Socality Barbie: “Waking up at 10am was so worth it to get that perfect light and fog”. Photo: Instagram
There’s no evidence that Essena O’Neill knows Darby Cisneros. But the two were meant for each other.
Both young women together have almost 2 million Instagram followers, and both have grabbed headlines for quitting social media this week, for very different, but closely related, reasons.
O’Neill, a Queensland model, renamed her account “Social Media is Not Real Life”, recaptioned many of her pictures to reveal the trouble and pain behind them, then deleted her account altogether.
Essena O’Neill Photo: Instagram
Cisneros is an anti-hipster hipster photographer from Portland, Oregon, who gained 1.3 million followers by skewering social media profiles just like O’Neill’s, then quit because she said her “work here is done”.
Her satirical “Socality Barbie” Instagram account shot to stardom this year after being profiled on wired.com. Her specialty was perfectly posed, self-consciously “authentic” adventure selfies featuring a hipster Barbie whom, it turns out, she looks like, a bit.
She identified herself in her final post.
In one post, Socality Barbie is standing tousle-haired on a beach, wrapped in a blanket. In another, she appears to be hard at work on chapter three of her guide to life: “How to wear a blanket”.
In one, she is standing on the edge of a lake with the caption, “Hope your weekend is as beautiful as mine.”
In another, she is sitting barefoot on the sand, posting, “Drove to the beach for the day to relax and Instagram. So blessed to have good cellphone service all the way out here.”
In her last post, Cisneros said, “I started SB as a way to poke fun at all the Instagram trends that I thought were ridiculous.”
She said it had given rise to “a lot of great discussions such as: how we choose to present ourselves online, the insane lengths many of us go to to create the perfect Instagram life, and calling into question our authenticity and motives”.
As wired.com wrote, “Her sharp wit and pitch-perfect satire resonated with viewers, even if some of them didn’t always get the joke – or realise they were the butt of it.”
The almost simultaneous “resignation” from Instagram of O’Neill, whose account featured carefully posed but apparently “natural” posts for which, she revealed this week, she was paid to promote clothing, is coincidental.
Some former friends said O’Neill’s viral YouTube video, in which she described how she decided to quit social media because it promoted an image of life that was “fake”, was a hoax aimed at gaining her more followers.
She has since deleted her Instagram and YouTube accounts, and appears now to be focused on a website “letsbegamechangers.com“.
It features a video, “Let’s talk about something more important than me, please?”
She nominated “conversations on transparency online, minimise the celebrity culture, promote veganism, plant based nutrition, environmental awareness, social issues, gender equality, controversial art”, among her aims.