The Problem with ‘Finstas’

The Irony of Using a Fake Instagram to Show Real Life

Growing up in a digitally based society, modern students are strikingly conscious of the image they portray on social media. With the pressure of colleges looking at potential applicants’ social medias to gauge an idea of personality, social media platforms such as Instagram have become carefully curated albums that show only the highlights of one’s life. To offset this, many young users have turned to another, more protected way to express their true emotions – the finsta.

A ‘finsta,’ or fake instagram, is a separate account whose confidentiality is supposed to allow for a more private look into a person’s life. Joke finstas, confessional finstas, even joint finstas are unedited collections of a user’s everyday life, accompanied by quirky captions that give a quick update or comment. The idea is that the select few close friends that are accepted into a finsta’s content circle do not have to meet up with the owner of the account to keep up to  speed with the details of that person’s life. Updates on relationships, schoolwork, and emotions are shared quickly and ‘authentically’ without need of real interaction between the owner and followers of the account – almost like a one sided group chat that gives constant updates without requiring direct input from each and every member.

This desire of young people to share deeper emotions is not new. The modern day finsta is merely a reincarnation of older methods of expressing self-deprecating humor and daily rants. Honorable mentions include Blogspot and Tumblr, both of which have faded in favor of the newest trend.

However, what is new is the increasing desire to curate a feed desirable to those in the audience. As finstas have evolved, they have become less personal diaries open to a select few, instead becoming a new way for socially-conscious young people to curate their online presence. The new finsta culture has evolved to include followings of over hundreds of people, and even when a user is putting all his or her cards down, he or she is still in control. Even supposedly confessional moments may be manipulated — part of the artifice of finsta is claiming to reveal your artifice, but in a controlled way.

Overall, finstagrams are yet another way the internet has tricked modern users into displaying more of their lives on the internet, without really sharing anything at all. Finstagrams are merely another facet of the curated presence we develop to those we interact with online – even if on a smaller scale.

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