The term “finsta,” short for “fake-instagram,” may be the realest form of social media we have. Brooke Erin Duffy, a communications professor at Cornell University, has observed "finsta" trends. This kind of account is popular among teens and millennials, and is increasingly so among pre-teens. The problem with finstas is that they are often a toxic and a resultless outlet for stress, complaining and gossiping on a private social media account that only select members can see.
I used to have a finsta. For the majority of my junior and senior year of high school finstas were all about people complaining and not doing anything about it in reality. Not only does this bring back middle school age cyber-bullying, it also provides a place to rant and “safely” share explicit images and details. I'm not saying I haven't done it: I used it as an outlet for writing out my grievances and sharing funny stories of what had happened to me throughout the day. But after a while, I realized that it’s not a safe, judgement-free place. Worse, it isn’t secret.
Moreover, finstas are dangerous. It gives your thoughts a broad audience and, often, is just as shareable as if it were public. All it takes is one person to screenshot or share something you said. When you’re complaining to your 200 closest “friends,” there’s bound to be someone who’s not on your side. Just recently, Harley Barber, an ex-University of Alabama student and ex-Alpha Phi sorority member, had a video from her finsta leaked, containing extremely racist comments, which rightfully got her kicked out of the university. Now, this may seem like an extreme example, but the principle holds true. Using finsta to express your opinions doesn’t make them guarded or safe. In fact, it's just as bad as posting them blatantly on any other site.
Not all finstas are toxic, but it is a slippery slope. It’s easy to feel heard with an audience ranging from 5-500 followers, but it makes it difficult to keep things private. While you can be conscious of the morality and the possible consequences of what you post, most people use finstas to avoid exactly that. In my opinion, it’s better to rid yourself of the temptation once and for all. It’s not worth getting involved in drama or complaining on social media. In the end, what good does it do anyway?
After awhile, people do stop reaching out, and your posts become shouts to the void. There is no real feeling of posting grievances on these accounts either – it doesn’t solve your problems. As you get older and move on to college or get a job, it can have extreme consequences regarding your future. Be careful what you post.
Lead Image Credit: Eric Lucatero on Unsplash