In this day and age, so much of what we do revolves around social media, whether we like to think so or not. Admit it: Many of the decisions we make on a daily basis, such as the clothes we wear, the food we eat and the places we go, revolve around taking a shot worthy of posting to Instagram. While social media enriches our lives in many ways, there is often an immense pressure that comes with presenting oneself online, especially on an app like Instagram where users tend to post cropped, edited, out-of-context photos that hardly depict the reality of their lives.
Not all Instagram accounts are dedicated to portraying this perfect version of reality, however. Within the past year, a new Instagram trend has emerged that encourages users to show their true colors online, no filter needed. Meet the finsta.
Finstas, or fake Instagrams, are accounts that many Instagram users create to supplement their main accounts. While content varies, many account holders use their finstas to post photos and captions that wouldn’t be considered socially acceptable for their real Instagram accounts, or “rinstas.”
Tisch freshman Eliana Theologides-Rodriguez typically uses her finsta to post content she only wants to share with a select few. “I like to post memes and embarrassing photos of myself, things that I know will make my friends laugh but I definitely wouldn’t want the whole world to see,” she said.
In addition to sharing posts to amuse her friends, Theologides-Rodriguez views her finsta as a sort of photo diary of her day-to-day life. “I like that a finsta is something that you can refer back to,” she said. “It’s fun to scroll through and remember the weird and funny things you were doing or feeling at a certain time.”
One of the main differences between finstas and rinstas is who users allow to follow the respective accounts. While one has every right to deny someone access to either account, many people choose to let acquaintances and strangers alike follow their main Instagram accounts. On the contrary, the majority of finstagrammers only let their closest friends follow these accounts.
CAS sophomore Nidia Corona-Gonzalez has more than 500 followers on her rinsta, but only allows 20 close friends to follow her finsta. “I feel comfortable with everyone on my finsta, so I feel like I can be myself with whatever I post,” she said.
Another reason that finstas are becoming increasingly popular is because they allow users to share photos and communicate with friends without experiencing the pressure to be popular on social media. Corona-Gonzalez said that a finsta is “a place where you can post whatever you want, uncensored, without worrying about how many ‘likes’ you get.”
Although Instagram started as a place to simply share photos with friends, the common desire to get followers and “likes” by the hundreds is only becoming more intense. In a sense, the concept of a “finsta” is reminiscent of social media in its purest form, barring the anxieties, however trivial, that social media nowadays tends to bring.
While it’s true that presenting oneself online can be a source of stress, social media is certainly not all bad. In fact, social media platforms can be a great place to connect with others, express your creativity and share things you love with the world.
Nevertheless, it is important to remember that those tiny squares can only show so much; zoom out a little, and you’re likely to find that a person’s life is incredibly different than how it appears online. Like the vast majority of Instagram accounts, finstas by no means show the full story of a user’s life. That said, although they’re dubbed main accounts’ fake counterparts, finstagrams are measurably realer.
Email Halle Gold at [email protected]