Australia Instagram star Essena O’Neill quits ‘unhealthy’ social media

This screengrab shows popular Instagram user Essena O'Neill

Excerpt from this article:

A teenage Instagram star has made an emotional statement about the dark side of social media, editing the captions of her own pictures saying they were artificial and self-promoting.

With more than 500,000 followers on Instagram, Australian Essena O’Neill, 18, earned an income from social media. She became a social media celebrity through posting images of her apparently picture perfect lifestyle. She now says it left her feeling empty and addicted to social media likes.

“I’ve also spent hours watching perfect girls online, wishing I was them. When I became ‘one of them’, I still wasn’t happy, content or at peace with myself.”

She said she was re-editing captions on the remaining photos hosted on her Instagram account to reveal “manipulation, mundanity and insecurity”.

Advertisements

Barbie Has a Hipster, Instagram-Loving Alter Ego

Image from @SocalityBarbie

Excerpt from this article, and also see this other article on the same topic:

Socality Barbie pokes fun at all those insufferable people on your feed who can’t help but post a highly stylized shot of their artfully foamed cappuccino. The staged photos emerge from all sorts of photogenic scenarios—camping, heading off on a road trip, jumping in front of the sunset on a beach. Posts are usually accompanied by captions punctuated with a “blessed” hashtag.

Teenagers Leading Happy, Connected Lives Online

Illustration by Abigail Gray Swartz

Excerpt from this article, which looks at this latest report from Pew Research:

Where is the doom and gloom?

A new report on “Teens, Technology and Friendships” from the Pew Foundation puts an unusually positive spotlight on the online lives of teenagers as they build friendships and connections in a digital world. Teenagers aged 13 to17 are finding ways to strengthen their relationships with real-world friends as well as making new friends through social media, video gaming, messaging apps and other virtual connectors.

“This does challenge some of the traditional zeitgeist we have around youth and media,” said Amanda Lenhart, associate director of research at the Pew Research Center and the lead author of the report. “Adults have tended to see time online for teenagers as this frivolous, time-wasting thing that’s just entertainment. But what we found is that it’s crucial for teenagers in forming and maintaining these really important relationships in their lives.”

Crucial, in part, because “hanging out” in the digital realm may be more accessible for many teenagers than hanging out in the real world.

Campus Suicide and the Pressure of Perfection

Excerpt from this article:

Classmates seemed to have it all together. Every morning, the administration sent out an email blast highlighting faculty and student accomplishments. Some women attended class wearing full makeup. Ms. DeWitt had acne. They talked about their fantastic internships. She was still focused on the week’s homework. Friends’ lives, as told through selfies, showed them having more fun, making more friends and going to better parties. Even the meals they posted to Instagram looked more delicious.

In 2003, Duke jolted academe with a report describing how its female students felt pressure to be “effortlessly perfect”: smart, accomplished, fit, beautiful and popular, all without visible effort. At Stanford, it’s called the Duck Syndrome. A duck appears to glide calmly across the water, while beneath the surface it frantically, relentlessly paddles.

“Nobody wants to be the one who is struggling while everyone else is doing great,” said KahaariKenyatta, a Penn senior who once worked as an orientation counselor. “Despite whatever’s going on — if you’re stressed, a bit depressed, if you’re overwhelmed — you want to put up this positive front.”

Citing a “perception that one has to be perfect in every academic, cocurricular and social endeavor,” the task force report described how students feel enormous pressure that “can manifest as demoralization, alienation or conditions like anxiety or depression.”

In the era of social media, such comparisons take place on a screen with carefully curated depictions that don’t provide the full picture. Mobile devices escalate the comparisons from occasional to nearly constant.

Winning the Breakup in the Age of Instagram

Excerpt from this article:

“Winning the breakup” may be a petty concept, but everyone who exits relationships regularly (or maybe just exited one very memorably) knows exactly what it means. The winner is the ex whose career skyrockets after the split; whose new wife is a ­supermodel; who looks better; who dates better; who has bouncier hair. It’s getting over your ex before she gets over you and leading a demonstratively successful life without her — but doing so in ways that at least look casual, just for yourself, definitely not just to rub it in her face, because you’re so over her, remember? And therein lies the Catch-22 of winning the breakup: To care about winning, you are forced to care about not caring about someone. Asked about her weekend plans, my 26-year-old friend Sam once replied, “I’m assembling a team of hotties to torture my ex on Instagram.”

