If you are on the internet often, you’ve likely heard about Australian model, fashion and beauty blogger, and Instagram personality Essena O’Neill, who quit social media on Monday by exposing the truths behind her “perfect” selfies.
For the past three years, Essena, who just turned 19, has made a living through a dynamic social media presence on Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, etc., but came to the realization that her obsession with clicks, likes and comments were having a negative effect on her psyche.
“I’ve spent the majority of my teenage life being addicted to social media, social approval, social status, and my physical appearance,” Essena said. “I was miserable because of numbers I saw on a screen… it’s perfectly orchestrated judgment. And it consumed me.”
Before deactivating her Instagram account, which boasted more than 600,000 followers, Essena went back and edited some of her previous photo captions to raise awareness of the “deceptive” posts.
Now, wanting to do something more altruistic, Essena is using her influence to launch Let’s Be Game Changers, a new platform that will highlight social issues, gender equality, environmental awareness, and feature “individuals who talk about real world stuff and connect over ideas not likes, followers or views.”
But as in most things online, Essena’s recent denouncement of social media isn’t without controversy. Other “instafamous” colleagues/friends are calling her a fraud, and claiming that her signing off of social media is a hoax to rebrand herself.
It all remains to be seen, but in the meantime, Essena is spreading a positive message and has started an important conversation about social media and its impact that cannot be ignored. We’re sure we will be hearing more about this young “game changer.”
Here’s Essena’s most recent video regarding the headlines she’s been making…