You’ve probably all heard about Essena O’Neill, the Instagram star who quit social media. She had half a million followers on Instagram, 200,000 followers on YouTube and Tumblr and 60,000 on her Snapchat – all of them inactive now. She just left one platform live for a few hours: her Instagram account, where she edited the captions on her fashion photos to display the secrets and lies behind many of these fashion shoots, before deleting that as well.
Her success was based on “perfect” selfies, outfit posts, and #fitspo photos, she was a role model and/or jealousy target for countless 12-20-year-old girls from all around the world. They are the ones who need to learn that the social media world is to be strictly distinguished from the real world, and that the two are NEVER the same. Extracts will always stay extracts. No matter how precise a painter works, his painting will always be limited to visual impression, leaving behind sound, smell and feeling.
And while social media can be a useful thing, everyone needs to learn how to deal with it. It’s dead easy to run a Facebook/ Instagram/ Snapchat account, but how easy is it not to feel threatened by everyone else’s perfect lives?
Therefore, Essena’s post might not change a lot about how Instagrammers present themselves. But it could change something about our perception of it. A perception in which we accept social media as what it is: a business. Some people use it to advertise themselves – their work, their social life and –to some point- their private life (amazing landscape – travel photos f.e.). In contrast, others use it in a bigger way. They are so good at selling themselves that brands want to be presented by them, and what’s wrong about that? It’s a job like any other. Only the lines between business and private seem so blurred. But they’re actually not. The only question is: are you selling yourself or are you selling a product?
To form your own opinion, watch Essena’s video here: