On social media, there is a thin line distinguishing authentic and fabricated content. With shows like Catfish thriving, there is no exact way to determine what is real and what is fake. Famous Instagram model and YouTuber Essena O’Neill recently released a video sharing her take on the whole ordeal. The nineteen-year-old Internet star decided that social media should be more realistic, vowing to quit all social media. Why? As posted in her blog (which began shortly after her published promise to quit social media), she “found social media (the current system) to be just contrived images and edited clips ranked against each other,” convincing her that her life “wasn’t good enough.”
O’Neill has a point. As stated in her video, “having it all on social media means nothing in your real life.” Following her powerful messages, she received a lot of critiques. The most common critique was her vow to give up social media only to create a blog. Obviously, she is not too keen on her word. Also, recent information provided by some of O’Neill’s former friends suggests that her whole speech was based off of a terrible break-up. As many may recall, O’Neill briefly discussed her boyfriend who felt depressed in her teary-eyed state.
In response to her video, twins Nina and Randa Nelson, with whom O’Neill stayed with while in Los Angeles, created a YouTube video of their own. As the Nelson twins put it, O’Neill “wasn’t at the pinnacle of her success;” she was only in LA for vacation. The Nelsons believe that O’Neill’s video “reveals what she’s looking for”
in a person. While in LA, Essena O’Neill dated Disney star Blake Michael, known for his work in Lemonade Mouth and Dog With A Blog. The relationship was brief; however, when the relationship ended, the twins believe O’Neill “had completely changed,” stating that “the reason [Essena] is so upset and so down is because of [Michael] and she’s putting all the blame on social media.”
Although the Nelson twins believe O’Neill is being hypocritical, they agree that “success doesn’t equate to happiness.” Social media should not solely focus on views, likes, or followers. It can provide people from all over the world with an opportunity to relate to one another, learn from each other, and even earn money while doing what they love. Although Essena O’Neill had a bad experience, many people benefit from social media. It is all about perspective and balance.
Here are some of O’Neill’s more memorable quotes from her video: