Insta Life

by - November 10, 2015

 Last week a famous Instagram star, Essena O'Neill, 'outted' people on Instagram for being, what she says, fake. She talked about how some people can get paid anywhere from $100 to a $1,000+ to post photos for companies and that means they are deceiving you. That them being paid for promoting these companies is making them totally fake. While that is true, the payment part, she's saying these people are unhappy, fake, depressed, miserable, etc. and for most people I have seen talk about this, that isn't true. If you watch videos her friends have posted, they even say they are not depressed nor are these people who she vaguely talks about.
 Yes, people get paid for posting photos on Instagram whether that be in actual money or free products, but not everyone is doing it just for the money/products. Not everyone who is promoting is depressed or miserable with their life or self. Yes, I have gotten paid money to promote things, but I'm not just promoting anything and everything on my Instagram or blog. I promote things I like or have an actual interest in or just think is fun but still relevant. It's a job some people have, just like some of your favorite Youtubers have promoted things or reviewed things in the past and present, people on Instagram do it too. Or your favourite models who promote fashion on the runway, some people use Instagram as their runway. Yes, I sometimes get overwhelmed by the amount of things I have lined up to promote, but I'm not miserable because of that. I'm overwhelmed because I don't want to spam my followers with things I promote, I don't want my Instagram to only be advertisements. And I feel bad if someone is annoyed by a post I make advertising a product, but it's my Instagram, I'm allowed to make a post advertising things I enjoy or like or support.
 Essena also talked about how fame hungry she was, always wanting more followers, more likes, more this and more that. That wanting these views, followers, and likes made her feel validated. Her need to feel validated was what she was striving for and that made her miserable. But that's how she felt, she said the only time she felt better about herself was when she got more. That is not how I personally feel about Instagram at all, I am not on Instagram posting photos of myself to feel validated by likes or comments. Would it be cool to hit 500k followers? Of course it would be cool but if I never do, that's fine. I never started Instagram thinking "I could get a bunch of money for this" or "I could be famous for this". I started it because my uncle told me about this cool app on Christmas almost 5 years ago, so I downloaded it and posted a photo of my grandma's lamp. That photo is long gone by now and so is that lamp most likely. I didn't expect 40,000 followers let alone more than 60, but it happened and I am grateful. I didn't think anyone but I would read this blog, but now people over in Australia and Russia are reading my blog. Am I happy because people are reading what I'm writing, looking at my photography or silly little selfies I put on Instagram? Yes I am, but it's not because I feel the need to be validated by these likes or views.
 Essena also talks about how people edit their life on Instagram and that's why they are fake, or at least part of the reason. My opinion on that is of course they do, no one is going to post a selfie where they're mid-cry because their goldfish died. I even have bad days where I don't even get out of my sweatpants or sleep shirt but I'll post a throwback photo of me on the beach. And If I'm out with my friends, like at Bunbury months ago, yes I'll take a photo and post it. But I'm not only going to Bunbury to take videos and post photos to show off. Nor am I watching the concert through my phone screen and ignoring the world around me. I'm posting a photo to document this amazing festival that I didn't think I'd be able to go to! I'm documenting my life in little ways, and sharing them on Instagram. She decided what she posted on her Instagram and after a couple years didn't like it at all. It's like with your bedroom as you get older; when you're 13 you have band posters plastered everywhere. But when you're 18 you have blank walls and minimal furniture.
 What I'm trying to say here is that yes, people get paid to promote things on Instagram, I am one of them. No I do not just promote anything for the money, I promote things I enjoy or support a good cause. No I am not fame hungry, unhappy, fake, depressed, miserable, etc. I am happy for the most part, and any part of me that is unhappy does not have to do with Instagram validation. Yes I edit my Instagram but not in any way Essena is saying every promotional Instagramer does, which many do not if you see what they're saying. Yes I have yelled at my sister for not taking the photo the way I like, and 99% of the time it's because she can't sit still for two seconds to take a non-blurry photo, just ask my dad about our vacation photos. Yes I take photos while I'm out with friends, but my social anxiety doesn't allow me to capture as many moments as I wish I had to remember it all. Overall, Essena is still on social media and still being paid, just not mainstream forms or by brands. She is being paid by her followers and we all know some fans of people would give a kidney to their inspirations if they could. Many people see it as a huge self-promotional stunt and to be honest, it doesn't seem like they are wrong. I get her message and I get what she's saying, but it just doesn't make sense with a lot of her actions. But being paid to post on social media to model off a product isn't very different than modeling clothes from Macy's in a commercial on tv, or perfume ad in Vogue. So why is posting an ad on Instagram fake?
 To Essena, if you happen to stumble upon this mess of words, I just want you to know that I hope you find what you're looking for in life. I understand your message and what you were getting at, but you seemed to have attacked so many people in the process, including your friends who let you couch hop while you were loving it in LA. As well as people you don't know, like me, who enjoy their life on social media and aren't completely absorbed by it. You signed up for Instagram and you could have logged out whenever, but you decided to do it now instead of years ago, that was your choice and that's your choice to make. We're about the same age, you're only a couple months older, so I know how hard it is to feel comfortable in your own skin at such a young age or any age in society today. I was bullied by people for years for absolutely no reason other than being myself, so searching for validation is something I understand. You found it in Instagram for a couple years, but it made you miserable in the end because you were just striving to increase the numbers of followers/likes/views that you had. But I didn't so don't 'shame' me for enjoying my life that involves Instagram. But again, I hope that whatever you are doing makes you happy now because in the end it's your life, you can make any choices you want to make.
 I on the other hand will continue to blog my feelings, adventures, and things I enjoy. I will continue to post pictures on Instagram like I do on Facebook or Tumblr. I will continue to be happy while I paint my ass off to try to get into like the best art school in America. And if promoting things here and there will help pay that future tuition of mine then I will, as long as it is a company I can actually put my name behind. I will never promote anything I disagree with, that's what I said for modeling years ago was that if I do, I will not do certain things. I'm no where near the 500k she had, or the 800k she had before deleting after announcing she's leaving, but I still do some of what she did. But Essena is one person with one result that has been taken into overdrive and had explode into the world. Don't take her one experience and force it on everyone.

A photo from an Instagram photoshoot I did at the local waterpark. After maybe 15 minutes of taking photos my sister, mother, and I enjoyed the rest of our time there. The whole day wasn't about taking photos to promote this bathing suit, it was just a good time to take cool photos. We didn't go to the waterpark for the purpose of taking photos, we went to enjoy summer. And, in fact, I am makeup-less in this photo with frizzy hair. I didn't put on pounds of makeup to make this the "perfect" photo.
Bikini from Brakinis

*Great videos to watch concerning this Instagram "fakeness" and Essena O'Neill.
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