “would have hardly eaten that day.”
O’Neil had been signed with a modeling agency in Australia, multiple brand promotion requests, which would all turned financial profit.
She said, “I had the dream life. I had half a million people interested in me on [Instagram].”
She continued, “I was surrounded by all this wealth and all this fame and all this power and yet they were all miserable, and I had never been more miserable.”
One day it changed. O’Neil explained that she felt sick from pretending and that the loneliness that her fake life created got to a point that was out of control.
She launched a website, letsbegamechangers.com, as a means to show the reality behind the facade.
LetsBeGameChangers does not have followers or “likes.” The site is simply her way to further explain her decision and support positive self-image. It’s a beautiful thing when the man comes out from behind the curtain.
It’s bit like the Wizard of Oz and it’s taking over the Internet, sorry Kim K. So, naturally, there had to be a second look at things.
Amelia Diamond, a writer for ManRepeller, wrote, “But something wasn’t sitting well with me. Was it that her actions felt too dramatic — almost to the point that I wondered, “Is this a hoax?”
“Was it that she kept her Instagram up (with edited captions, yes, but still: she’s accumulating followers).
“Was it the knowledge that every media site would pick this up for the SEO, because everyone was talking about, because they didn’t want to be left behind?”
She continued, “I’ve written sponsored posts and posted fake smiles for Instagram. ‘Oh shit,’ I wondered. ‘Am I fake, too?’ I definitely have been.”
The internet has connected us, but somehow it’s disconnected us from ourselves and perception of self and it seems to be a cycle no matter how it’s looked at.
Arts & Entertainment Editor