Thursday, November 5, 2015

Social Media Is a LIE (my take on the Essena O'neil Movement)

If you've been living under a rock the past week then you may be unaware that blogger/model/youtuber Essena Oneill has quit the internet. I thought this would be an appropriate introductory post to my new blog, as someone who does work in social media and is continuing to expand into new platforms.

Essena is what's known in the industry as an influencer, a high profile 'ordinary' person who has risen to fame via social media, except now she's biting back at the hand that feeds her. In a week long build up Essena has deleted all of her social media accounts, over 2000 photos on instagram and left the rest with captions explaining the reality behind the image. She has also launched her website, a platform where she intends to spread awareness about the lack of reality in the social media world.

As one would anticipate, such a drastic change in perspective and behaviour has divided the internet, with many hailing Essena as a hero, a martyr and a game changer, while others are labelling her as a liar, a hypocrite and an attention seeker. Personally i don't believe she's either, i think that Essena is a human. She's a girl who is trying to make sense of what she has experienced and who is doing her best to initiate change in the world, and for that I applaud her.

With that being said, I don't necessarily agree with her. Social media, like anything, has the potential to be both good and bad. Though it's terrible that Essena experienced depression which was triggered by her social media addiction, many people, herself included can and have utelised the power of the internet for positive causes. Most notably in this case Essena has been able to raise awareness for the vegan lifestyle which she follows, and more recently (and somewhat ironically) she is now using her online presence to direct attention to another cause she believes in, the lack of realism online.

Image + caption taken from Essena's instagram @letsbegamechangers

In a series of images Essena previously documented she has now edited captions to offer a glimpse behind the scenes, giving the reader an insight into her mind at the time of shooting. Even if you don't agree with her vendetta against social media, it's certainly very interesting and provides food for thought.

How do you guys feel about it - has social media touched your life in a positive or negative way? x J


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