Wednesday 4 November 2015

Essena Oneill, quitting social media?

Let me make it clear that before all this happened, I'd never heard to Essena Oneill - that's not a good thing nor is it a bad thing, it just is. I watched her video and videos from other people who are "high up" in this industry, some of whom were her friends I've looked on her new website and I've looked at the edited captions on her Instagram. I am, honestly, confused by the whole thing - she's taken to social media and the internet to spread a "message" that she is quitting social media. It's hypocritical, or at the very least, ironic.

Essena is making it seem as though everyone in this industry is money hungry, miserable and fake, without opinions or a life outside of their youtube/blog/instagram which purely isn't true. If that's the experience she has had with social media, it's because SHE made it that way - she accepted deals that she now feels were unethical (e.g getting paid $300 to post a photo of herself wearing a dress) and she's the one who posed multiple times to make her stomach look right in a bikini shot - nobody made her do that, it was her own vanity. I understand that she's saying she was consumed by it all, but she wants the world to believe we all are - "I wouldn't have eaten all day to make sure I looked good in that photo" I don't know about the rest of you but I've never skipped a cheese sandwich to make sure my stomach looks good in a bikini. 

Surely with the amount of followers that Essena has (which is growing by the day, in case you hadn't noticed), she was in the best place to start a real conversation about the ethics behind social media, about transparency and disclosure - instead she threw a hissy fit and tarred everyone with the same brush, and I think it's really unfair. In the UK, by law we have to disclose if, for example, we're gaining money for posting a particular photo on Instagram. We have to do so and we do because rules are rules - in Aus, they don't have the same rules. But you do you, that's not what I'm talking about. If she felt that what she was doing was wrong, she could have quietly made the change to only accepting deals from brands she fully supports and would buy from anyway. Like, you wouldn't see me posting a paid-for snap of a baby monitor BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE A BABY. I'm going off on a tangent here but I firmly believe that bloggers/instagrammers/vloggers etc should only accept deals that fit them as a person - not their page.

It seems as though people are only just realising that social media is a career these days - but in reality it's been going on for a while and I for one didn't realise so many people were still in the dark. To me it seems ridiculous that you wouldn't notice how platforms with millions of users are being use for monetary gain by companies, and to make a living by those who are popular on them. And there's nothing wrong with doing that. Just like companies promote things on billboards and TV screens, they promote them on social media too because people are there and people see it. Just like companies pay more for adverts during the X Factor final or the Superbowl, they pay more for the big names in social media to promote their products. That, my friends, is how the world works.

There's still a lot I want to say and a lot I never will, but I want everyone to remember the good things that come from social media - I don't think it's fair of Essena to walk away now she's fed up and bring everyone else down with her. She's assuming that everybody who is well known on social media is the same as her, and that's simply not true. Let me know your thoughts because I'd love to know!


  1. Totally agree. I think social media is what you make it, and while I'm sure Essena's feelings are legitimate and she means well with her campaign, it's a huge generalisation to lambast all forms of social media (and those who use them) as poisonous and fake. It's a bit like swimming too far out to sea and then blaming the water when you nearly drown.

    Great post as always, sweetie!

    Sophie |

  2. I've watched some of the video, but I did skip to the end because that's what people had been talking about, where she asks for money for rent. I looked at her support me page and that is fine to me, she is saying if anyone uses and finds useful her ebooks then please donate what you feel it is worth. I think she made a mistake sticking the donation request in that video though. Quitting social media because of it being fake and money grabbing but then asking for money. Oops lol.

    Amy at Amy & More

  3. Glad to read another post on this! I wrote about my feelings on it yesterday on my blog.

    I think the key thing here is to keep in mind that she was a child when this started - and she's still just barely 19. I consider her like a child star because she was making decisions for herself (she doesn't mention her parents trying to manage her career and really, does anyone really know how to manage an Instagram career, yet? It's new territory) when approached by people with money and expertise who wanted her to do these things. If I was 16 and someone paid me to wear a dress for one $300 picture, I sure as hell would. I was 16.

    I see your first point: Essena makes it seem like everyone in social media is miserable. But I think that has more to do with addiction, not social media, as I believe she touches on in her video. Surely if you turn to anything to make you happy when you're miserable or feel lacking, it won't work: drugs, relationships, shopping, alcohol, social media, nothing can fulfil you as a person if you're not working on yourself.

    As to your last point, yeah, she can't make that generalization. Not everyone on Social Media is using it to fill a hole in themselves, but not everyone is young and being sought after to be used by companies as advertising like she was. I think everyone is fighting their own battles, and I hope she can turn this into something positive - if not for the girls who look up to her, then at least for herself.

    Met you on #crazybloggers Twitter chat! Hi!

    Meghan |

  4. I completely agree! Joining the blogging community really opened my eyes to how brands work with bloggers and social media users. Like you said, it's up to the individual to only accept products that organically fit with their page and personality.
    I felt weird about the whole story, but you articulated it very well. This post just about sums up my feelings on the matter. Thanks for posting!
    xoxo, Kathy