Essena O'Neill is the epitome of what Be Bona Fide is trying to inspire and bring awareness toy young adults everywhere. We need to open our eyes and realize that there is so much more to focus on than our acceptance through social media. We need to lift our head out of the cloud and be present and aware of those around us. We are so happy to have found this amazing, thought provoking post and brave girl who decided to take her fame and use it to help change many lives including her own.
"I can't tell you how free I feel without social media. Never again will I let a number define me. IT SUFFOCATED ME," she writes, "I know you didn't come into this world just wanting to fit in and get by. You are reading this now because you are a game changer, you might not know your power yet I am just finding mine, but man...when you do...far out you'll go crazy. It'll be brilliant. You'll be brilliant."
From fashion bloggers to fitness experts to simply photogenic everyday citizens, the "Instagram celebrity" has emerged as a new branch of fame in our social media-run world. Essena O'Neill, an 18-year-old from Australia, was a regular teen who amassed half a million followers on Instagram (on top of 200,000 followers on YouTube and Tumblr and 60,000 on her Snapchat, all now inactive) with selfies, outfit posts, and #fitspo photos. After building that up, she decided last week that she was done with social media. She deleted 2000 photos, renamed her account to "Social Media Is Not Real Life," and changed the captions on existing photos with truthful anecdotes about posts she was paid for, how many tries it took to get the shot, and the pressures she felt to look perfect.
"I've spent the majority of my teenage life being addicted to social media, social approval, social status, and my physical appearance, " O'Neill writes in her last Instagram post on October 27, "[Social media] is contrived images and edited clips ranked against each other. It's a system based on social approval, likes, validation, in views, success in followers. it's perfectly orchestrated self-absorbed judgement."
"How can we see ourselves and our true purpose/talents if we are constantly viewing others?" she says, "Many of us are in so deep we don't realize [social media's] delusional powers and the impact it has on our lives." In addition to making changes on her Instagram, O'Neill made a video on YouTube about how people make money off social media. She's since moved on from YouTube to Vimeo, where she'll now be uploading daily videos, because of its "positive and value based ranking, not likes or followers or BS ads." O'Neill adds on her newly launched site Let's Be Game Changers, "BUT PLEASE CAN SOMEONE MAKE A SOCIAL SHARING PLATFORM NOT BASED ON VALIDATION IN VIEWS/FOLLOWERS/LIKES BUT SHARED FOR REAL VALUE AND LOVE. THANK YOU. PLEASE HURRY UP."
Article found here on ELLE.