Thursday, 5 November 2015

Homework Response to Essena O'Neill

This week I had to do a homework assignment responding to something that I essentially disagree with and explaining my own perspective on the topic at hand. This is known as 'forwarding' - if you want to look it up as I explained it terribly. It was an ungraded assignment, so it was fairly short and sweet, but I found the article I chose to 'forward' very interesting and something I feel quite strongly about. 

Unless you have been living under a rock for this past week I'm sure you've heard of Essena O'Neill; the 18 year old social media star who has decided to quit social media due to the false facade she was portraying of herself. O'Neill claims that she was miserable, and this being the case shows that her decision to rid her life of her unhealthy relationship with social media is a positive one and will hopefully improve her life and make her much happier. However, what this incident has done is highlight so many negatives of social media. These negatives are of course valid but there are so many positives that are often pushed aside because of people having experiences such as O'Neill. 

Anyway, the main purpose of this post is so share my homework response, not continue to comment on the issue. So here it is (bare in mind this is an ungraded assignment so I did not slave away on it, don't be mean pls) - 

In her article ‘Essena O'Neill quits Instagram claiming social media 'is not real life’' in ‘The Guardian’, Elle Hunt reports the viral story of Essena O’Neill quitting Instagram and other social media. In my opinion, one cannot dispute O’Neill’s argument, and I think that her experience with social media is that of so many users. However, definitely not of all users, making it unfair and incorrect of her to be so definitive in her argument and perspective. 

I see Essena O’Neill’s falsity and facade in her social media as her own choice. Perhaps pressure was created by her agency and management - when she was signed , and perhaps even her followers, but her presence on social media began on her own accord. Therefore, it was her that established this nature in her online facade. Hunt’s article comments on O’Neill’s earnings that came from product placement in stating that she ‘made an income from marketing products’ on Instagram. This act of business through social media would of course create falsity in any online account, as it is her internet person telling her followers about products she ‘loves’, not her true character giving her actual opinion. This would create a lack of honesty in her relationship with her followers and the way she views her own relationship with social media. So many people on social media do not have management that are getting them jobs in product placement, so it would not be correct to compare the average persons social media experience with that of Essena O’Neill’s. 

With these negative aspects being considered, it is vital to not dispute the positives of social media. I absolutely love social media, and I particularly love Instagram. The social media app which O’Neill focuses on as having the most negative effect on her life. I see it as crucial to document things that occur in my life, not only to share with my family and friends - particularly now that I have moved to another country for college - but also to document my life to look back on myself. I am so happy that I have always been so present on social media, and that I can get a real insight into what my younger was interested in and loved and hated. It may seem trivial to some, but I think it is so important to archive these memories and in such a technologically advanced age, I see social media as the perfect way to do this. 

In addition to this positive of social media, O’Neill’s statements are also dismissive of people that are making their living online. There are so many content creators, such a film makers, photographers and many more, that use social media as their main platform for sharing their art. As a result of this, social media can become the main way that they get recognition for their work, through people liking, commenting and sharing it but also through payment. This can allow so many people to make a living through their passion, and not have to get a job on the side to fund their dream job.
Social media can have a very negative effect on people’s lives. It can cause insecurities and a need for constant reassurance through likes and comments and shares, and this is what caused O’Neill to make her decision to rid her life of social media. Yet, this is definitely not the case for everyone and this incident should not continue social media’s typical negative image. I have a very positive view and relationship with social media; and although Hunt’s article focuses on O’Neill’s perspectives, she does comment on a more positive side of social media in her article. This is done through the example of Bonny Rebecca. Rebecca has a similar stance in the world of social media as O’Neill had, but her relationship is completely opposing; showing that the experience of such a presence online can be a happy and healthy one. 


  1. I think social media is an amazing invention, although any means of displaying one's self is always going to lead to insecurity. The purpose of these galleries may be to document our lives, but the reason they constitute of factors such as followers and likes is because they're also meant to share with people. Of course people are going to be fake and compare and feel judged, but the fact is that we're still sharing, and that's beautiful. I do personally feel many insecurities and unhealthy obsessions when it comes to social media, but I guess I don't have the strength Essena had in deleting her account. I think the real strength to have would be to not let this obsessiveness and comparing overtake you, and instead enjoy the prospect of sharing and being in the know.

    The Life of Little Me

  2. I couldn't agree more Ruby!
    Jade xo