My Thoughts on Essena O’ Neill: Is Social Media Truly Evil?

Over the last week, a video by Instagram model, Essena O’Neill announcing that she’s completely quitting social media has gone completely viral.

In the video, she discusses very passionately and emotionally about how her “dream life” is nothing but “contrived” and perfectly designed to appear perfect.

I feel for the poor girl. I really, really do. I understand where she’s coming from when she says that social media can be quite fake at times. I do agree with some of the things she said but I don’t think it’s fair to demonise social media the way she did.

There are good and bad things about it. But honestly speaking, the bad stuff speaks more about my own insecurities rather than proving that social media is evil.

I once wrote a post about how I find social media to be poisonous to me personally as I’m a generally very insecure individual when it comes to my “achievements”. Family and close friends have brought up time and time again about how I’m too hard on myself which has resulted in a really low self-esteem. Which is why when I see narcissistic posts where people brag about their so-called “perfect” lives, I can get quite affected by it as my brain stops working and my insecurities take over.

I work extensively with social media so I can see it can be used to spread awareness, good messages of positivity and just help people stay in touch with one another. There’s a world of potential with social media and how it can be used in a business context which fascinates me so much. It’s nuts how truly engaging it allows users to be with brands and other people. So, no. Social media is not evil.

But obviously, some people do misuse it and just come across as negative or overtly arrogant or just idiotic. There’s a caveat for everything and I think it’s important to acknowledge and recognise that.

Essena looks as though she has some personal issues to deal with that has resulted in her very drastic reaction to her quitting social media. Some people have been quite critical of her, but I can sympathise as I can relate.

I guess I’m just trying to be compassionate and not judge this girl for doing something she believes is the right thing for her personally. It’s not right for others to criticise her either and attack her saying that she’s an extremist, misled, mistaken or just being stupid.

It’s a very unfair thing to say when we don’t know her personally.

But it’s also important to realise that her decision and her words about social media is her opinion.

It is not the be all end all. It is merely the thoughts of a young girl who is clearly struggling with something on a deeper level. Some of her decisions when it came to social media such as promoting sponsored items she did not personally support or hurting her body by starving to get a good picture is not the right behaviour. But as human beings capable of being compassionate, we should also reserve judgement and accept that the situation is what it is.

I can’t see how condemning a young girl for her thoughts is the right thing to do.

We can dispute her claims and do so in a rational manner without slamming her character. Unless she’s done something completely evil, I think it’s the least we can do as fellow human beings to disprove her theory that social media is 100% contrived and fake.


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