This moving message is a must for the millennial generation

Instagram model quits social media and launches website against it


Bridget Kingston, Features Editor

From edited perfection to raw, natural vulnerability, Australian blogger Essena O’Neill has made one heck of a statement in the social media world. From the time she was 15, the bubbly, sun-kissed blonde has had over 500,000 followers on Instagram, where she posted images and videos of her seemingly surreal life. From promoting brands of beautiful clothing and sharing photos of her perfectly toned and tanned body, her life looked beyond perfect to anyone scrolling through her profile.

Now 19 and fed up with her career through social media, Essena pulled the plug on her façade and deleted her many platforms of social media. Her new site,, reveals a whole new attitude towards social media that our generation so desperately needs to be exposed to. She peels away the glamour, the makeup, the editing, and the “candid” posing. This website is filled with Essena’s unabashed, real thoughts on the world, and social media’s detrimental role in it. Her website contains a plethora of interesting topics including inspiring Ted Talks, her favorite art, books and music, original writing and poetry, her thoughts on technology addiction, veganism, documentaries and interviews to watch; all promoting living life in the moment and not feeding into the social media obsession. She even has a tab containing a detailed and thorough routine of her life now that she isn’t using social media. Serving as a guide for others and simply motivation for herself, this entry doesn’t sugar coat her thoughts on how to “fight the social media epidemic and really live.”

I thank the heavens above that someone, somewhere, with the right amount of influence is addressing the issue that so many individuals are blatantly unaware of.

Our generation, and even those younger and older than us, has become a population of mindless scrollers. We sit and scroll through the portrayals of other people’s lives and not only forget we have our own to be living, but also the fact that they are just that- portrayals, not real life. When we aren’t gawking over other people’s false realities, we are spending vast amounts of time and energy contriving our own.

Perhaps one of the most moving sections of the website is the tab entitled “Behind the Image,” where Essena took some of her now deleted Instagram photos and edited the captions so that they reveal the truth behind what the pictures actually capture and represent. One selfie depicts her flawless, smiling face worthy of a magazine cover. One would expect some sort of irrelevant inspiring quote, but instead, Essena writes “I have acne here, this is a ton of makeup. I was smiling because I thought I looked good. Happiness based on aesthetics will suffocate your potential here on earth.”

I cannot deny that there is, without a doubt, a time and a place for social media. In today’s day and age, it is essential for promoting and maintaining businesses, organizations, and things of that sort. The world is so much more connected than it ever could have been without it; the technological advances made within the last 15 years are truly astounding. The problem lies much deeper in the way that we as individuals value it, use it, and subsequently waste our lives through it with idle self-promotion.

Why do we limit ourselves to viewing a false portrayal of life through a miniscule fluorescent screen, when we can breathe in the vast wonders the present moment has to offer? When did gaining approval and attention from others become a common, accepted and even promoted practice?

These are just a few of the questions that run through my mind when I think of social media. It was these exact questions that made me quit social media two years ago, sans Facebook for work, family, and staying in contact with friends, especially those I no longer see.

Although social media does its job of connecting us with others, it disconnects us as individuals from reality, and ultimately from ourselves. When we’re so busy submerging ourselves into other people’s “lives” who is left to live ours? At the end of the day, our current situation is really all that we have; that is what life is, and that is what’s worth our undivided attention, energy, and thought. Not some selfie Kylie Jenner posted. Not sacrificing our being in the moment of a concert to Snapchat it to all of our friends. We are a brainwashed generation, and I can only hope that Essena’s message will prove to be as powerful to the world as it needs to be.