By Teagan Ladner, VI Form
Own Your Weirdness, Ditch the Finsta
Fake Instagram accounts, more commonly referred to as “Finstas,” have gained a tremendous amount of traction in the past three years. The creation of these additional Instagram accounts has allowed an opportunity for people to post funny or embarrassing photos of themselves and established a community where people can express their more ”unfiltered” self, which is ironic considering the name of this new phenomenon has the word fake in it. Although this mentality of being openly genuine on social media sounds ideal, there are enough flaws to make me anti-Finstas.
It is unfortunate that we feel this pressure from society to put on a mask so that our peers, friends, family, and even strangers do not judge us based on our social media aesthetic. I find it discomforting that this pressure is so powerful that it’s difficult for us to rise above these opinions and post what we want on our real Instagrams (or “Rinstas”). The invention of Finstas has created an escape to ignore the actual problem, not solve it. It gives users an alternate reality to express their true selves only to a small group of people, instead of most of their acquaintances. I agree that progress is better than nothing, but I don’t actually think it is long-term progress.
Your Rinsta should be your Finsta. Meaning, people should be able to post whatever they want without any social repercussions. However, people are going to judge regardless, so I’m proposing that we take a stand, don’t let it bother us, and post whatever we want whenever we want in solidarity! Instead of hiding ourselves in a private account locked away from most of the world, post a photo on your real Instagram that you’d normally post on your Finsta without any comments implying it was an accident you decided to leave up. These cover-ups that people use often do not take ownership of the abnormality of the post, but instead, reinforce the notion that it’s odd to post something on the weirder side, so it must have a socially-acceptable explanation for its presence.
I understand that having separate accounts for different purposes does make people happy, which is why I classify having a personal account in addition to a more professional account in a detached category. Rather, I don’t like how people feel the need to hide their personal posts through their Finstas due to the tremendous popularity it has gained. The creation of Finstas further solidifies and legitimizes the culture around abiding by societal norms in public. By creating an outlet specifically for “being weird,” it discourages people from posting more authentic and “strange” content on their regular Instagram page, because there’s a specific forum that exists for that very purpose.
Since Finstas are concealed to an even smaller audience than a typical private Instagram account, Finstas can become exclusive. Due to this exclusivity, people can end up forming alter-egos. In a community where a fundamental rule is being entertaining, people may feel the need to consistently provide humor at any cost and can resort to making fun of other people to get this social praise from their peers. This can make Finsta an easy gateway to targeting people. A lot of users believe that by only letting their close friends follow them, no one outside that group will see any of their posts on their Finsta and because of this, they are more tempted to publicly (but in a sense privately) single out people who aren’t listed as one of their followers.
I can acknowledge the positives of Finstas: I have followed many Finsta accounts, “Liked” plenty of posts that I find humorous, and even have attempted to partake in the community, but it’s the platform that these posts take place on with which I’m uncomfortable. I’m adamant about owning your quirks, and while Finstas might help some people successfully gain more confidence about their socially-labeled flaws within their friend groups, overall, they’re detrimental to achieving a more socially-acceptable society if everything posted on them stays behind locked accounts.
While I do not think every Finsta account is malign, I feel that the growth of these accounts as a whole is deleterious, because the normality of Finstas could make ordinarily “strange” posts on Rinstas even stranger with the new status quo. I encourage everyone who feels trapped in this dualist Finsta vs. Rinsta world to take a stand, own up to your weird, imperfect quirks that make you who you are and express them by owning your real Instagram without fear of posting “on the wrong account”!
Photo Source: https://i2.wp.com/nchscourant.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/ACTUAL-finsta-graphic.jpg?resize=824%2C399