Social Media Is Not Real Life: Essena O'Niell

Social Media Is Not Real Life: Essena O'Niell

“Confidence is not ‘they will like me.’ Confidence is ‘I’ll be fine if they don’t.’” -Elizabeth Gilbert

Essena O'Neill

As I was looking through BuzzFeed, I came across an article about an 18-year-old Australian, named Essena O’Neill. She is the girl who quit social media. She had hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and Tumblr, so why would she quit social media? Why would she delete thousands of pictures and content that she had built over the years? Well, here is why.

Essena renamed her accounts to “Social Media Is Not Real.” On the Instagram photos she did not delete, she had been paid for. She changed all the captions on them to show that they weren’t as nice as they seemed. She wrote about how she had to take a lot of pictures to get the best one. She felt a lot of pressure to look perfect because she wanted the likes, and she was getting paid.

She formed a website called “Let's Be Game Changers.” On her website, she has sections for her writing, game changing stuff (interviews, books, music, quotes, etc), everything that is behind the image (the pressure), information about her and her site, and there is even a way to contact and support her. She had switched from YouTube to Vimeo because it is solely based on value, not followers or likes.

Essena is a wonderful example of an amazing person. She is someone to look up to. She is showing everyone that life is not about sitting on social media all day, and focusing on the likes that your photos and posts get. It is about you, and the way you feel about yourself.

I did have Instagram, but I stopped using it a while ago because I realized no one looked at my posts and no one liked them. It did not bother me at all, but I was definitely obsessed in the beginning. When I realized that it didn’t matter if people liked my posts or not, I just stopped using it.

For Odyssey, I admit, I was super obsessed with getting the most shares. I wanted to not only get $20 for each number one article, but I wanted know that people liked my content. I wanted everyone to like my articles. I mean, I still do want the shares, but it doesn’t matter if I get number one every week, or not. I just want people to read my articles. If my posts aren’t shared by everyone, it won’t bother me too much. Not everyone is going to like what I have to say. I like what I have to say; my words are out there, and that is all that matters to me.

Social media is stupid for the sense that it teaches people that they aren’t worth anything if no one likes the things they post. That is not how it's supposed to be. Social media should be a place where people feel comfortable; where people can go to have fun and be free, not to wonder if they have hundreds of likes or comments saying they look sexy or beautiful. I mean everyone is sexy and beautiful. You don’t need to be reassured on social media about it. Just look in the mirror. You know you look good.

I know that at my old school, there are girls from high school, even down to elementary, trying to look sexy in their candid shots. College is definitely the same way. It is practically their life to get those likes. I would like to say that you don’t have to put on a “show” to get likes. You don’t have to worry about getting them. It’s not about that. It’s about feeling good about yourself (as yourself) in reality. You are amazing. You don’t need people to like or follow you to know that. Just be you.

“Your ignorance is their power.”

For more information, visit Essena’s website.

If you want to support her project (like me), click here.

Some good playlists to feel good are here.

Here is a link to the messages she has about the “behind the scenes” of the pictures. I suggest taking time to read some.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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