…“You’re familiar with the term success theater?” Sam asked when I brought the topic back up. The term gets tossed around the tech start-up world to describe the difference between presenting the image of a successful-sounding company and actually running one (tech reporter Jenna Wortham has used it to describe the act of showing off on social media).

…Placed on the Kübler-Ross scale of loss and grief, “trying to win him back” might be aligned with stage one, “denial.” Whereas “trying to win the breakup” could be an expression of stage two, “anger.” (How dare you stop loving a girl who looks this good in a bikini?!) Or stage three, “bargaining.” (If I look good enough in a bikini, someone will love me.) And though neither attitude seems particularly healthy, the masquerade does have a certain “fake it till you make it” quality. In the success theater of breakup grief, “winning” is about reaching stage five, “acceptance,” before your partner does. Even if you’re going on Instagrammable dates just to spite your ex, ultimately you are still, you know, going on dates. You’re dragging yourself out of bed, brushing your hair, and putting your freakum dress on.

An Open Letter to People Who Take Pictures of Food With Instagram

McSweeney’s

Excerpt from this satirical letter on McSweeney’s:

Dear People Who Take Pictures of Food With Instagram,

Just because the picture looks artsy doesn’t mean you are. I get it. We all went through our creative, experimental stages. There is a period in all of our lives where we think we can probably make money off our pseudo-artistic talent of choice. And now, you think you are a photographer because Instagram does the work for you. Do you have to focus anything? Do you have to worry about lighting? Do you have to think at all? Not really. You are part of a fast growing legion of people that have been duped into believing they are visionaries, auteurs, even.

…You proceed to take various angled shots of the avocado being sliced, the blueberries getting washed, and your bearded boyfriend plucking feathers from the partridges because the Farmer’s Market only sold them with feathers, because plucking out the feathers themselves would be too mean and they’re the nice kind of farmers who kill with love. And now that your meal looks professional and Alexandra Gaurnaschelli would approve of it (but Scott Conant would totally get the one piece of undercooked bird) there is a great final product shot taken, complete with two Coronas because you were feeling summery. “Ah, the good life,” you caption, wanting me to be simultaneously awed and intimidated by your domesticity. “This looks awesome! Wow!! You two are so cute!!!” writes jealous girl between drafts of her latest Game of Thrones fan fiction. That’s when you know you’ve done it: you are officially the greatest woman on the entire planet.

…I think it’s best, especially in the interest of honesty and my mounting rage, to tell you that no, no, I really, truly, absolutely, do not care about you or your food. I don’t. Sorry.

I Am Not My Internet Personality, and You Probably Aren’t Yours, Either.

Photo: Heide Benser/Corbis

Excerpt from this article:

It is part of the modern condition to pose and posture online, and it can be very fun to make fun of the various ways in which people make asses of themselves. But the unfiltered nature and open playing field of social media make it easy to forget that it’s all a performance. In person, Michael was great! Really and truly. His terrible use of social media was part deliberate schtick and part stone-cold, childlike buffoonery, but it was all very lovable.

…The gap between public and private personae used to be the exclusive concern of entertainers, but now anybody who wants to can live Martin. Plenty of prestige bloggery has been devoted to analyzing the phenomenon of “social-media happiness fraud,” which we’ve somehow elevated to Russian-novel levels of agony: Those people posing in bikinis? Don’t feel too envious of them, we’ve been told, for they are dead inside, too.

The ability to “research” people this way has already been catastrophic for casual dating, as we’ve all been forced to reduce other human beings to a series of forensic clues so as not to be murdered or have a boring two hours at a restaurant. While certainly expedient, the newish convention of deciding whether you like somebody before you have ever been in their physical presence is both depressing and a teensy bit unfair. Doing it to people we are already in actual relationships with is bananas and horrible. I’ve had to defend friends to the friends I’m trying to set them up with by saying things like “She’s not like this in person.” It is possible to excessively photograph your cat and be lovely to spend time with. It would be cool if we could just maybe start giving people the benefit of the doubt on this.