It’s crazy how one can skyrocket into stardom with a simple double tap. The likes, comments, re-pins, and favorites you freely give out can turn even the simplest of teenagers into mini social media moguls, cashing in a sum bigger than what your 9-5 desk job has to offer. But what happens when a hyped up social media “influencer” reaches the tipping point? That's where the 18-year-old Aussie Essena O’Neil enters the picture. Her 500,000 Instagram followers, 60,000 Snapchat followers, and 200,000 YouTube subscribers were up for a rude awakening as soon as she tore down her social media accounts and suddenly decided it's time to #getreal.
Sick and tired of posting the bikini shots and fitspos that once set high #goals for her thousands of followers, Essena snapped out of it and decided to filter out the negative things in her life, which, ironically, used to be the source of others’ positive #feels. She started by weeding out her IG, re-captioning photos with lines like “Be aware what people promote. Ask yourself, what's their intention behind the photo?” and “This photo had no substance,” calling them little symbols that she had quit.
Since then, she’s opened up Let’s Be Game Changers, an open forum where she shares her thoughts and invites other users to join in on the discussion on how toxic social media can be.
While we applaud Essena for this bold move, our biggest takeaway from all this is that one should never let social media consume and define a person. There's nothing wrong with sharing moments and expressing your thoughts, but these things should be done to please yourself and not others. At the end of the day, one shouldn’t be a slave to numbers.