Is social media actually bad?

Social Media

So I’m sure you’ve seen the Essena O’Neill carry on, her decision to close her YouTube and Instagram because in short, social media is a terrible thing.  I’m not sure if that was her intention, but that was very much the feeling I got from her video.  Mind you she now has a vimeo account and a blog.  So not entirely sure how much she has quit social media.   Anyway I thought I’d share my opinion on the whole “Social media is bad” and if there is a balance to be struck.

I am very much of the opinion that the problem more often than not lies between the computer and the be blunt, it’s the people that cause the problem.  I’ve watched a few of Essena’s videos and she comes across as quite an extreme person, there are no shades of grey, it’s all black and white.  She also seems to squarely lay the blame at the feet of social media.

As she was growing up – she’s now 19 – she would spend time comparing herself to models and the images that she seen online.  Then she spent her time striving to emulate what she seen, spending hours trying to capture the right image, starving herself to slim down.  You get the idea.  I think it’s quite sad and I actually pity her a bit.  I am lucky enough to have people in my life that would question my behaviour if I acted in the same way.  I wonder if I’d had the same compulsive tendencies and no one in my life to help guide me, would I have ended up the same way?  Maybe I was fortunate that I grew up without social media constantly in my face and influencing every part of my life.  Then again, I doubt I would’ve had time!  I was involved in a lot outside of school.  We will never know.

I think she has without doubt been influenced negatively by what she viewed online and possibly by peer pressure.  However, there were other images online that she could have viewed, there were other options available to her.  I spend a rather huge amount of time online, reading blogs, watching videos, scrolling through instagram and pinterest, you get the idea.  So it’s all in the content you consume frankly.  I use social media as an aspirational tool, I want to travel more so I watch travel vlogs.  I want to get some new ideas on fashion and style, so I watch style videos.  I want to improve my skills, so I watch videos on those.  I obviously also read a lot too on all of these topics.  I don’t feel the need to emulate them, I’m inspired by them and I come up with my own take on things.

She also highlighted sponsored post being placed on instagram and YouTube, including posts she herself posted.  She pointed out how terrible they were and that they had no soul or meaning.  So this is more about morals, there are already guidelines in place for advertising, she should have been honest about what she was posting.  I think she was attempting to make herself feel better at this point.  I think this is definitely more a case of having a strong moral code of ethics and being honest.

All in all, I think she had some good underlying points, we shouldn’t necessarily spend all our time on social media.  I think though that there is a balance.  The extremes rarely work.  Have balance in your life generally.  I don’t think she was right in blaming social media for her issues.  I think she should take responsibility for herself and her actions.  I find it amusing and a bit hypocritical that she now has a blog with a tab to sponsor her and pay her rent.  Then again, maybe I’m being cynical.

What do you think?  Did she have a point?   Is it all terrible?  Have you even heard about this whole Essena O’Neill kerfuffle?  You can check out the video below, I chat about it a bit more – if I typed up the same, this post would take about an hour to read!  Thankfully it condenses down to about 10mins of me chatting 🙂


2 thoughts on “Is social media actually bad?

  1. I just read about this the other day and I was so annoyed by it. On the one hand, she’s quite sad, but on the other, I feel she’s a huge hypocrite because she made thousands of dollars on social media without saying anything to anyone and now that she’s made enough and is ready to walk away, she’s slamming social media? I just think it’s all a bit self-indulgent and ridiculous. Yes, social media can be an ugly, fake thing if you let it, but that sounds more like a personal problem than one that the entire internet should be responsible for. And as much as she’s slamming social media, as you said, she’s still running a blog, YT channel, etc. If you really want to stand up for your beliefs and stop with social media, delete all of your accounts and get off the damn internet otherwise, in my opinion, she’s just using it as another ploy to make more money in a different niche. Complete BS.

    1. Very much agree. I think it’s some sort of stunt. I kind of feel sorry for her that she has no perspective or common sense. Maybe she’s not had good role models in her life to help guide her. Either way I think she’s shot herself in the foot a bit!

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