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Opinion & Editorial

Rethinking “Instafame”

The definition of “famous” has certainly expanded over the past few years. We’ve seen the rise of “YouTubers,” “Viners,” and now, even the “Instafamous.” The Internet forced huge change in the idea of fame, and who’s to say that this new brand of stardom is unhealthy? Well, Essena O’Neill, for one.

O’Neill is an Australian social media darling with over 500,000 followers on Instagram and 260,000 subscribers on YouTube. However, she has recently deleted numerous old photos and re-captioned many more in an effort to point out the harms of this new social media-driven celebrity culture.

Her decision to reveal the dark world of this new breed of starlets is a bold one.

Essena made a point of addressing that she had been paid to advertise for a number of companies whose clothing appeared in her photos, once and for all settling rumors about how people really survive off of social media fame.

What Essena says is her last ever YouTube video was posted on November 2, 2015. The video delves into how “fake it all is,” in reference to those who are famous within social media community.

In her final video, Essena breaks down and tells her audience about her experiences being ‘famous.’ “I had the ‘dream life.’” she says “I had half a million people interested in me on social media. To some people, I ‘made it.’ I was surrounded by all of this ‘power’ and yet I had never been more miserable. I want to tell you that having it all on social media means absolutely nothing in real life.”

I’m hopeful that Essena’s revelation will call attention to the problem that is “social media fame.” It seems downright silly that we’re focusing our attention on people who are living off of money made on posting pictures of themselves on the internet.

While some may argue that social media is a new and evolving art form, I think that this is the Kardashian Effect. We’re making people famous for doing nothing.

It’s important to differentiate between entertainment and art. Think about that the next time you scroll through Instagram or refresh Vine. Should people really be famous for posting things that, dare I say, anyone could have created?


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