Monday 9 November 2015

Why I Hate The #SocialMediaIsNotReal Movement. | Response to Essena O'Neill


So a week or so ago, Essena O’Neill, a 19 Year Old, Australian Model and Youtube personality released a video on her Youtube channel explaining why she has decided to “Quit Social Media”. She gave her reasons and stated all the negative influences it has had on her life, relationships and her own feeling of self-worth.

She explained how the relationship between influencers and companies work, the strict guidelines of promoting their products and the completely “edited” lifestyle she is fed up of portraying on social media. She went on to change all her Instagram captions to “Honest” ones (prior to deleting the account), and many others followed suit and the hashtag #Socialmediaisnotreal has been trending all over the shop.

She decided to also remind her followers that she has a “motivational” site entitled “Letsbegamechangers” where she shares her thoughts on her vegan lifestyle and positivity.

My opinion on this?

It's absolute bullsh*t & Essena is not a victim of social media like she tries to make out. 

Let me explain..

So I watched the video with such an open mind, I was ready to hear out what she had to say and see if she picked on points I could really relate to or at least understand. But instead I sat through 17 minutes of a young girl blaming the world for HER own actions, trying to raise her profile again and the thing that really, particularly annoyed me – Ask for people to help her pay her rent because she’s so broke?! (Due to the lifestyle she pretended she had and could afford)

So the video started with her speaking about how she would spend hours and hours taking and editing selfies and photos for her to post on Instagram. She stated that she had portrayed a certain lifestyle to her hundreds of thousands of followers and had to do some craziness to keep up with it. She explained how society has told her that this was what it meant to be “perfect” and likes and followers on a screen are a true reflection on her worth. My reaction to this was; “What?! Who exactly is she blaming for this?” I was so annoyed because the video had so much potential to be positive but all I heard was a young girl blaming society for what she has become and not once taking ownership for the fact it was the life she chose to live. Instead of admitting she made the choice to give this impression out for the world to see, she said other Instagram accounts made her do it. Instead of admitting HER Social Media accounts weren't real she wants to scream the general view that #SocialMediaIsNotRealLife.  

Listen the day Kim Kardashian tells me she hates the fact people have opinions on and care about her personal life is the day I will scream as loud as I can and question the state of the human mind. She chose that life to make her money, don't be mad when people aren't ready to let go just because you are.

Another point she raised was about sponsorship and promotion deals that are thrown to her regularly due to her increased following. To an extent she turns her nose up at it, she says that companies “exploit” social media and influencers and use it to their advantage. Again I sat and rolled my eyes. She is angry because social media has now become a business? She isn't mad that Social Media gave her a living, but she's mad that companies generate profit from it? Really? Of course companies are going to jump at the chance to have their product viewed by thousands and thousands of people in an arena that is seemed to be more intimate and “real” as the television screen. But it is down to the online influencers to keep it real. Listen if you’re out here to get your money, then do your thing. Take on any sponsorship deal you’re offered and get them cheques. You’ll probably be able to walk away from social media, leave the followers behind and laugh all the way to bank. Personally I feel if that’s what you want to do then do you, lie to as many people as you want to but just be honest to yourself. If that's what you're comfortable doing and see social media simply as a way to make money then I am in no way judging you. But then on the flip side, if your influence is more to you than a bank cheque and you want to give off an impression of your real self and life, then don’t be influenced by the money and then complain. That’s exactly what Essena was doing. Saying how terrible it is that companies ask you to lie, then told the lies she was told to tell, then argued how terrible it is that companies tell you to do this? 

