Over the past week you’ve more than likely seen the name Essena O’Neill on your newsfeed. She’s the social media star who’s quit social media. No more tumblr, Instagram, snapchat or youtube. Essena wants people to know the truth: that social media is not real life. She’s been making headlines for the very things she’s now speaking out against. Basically, she’s tired of being fake. Confessing to have often gone to extremes to get the perfect shot, and being paid to promote product with most of the photos being highly staged. This is the problem with social media, because what we see on social media skews our perception of normal. Seeing pictures of a “perfect” life is often met with envy. We think that what we are seeing is real, and it is causing us to obsess over someone, which isn’t healthy at all. Just because something is on social media doesn’t mean that it’s real life. Most of what we as viewers see is orchestrated, planned and produced. Marketing on social media is all smoke and mirror’s, but gives of the appearance of reality –one that’s effortless and perfect. Essena wants people to know that no one is perfect, what we see is often fabricated and far from being real as many of her posts were.
Many of us see a picture of a model looking off at the sunset on the beach while drinking a coconut and think #goals. However, the sad truth is that more than likely the girl is photo shopped, hates coconuts and probably took hours to get that one shot. “This” —“this inauthenticity” is exactly what Essena wants people to know about social media, that its unhealthy and destructive to our well-being. She’s come out and admitted to being fake, something we’ve all been guilty of doing at least once. Its easy to get caught up in the world of social media and the idea of a perfection that doesn’t exist. Social media stars have to sell themselves, selling the idea that what we are seeing is how they truly are. We as viewers see this and think it’s real, but it’s an illusion. What we don’t see is the true reality, the one behind the curtain. Often, when what we see seems too good to be true, and it usually is.