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The Power of a Positive Influence: Debriefing Eli Rallo’s TEDxUofM Talk

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

I, like thousands of others, am a dutiful follower of Eli Rallo’s infamous “rules” as well as an avid TedTalk watcher. For those unaware, Eli is a TikTok influencer who has gained attention for the popularity of her “rules,” which range from “Rules for a Reputation Era” to “Rules for the ‘Talking Stage’’ to “Rules for Finding Joy for You.” She’s covered all the bases and amassed a cult following in doing so. In an ever-changing, inconsistent world, her rules provide much-needed structure and guidance for women. She never shies away from tough conversations, whether about sex, periods, body image, and social media, often providing parental type guidance on these somewhat “taboo” topics. 

This past month, Rallo gave a TedTalk at the TEDxUofM conference (timestamp: 3:31:50) on the complexities of social media and how her journey of reclaiming her social media platforms has led her to where she is today. I cannot possibly sum up her entire nuanced Talk into a few sentences (seriously, give it a listen, it’s incredible) but her entire talk and messages really resonated with me.

Rallo makes it abundantly clear that her relationship with social media has not always been positive, something a large percentage of her audience, myself included, can relate to. Staying true to her brand, she’s unafraid to share the raw truth about her struggles with binge eating and body dysmorphia, intense anxiety, and general unhappiness, all consequences of trying to maintain this “manicured” life we all feel pressured to maintain. We spend so much time curating our feeds to present this inauthentic lifestyle none of us truly lead. But Rallo is trying to change that. She posts whatever she wants, whenever she wants. A scroll through her Instagram, or any of her social media platforms, is refreshing. As someone who personally takes Instagram (especially captions) way too seriously, her captions bring a much-needed dosage of reality. For example, she captioned a post from her TEDTalk with, “Fun fact actually really really sad fact I wanted to bring my crystals on stage for protection purposes and good vibes but they didn’t fit in my pockets so I put them in my bra.”

Refreshingly, she doesn’t try to insinuate that social media isn’t toxic. She knows it is. She emphasizes that she knows Instagram pressures us to present a picture-perfect life and it’s hard to break that cycle. But she manages to take what can be a toxic platform and turns it around. In order to truly “win” at life and the game that social media has become, we need to stop playing for the wrong reasons. We’re never going to be truly happy if we continue to show up on these platforms for validation, approval, or reassurance that we appear. Rather, Rallo believes that first and foremost, we need to show up for ourselves. Truthfully, authentically, and unapologetically. Which is something I think all social media users could stand to hear.

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Natalie Szewczyk

U Mass Amherst '24

Natalie is currently a sophomore in the Honors College at UMass Amherst double majoring in Social Thought & Political Economy and Applied Mathematics. During the week she works as a Peer Advisor in the Bloom Honors Advising Center she's very passionate about environmentalism (and activism in general.) During her free time she enjoys hiking, playing the piano, drinking coffee, thrifting, and reading!