Internet Celebrities

Their stories go like this:

Beginning- They begin posting either pictures or videos of their particular skill online, simply as a way of expressing themselves. They gain a small following which encourages them to further explore their talents and keep displaying them online.

Suddenly- Their fan base grows, and with that you notice their output increasing. They are now posting daily when they used to post weekly.

Then- The quality of what they produce drops, you notice that their style has faded and they seem to be pandering to a larger crowd.

Next- You find them pitching products in their pictures or videos that you don’t care to see. Their fan base keeps growing but they begin to lose your interest.

After that- You decide to stop watching them for a bit. Only to go back after an extended break to see what they have been doing. What you see looks more like a city billboard than an actual person. They have commercials before their videos, during their videos, and they drop brand names like it’s their job (because it is) and you feel sad that they sold out.

Finally- You either never hear about them again because they have quit due to the pressure they began to feel from fans or you begin seeing them in places besides the internet and you wonder if any of their current fans know how much better their original material produced was.

You may have been thinking of anyone in particular when reading that story. It is a very common one, especially with how easy it is to gain attention on the internet. There are many people who either change their art or give it up because the pressure has gotten to be too much.

One example of this case is the story of Essena O’Neil, who vanished from social media after gaining a massive following on Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and Tumblr. All of which she deleted due to the rising amount of pressure that she began to feel from her fans. After spending a while off the grid, she sent a long email to her fans explaining her departure. In it, she details how her celebrity lifestyle was taking over her real life. She began to abandon her old friends for ones she met through modeling. And how what she was beginning to post online she no longer felt was something she could call her own. Her entire life began to feel superficial. So she decided to walk away from it and has been happy ever since. She ends by encouraging anybody else who is feeling the same kind of pressure to take the path that she did.

You can find the link to her departure letter here. Thank you Kerrin for introducing me to her story.

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