‘Infamous Instagrammer’ ditches social media, citing dehumanization

Caylea Ray

Social media star misplaces the cause of her unhappiness on the internet

Essena O’Neill has gained fame on Instagram from posting photos of herself, her outfits and fitspo photos, gaining more than  half a million followers. Now she is ready to give all of that away.
O’Neill became even more of an internet phenomenon when she announced on YouTube her decision to quit social media. A day later, the video had over a million views.
The internet star claimed she has spent most of her teenage life being addicted to social everything, social media, likes, approval and her physical appearance from the pressure to be perfect. O’Neill says social media made her miserable in her YouTube video, which has since been deleted.  
Before quitting social media completely, she deleted over 2000 photos on her Instagram, but left some photos where she had re-edited the caption, telling the truth behind the photo. One photo shows her in a bikini with the caption, “NOT REAL LIFE — took over 100 similar poses trying to make my stomach look good. Would have hardly eaten that day.” Her “real” captions seem to show the pressure she felt, and how her dream life was not actually her life.
She also lashes out on other social media celebrities. She states in her video that anyone wearing clothes that were tagged on social media were being paid for, and most photos that are posted they are being paid for. She also claims in the video that everyone she knew was miserable as well because of social media.
“’I was surrounded by wealth, fame, and power, yet everyone was miserable and I had never been more miserable.’”
After her video went viral, YouTubers and other social media celebrities were quick to defend themselves. YouTubers Nina and Randa, friends of O’Neill, are calling her video a “hoax.” In their response video, they claim that she had never been happier because of how famous she was because of social media and she is doing it to gain more fame.
Whether or not this is a publicity stunt or a hoax, O’Neill has gained even more followers on her Instagram, which has now been deleted, because of her video. She has gained more fame than ever now because of a video which she posted ON SOCIAL MEDIA.
While I do agree with some of the things she says in the video, social media is not the problem; she is. She is blaming social media for her depression, for her desire for more likes, but in reality, social media has given her all these opportunities. It was her job and she is throwing that away. Maybe it didn’t make her happy not posting the “real” photos of her life, but we aren’t going to post the ugly, real photos of us on Instagram after we just ate a big meal or of us crying. We’re going to post the best photos of us and that is what she did.
Yes, there are many people who make money off of sponsors from their social media accounts, making it their job, but that does not mean social media is not real. It all depends on who wants to post what and she chose to make money and sponsor other brands. While she might have not liked it, there are going to be some people who love working with social media and she is not one of them. But does that not mean social media as a whole is fake and that everyone utilizing it is fake or miserable.

RBHS Students chime in on the social media debate

photo by Grace Vance
Adrian Riley, sophomore

“I think social media is actually a very harmful thing. I could be a helpful thing but I think it is more harmful. My sister was cyber bullied at one point and one of my closer friends was [also] cyber bullied [For example], Snapchat is not very safe because people get bullied and there is blackmailing and stuff like that.”
photo by Grace Vance
Antonio Vaughn, junior

“I think social media can be harmful depending on how people use it, or it can be positive depending on how people use it. I’ve seen a lot of bullying online before. I think it really just depends on how [Essena O’Neill] feels about social media. [If she quits] social media, she must have a reason for it.”
photo by Grace Vance
Mariah Fitzpatrick, senior

“I think social media can be misused but at it’s core it is a good way to connect with people across the world. I have social media [and] I feel like for me I get easily distracted by social media so I probably shouldn’t use it as much as I do. I also use it just to see what other people are doing online.”
student view by Grace Vance

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