I’ve been approached by a few brands to speak on their product. The compensation was nowhere near as huge and the brand as well known as the ones larger bloggers get but I’ve felt nothing by saying “I don’t think that’s the best fit for my blog” and kindly declining. But listen if I had bills to pay and I thought posting and promoting the product was the best thing for me to do to get my money then I’d just do it, as long as I was happy with my decision and could separate what internet to my real life. I see so many youtubers make videos about stuff I know they don’t care about just to get that money. Did the rest of you see them dumb videos by Beauty Gurus advertising Kinder Bueno. As if this is like the most amazing thing they have to share with you? This is their job and Kinder must have been offering some big bucks. I'm not even mad at that though, but as viewers you need to be smart enough to distinguish between real and AD videos (it helps that most them now have AD written in the title). But no, companies aren’t to blame, Youtubers or Bloggers aren’t to blame, you are – for believing in it all. (If you do)

And for the Bloggers, Youtubers and Influencers who want to stand up and now change their captions to be more “honest” ones. I’m calling you out too. How can it be acceptable to portray a certain life to these young, impressionable girls and then turn around and tell them everything YOU’VE been demonstrating to them is in fact a lie and expect them to jump on your new #SocialMediaIsNotReal bandwagon. Look I see that it’s better late than never but not one (from what I’ve seen) “social media personality” partaking has directly taken responsibility for the damage to self-esteem they may have caused younger people. Instead they blame society, they blame social media, they blame advertisers and technology but not once realise they are a product of themselves. THEY spent all those years showing this somewhat perfect lifestyle to young girls, they’re the ones who edited their photos to look as slim as possible – Social media didn’t make them do it. Social media gave them the platform to do it. There’s such a huge difference and it really irks me when I hear online personalities complain about the pressures put upon them to be perfect. Because this again is you conforming and pushing the notion being perfect must be something to strive for, especially if "my favourite youtuber wants it too". Nobody puts that view of perfection on yourself apart from you, your definition of perfect is defined by yourself. So if you're going to become an online influencer and want to reach millions of people instead of one day telling them perfection is having the best things and looking a certain way and then turning around and saying no being make up free and talking about all the stuff you were paid to  do is being right just tell people that doing what makes them happy is the best thing and really express yourself on social media as if nobody is even watching.

I recently read a post about how one blogger admits that because of society and wanting to be a popular blogger she only writes about topics and products that are trendy and go with the general consensus. The general tone of the post was about how page views and comments controlled her life so she was writing posts she didn’t believe in, bigging up products that weren’t that amazing and was generally just lying on her website. And now finally she’s had an epiphany and now realises she can be herself again and wants to write about what she really feels and she isn’t going to let social media and being famous control her any more. *Cue another eye roll* Another post about how social media made her do it is going to drive me insane because it really doesn’t work like that. Essena and other bloggers shouldn't come out and make the broad statement that #SocialMediaIsNotRealLife because it can be. If YOU are honest and real, it can be a real place. The reason it's not real is because of people like this who chose to be fake for personal gain, whether that's financially or emotionally. So yes maybe she should have published her "honest" captions because she is not a victim of the negative effect social media can have, instead she is a perpetrator herself. 

Someone please explain to me why people are afraid of being different? Afraid of not fitting in with the general consensus? Because it can’t be the fault of social media. Because social media is not that place, it’s not that place where everyone agrees and everything has the same ideology of what the “perfect life” is. I for one love social media for exposing me to opinions and thoughts that are different to my own. In regards to the accounts I follow on Twitter, the ones with the most followers are that of people who don’t try to fit in, people who have their own opinions and can happily partake in discussions about why what they feel isn’t the same as everyone else’s. So social media cannot be the problem, the problem is within yourself. If you really are so desperate for acceptance you shouldn’t be on social media.

Put into perspective what social media is: Social media is a platform for people around the world to connect and be “social”. Social media is a platform. A Platform. There are no guidelines to instagram or twitter when you first sign on. There is no official statement saying it’s only acceptable to post pictures with amazing lighting, flawless make up and ones that make you look rich. Twitter doesn’t tell you that you have to love good things and hate bad things and only post thing people will agree with. People decide that’s what’s right. So stop blaming Social Media and blame people. And by people I mean yourself

Listen if I want to experience Social media in a totally different way it’s so simple. I just need to delete my existing accounts and start a new one and follow different people. What you see really is what you chose to see. So if you follow a ton of fitspo accounts and are unhappy with your weight, unless you’re using it as motivation to get healthy, you’re doing the damage to yourself. The people posting aren't doing anything to you, you are doing it to yourself. Instead I’m sure there are so many accounts out there that celebrate people like you, follow them instead. Follow accounts that make you feel good about who you are instead of focusing on ones that show you another life is better. The internet really doesn’t portray what is perfect, you mentally chose your “perfect” and then surround yourself with people with the same ideas online. Get away from the internet, sort yourself out first and then use social media for what it really is: connect with people, learn new things and just be true to yourself.

