I open up Instagram and see that I have a new follow request. It's a username I don't recognize right away, but after some decoding, I realize that it's a clever play on a name of a friend of mine. It must be their finsta. I allow them to follow me but hesitate on following them back...
Every adult in my life would probably beg to differ when I say this, but I really do not like social media. While I do like having these memories to look back at, unfortunately, I sometimes feel as though the pressures of it all outweigh these memories. Yet, I still begged for a Facebook when I was a little too young for it, started writing my own tweets, made an Instagram when I saw it was what everyone else was doing and even though I was a few years late to the Snapchat game, I did eventually make an account because I felt like I had to. Is this what being in Generation Z is all about? Doing things that we don’t even really want to do but giving in just to fit in? There is, however, one social media trend you won’t find this Gen Z-er ever giving into: Finsta.
In essence, your “finsta” — or fake Instagram — is an Instagram account made separate from your real account, your “rinsta” (there is no way to explain this without sounding ridiculous — trust me, I’ve tried). Basically, you only let a select few people that you really trust follow your finsta and whatever happens on finsta, stays on finsta. Most of the appeal of the finsta is that it can be anything you want to be. The first explanation ever given to me of the phenomenon was that it was sort of like a parody account of yourself, which when done correctly, could be hilarious. However, finstas have morphed into being used for ranting, hiding content we don’t want parents or professionals to see and even cyberbullying. While the original intentions of the finsta were innocent, I believe that this trend has become a potentially dangerous one for young people.
As young adults, the pressure we allow social media to put on us is astounding. There are so many unspoken “rules” to Instagram that seem to rule our lives. We have to delete a post if it doesn’t get an “acceptable” amount of likes, we can’t post more than once a day and if we must, we have to find a clever way to weave in an apology for it in the caption of that second post. But at the end of the day, does any of this really matter? I couldn't quite honestly care less about how many likes a girl from my sophomore chemistry class got on a selfie of her at her cousin’s Bat Mitzvah. I personally feel as though the creation of the finsta only contributes to this pressure. Many people use their finstas to post the more candid, less than perfect photos from their lives to a small, trusted audience. Many users say that their finsta is where they show their "true" self. Is this to say that one's main Instagram account is just a highlight reel, a glossy photo shoot of what we want people to think our life is like? This mentality leads me to believe that we need to hide who we really are and only truly let loose to a few people.
Aside from a slightly hurt self-image, I know from personal experience that the "exclusiveness" of the finsta world can lead to some harsh words. On more than one occasion have I heard something along the lines of, "Did you hear what so-and-so wrote about so-and-so on their finsta?" being whispered among my peers. Some finsta users like to use their accounts to rant about the events of their day and more often than not, at the expense of others. I don't follow any finstas, but somehow I always seem to find out exactly what someone said about another on their account. Is there a direct correlation with finsta and the normalization of cyber bullying? Probably not, but it certainly gives young adults another easily accessible platform to participate in it, which is my other reason for not supporting this trend.
Like previously stated, I don't currently follow any finstas, not even those of my closest friends. It's nothing personal — I just don't exactly agree with what some of these accounts have become. This is not to say that every finstagram user is using it for the wrong reasons. I know my friends who have finstas aren't using them for the wrong reasons because frankly, I wouldn't be friends with the kind of people who would do such a thing. When it comes down to it, there is nothing wrong with finsta as long as it is being used for the right reasons.
Lead Image Credit: Pexels