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Life lived on social media takes its toll

Before deleting her Instagram account, 19-year-old Essena O'Neill edited some of her posts to reveal the truth. Many of them, she told her 600,000 followers, were paid posts. Her "candid" shots were the result of dozens of carefully orchestrated shoo
Before deleting her Instagram account, 19-year-old Essena O'Neill edited some of her posts to reveal the truth. Many of them, she told her 600,000 followers, were paid posts. Her "candid" shots were the result of dozens of carefully orchestrated shoots.PHOTO: ESSENA O'NEILL
Starbucks barista Katie Wyble taking an order from deaf customer Rebecca King using sign language via a two-way video screen.
Starbucks barista Katie Wyble taking an order from deaf customer Rebecca King using sign language via a two-way video screen.PHOTO: REBECCA KING/FACEBOOK

Aussie teen ends social media career after telling followers that she was addicted to social approval and felt miserable

Australian Essena O'Neill set tongues wagging earlier this week when she publicly gave up her social media career.

Before deleting her Instagram account, the 19-year-old edited some of her posts to reveal the truth behind her photos.

Many of them, she announced to her 600,000 followers, were paid posts. Her "candid" shots were the result of dozens of carefully orchestrated shoots and "not real life", she said.

"Stomach sucked in, strategic pose, pushed up boobs," one caption read. "I could make $2,000 AUD easy," said another.

Despite earning a sizeable sum, Ms O'Neill said she felt miserable as she was addicted to social approval.

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    #MILLIONMASKMARCH

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    A Facebook page for the event read: "The police are not your friends, they're simply a 'friendly face' who collect intelligence." There have been several casualties and dozens have been arrested.

She gave up her YouTube, Instagram and Tumblr accounts, but opened a channel on video site Vimeo.

She also started a website to encourage young people to give up social media. "I want to tell you that having it all on social media means absolutely nothing to your real life," she said.

Her confessions have drawn the praise of many observers. But there were also other social media influencers who condemned her actions, and those who rushed in to defend their reputations.

Fellow Australian Gabrielle Grace Epstein, who has close to 900,000 followers, said: "Of course, Instagram isn't real life. Everyone, myself included, chooses the highlight reel of their life to present on social media. However, that doesn't mean I have ever pretended to be someone that I am not on Instagram."

Some bloggers have gone as far as to claim Ms O'Neill's latest antics were part of an elaborate plan to gain even more fame.

Ms Jessica Grossman, a digital marketer who underwent ostomy surgery after getting diagnosed with Crohn's Disease as a child, also took issue with Ms O'Neill's over-generalisation of social media ills.

"As someone who is using social media as a vehicle for awareness, education, and to prove that an ostomy won't stop me, I can wholeheartedly say that there are people out there using social media for what it's meant to be used for - to send a message," she said.

BAD CREDIT

An errant social media post could lead to embarrassment or worse, get you fired from your job. But what if your online updates also affected how much you could borrow from the bank?

Credit rating companies in the US are reportedly looking at social media posts to determine a consumer's credit worthiness.

Some of the keywords they look for in your feed include "trashed", "drunk" or "wasted".

They also look at what type of friends you have, and the locations you check in at. Risky places like casinos, for instance, may not bode well for your future purchases.

A SIGN OF THE TIMES

A video of a Starbucks barista taking orders from a deaf customer using sign language has gone viral.

The 1.5-minute video shows customer Rebecca King at a drive-through kiosk in Florida.

Unable to communicate her order, Ms King drew the attention of barista Katie Wyble, who promptly appeared via a two-way video screen to take down the order in a fuss-free manner.

"So for those who know I use sign language, know how much I love the language and how excited I was when I got to use the screen at work," said Ms Wyble on her Facebook page.

The video was uploaded by Ms King last Wednesday with the caption: "Share it away! We can change the world!"

It has been viewed about 9.5 million times.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 08, 2015, with the headline 'Life lived on social media takes its toll'. Print Edition | Subscribe