Video by Emily Verdouw
Social media stars and celebrities across the world have taken to their platforms to weigh in on Essena O’Neill’s campaign to expose the “contrived” world of social media, which went viral this week.
The 18-year-old from Queensland appeared on Channel Nine’s Today Show on Wednesday morning saying she had no idea her campaign would attract so much media attention while hitting back at claims she was only out to get more followers.
O’Neill’s declaration of social media being “fake” has upset some fellow social media influencers -- who say she is still self-promoting on social media -- despite claiming she is against it. However, for the most part reactions have been positive.
Australian fitness guru Kayla Itsines, who has over 3 million followers, used it as an opportunity to reiterate she would never promote a product she didn’t believe in while showing her support of O'Neill's message, "Social Media Is Not Real Life."
“I would NEVER sexualise myself or pose provocatively to sell anything,” Itsines wrote.
I would like to touch on this recent 'Social Media is not real life' article. Three weeks ago, I made a post explaining "a side of social media that you don't see". What it REALLY takes. I explained that it's not as simple as posting a few photos of beautiful food, new clothes, luxury items (whatever celebrities post) and 💥BAM💥, life is amazing. On my account, I'll tell you now, you don't see a lot of things. Not because I don't want to show you, because I cannot physically take a photo of them. Things like... the 5 am wake ups, the late nights, the constant bullying, the lack of support and understanding of friends, the stress.... and so much more 💛 When I began my Instagram I had 3 things I would never do - and I still haven't done. 1️⃣ I would NEVER promote something I didn't believe in (detox, fads, quick fixes), and I still refuse 2️⃣ I would NEVER sexualise myself or pose provocatively to sell anything.3️⃣ I would never only post information that suits my lifestyle. (For example, I don't really enjoy eating mushrooms, but I would never tell YOU not to eat them if they're good for you). I don't recommend you eat one certain way, I recommend you eat HEALTHY, and in which way you choose to do that, is completely up to you, so I like to provide information that suits all lifestyle preferences. If you are healthy and fit, I'm happy!!💛 What I'm trying to say is that I want you ladies to be YOU. I want you to be the REAL YOU. My life, my food, my family ...isn't YOUR life, everyone is different. I post these transformations to show you there are SOOOO many girls out there on so many different journeys. All with one goal, to be happy, healthy and fit! Don't strive to live like, or be like, one person on social media. Create your own self. Be honest. Stick to your morals .. and always try and be the BEST person you can be. www.kaylaitsines.com/guides
While Los Angeles Youtube duo Nina and Randa took aim at the Australian teen on their Youtube channel, posting a scathing video which went into detail of their experience with O’Neill, who they claim they befriended when she visited them in Los Angeles.
“Just because she views likes and views as validation, doesn’t mean that the rest of us are like that,” they said.
Actor, Emmy Rossum also weighed in, telling her followers to Google O’Neill’s video if they hadn’t already seen it.
“Numbers are nice but they aren't everything,” Rossum wrote.
Aaaaaah! We just hit 1m! 😸🎂🎈🎆🎉 I love sharing with you on here and I DIG IT when you share with me. Here is a collage of some of your posts to say thank you... ALSO I am getting a sweet SURPRISE ready for you guys later on today... Stay tuned! :) PS: Numbers are nice but they aren't everything. I'm reminded of #essenaoneill and the touching video I watched of hers last night. Google it and watch it if you haven't seen it.
Vegan Instagrammer Taline Gabriel, who has more than 200, 000 followers, defended the use of social media in her post, saying: “I continue to use it (Instagram) to offer health to the world in way of recipes and inspiration.”
“But that's just me and my own personal choice. You clearly have a choice to use it in whichever way you want. It's your business and you are in charge," she wrote.
In the midst of social media discussions and the obvious 'essena effect' which has made a significant impact on social media use (particularly vegan), I reflect on the purpose of IG and why I'm still here 2 years on. I made a choice early on to not use social media for self promotion. I wasn't in on using it to display unrealistic ideals and false hope. Let's face it, most people put out what they want you to see. I didn't want it to be about me, my personal life, my possessions, my world. I chose to use IG to create healthy change. It was about empowering you to make the healthy choice. I continue to use it to offer health to the world in way of recipes and inspiration. But that's just me and my own personal choice. You clearly have a choice to use it in whichever way you want. It's your business and you are in charge. But do yourself a favour. Don't get caught up in the fake reality that is often portrayed - the facade, the filtered images and unrealistic goals. Open your mind, use critical thinking and follow your intuition. If you see images that look too good to be true, it probably is. This space is incredibly useful. We can use it to connect across borders and to ultimately create change that matters. Let's aim for balance, for moderation. Look outside for inspiration but look INSIDE to find your true happiness. That's the only place you'll find it. ✨ #realtalk #getreal #hippielane