To some it’s just another deleted Instagram account and nothing to fuss over -- but to others it’s a statement about the harsh reality of social media fame.
Essena O’Neill, an 18-year-old Australian online star, has announced that she is quitting social media for good despite having more than half a million followers on Instagram, a staggering 200,000 on YouTube and Tumblr, as well as 60,000 on Snapchat.
“I’m quitting Instagram, YouTube and Tumblr. Deleted over 2000 photos here today that served no real purpose other than self promotion. Without realising, I’ve spent majority of my teenage life being addicted to social media, social approval, social status and my physical appearance,” she wrote in an Oct. 27 Instagram post “Social media, especially how I used it, isn’t real. It’s contrived images and edited clips ranked against each other. It’s a system based on social approval, likes, validation in views, success in followers. It’s perfectly orchestrated self absorbed judgement. I was consumed by it.”
The teen -- who also posted a now YouTube video explaining her decision -- said she was living what seemed like a “perfect” life on social media, but was far from. Her goal? To take a stand against the destructive ideals social media can create.
O’Neill’s video came after her decision to delete about 2,000 Instagram photos and rename her account “Social Media Is Not Real Life.” She kept some photos, however, editing the captions to reflect what was really going on behind the scenes and what she was feeling as those seemingly perfect snapshots were captured.
“I had acne here, this is a lot of makeup. I was smiling because I thought I looked good,” she captioned in one photo that shows her smiling, with a seemingly blemish-free profile. “Happiness based on aesthetics will suffocate your potential here on earth.”
The posts are all gone after O'Neill deleted them.
Time reports that O’Neill has launched her own website called Let’s Be Game Changers, “where she hopes to continue to educate people about the destructive nature of trying to gain approval online.”