Being yourself is so much more easier than being someone else. Nobody reading that sentence should be surprised and think I'm saying anything new or profound. You all know this, you just chose to ignore it. I know this post is sounding a little bit preachy and "Oh look at Aarti, she thinks she knows everything" which it really isn't meant to be but the reason I say this with so much passion is because I get so annoyed with how much younger people let the internet influence them. I'm not so mad at what it influences them to be like (because I couldn't care less if young girls or boys want to be all fancy online), my anger comes from the fact that the internet can even have a say in what you think of yourself. So when you end up buying fancy stuff and have no money for rent at the end of the month – don’t go blaming that girl on Instagram who posted the picture of the new Marc Jacobs watch. Blame yourself for thinking that was important. Because if that girl could afford that watch and bought it and posted a pic, she isn't wrong, you are for getting it if you couldn't afford it.

Social Media is not to blame for our generations impression of what it means to be perfect. The blame lies in the hands of users of Twitter, Instagram etc. So stop complaining about social media. Before the internet people would do the same thing but with their friends and neighbours, not wanting to argue on the street, wanting to have the best car on the road, having the fanciest patio so they look like they're minting money, all to give a false sense of reality. It’s pathetic, it’s so stupid and it’s done because you chose to do it.

So while I disagree with Essena’s approach, I’m sure we share similarities in what we think is going wrong with society at the moment. I’m sure we both believe that people need to come out of this online bubble and start living, because the internet can disappear tomorrow and when it does you need to ask yourself what you have left. Do you have people who genuinely love you, do you have means and skills that would help you make money and pay your bills, do you have an identity? But I strongly disagree in her approach and her rationale around the subject. I do feel she needs to take a step back and look at herself and realise she is the cause of her own unhappiness at the moment and social media is not to BLAME.

I would love people to stop jumping on what you think you’re told through online platforms. Because this dumb #Socialmediaisnotreal hashtag is another statement of someone telling you it is now okay to be yourself. You’re literally doing it because it’s now acceptable. You’re still following suit. Now everyone all of a sudden is judging accounts that do exactly was Essena was doing before she quit. Now they are wrong and the #Socialmediaisnotreal people are better? Don't wait for things to be socially acceptable, don't let anyone tell you it's okay to feel a certain way. Feel how you feel, and if you're comfortable putting up a #NoFilter selfie or want to layer up and add that brightness because pictures of you looking at your best make you happy, then do it. No matter what you chose to do, don't let it consume you. 

But most of all, stop blaming social media because nobody forces you to make an account and log in. 

I know this post turned out a little longer than usual and I've been throwing out a few ranting posts recently but I would love to hear you're thoughts. Open the discussion because I know my thoughts have been a bit all over the place in this post. I know some of you may agree and some may totally disagree and be supporting the #SocialMediaIsNotReal movement either way I'd love to hear what your opinions are. I know you all have one, so why not share them?



  1. I understand the point you are making in this post and I agree that as people we are to blame for how we use social media and it's nobody's fault but our own. I have to say when I first saw the hashtag movement I posted a few pictures and honest captions but this made me realise by doing that I am still following the latest trend.

    Very interesting post. I like the way your thoughts were structured and put across.
    Thank you

  2. I can always count on you to state the facts

  3. I think all people need to know the importance of biodiversity that surround you and how it is value to appreciate environment. For best custom writing service essays you can use online essay writer.


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