In this unprecedented “age of social media,” an individual’s online presence is often criticized for being too contrived or inaccurate in portraying who they are. We take dozens of photos before capturing the perfect moment to post on Instagram; we elect our Facebook profile pictures carefully to ensure they reflect our best selves. Yet in this age of internet deception emerges something entirely different: Finsta.
Finsta first came to be almost two years ago, in the early 2015. The concept is simple: a second Instagram account followed only by close friends or close acquaintances, essentially people you talk to on a regular basis. On this Instagram account, the number of likes don’t matter, and neither do the number of posts per day. The unwritten rules of real Instagram (or rinsta, as it’s called in the finsta world) aren’t rules on fake Instagram. It’s much more like a giant group text: one that involves life updates, ugly pictures and daily musings.
After the death of Facebook for anything other than family-friendly photo albums, memes and Tasty videos, the youth of today were left without a medium to express anything resembling a “status update.” Twitter is almost exclusively memes or funny tweets that go viral, with maybe one funny kid from your hometown mixed in occasionally. Instagram is photocentric and Snapchats disappear in seconds. I believe it is this compartmentalization of social media platforms that inspired Finsta because Finsta is a mix of everything. Many people use it solely to complain about their lives, others post only humorous content but most finstas I follow contain a mixture of both.
Finsta has continued to grow in popularity since Instagram has added a feature that allows the user to sign in to two accounts at once and easily switch between them. This update came at a prime time for most finsta users I know. We’ve all recently graduated high school, but this spike in finsta popularity has made it easy for people to keep updated on the lives of their peers since parting ways.
However, starting college has also ignited a shift in the Finsta community. As users begin to grow apart from their high school acquaintances and begin to make new friends at college, their following grows too large. I know people who have created sub finstas for their closer friends, and others who have blocked certain users for no reason other than to keep their followers circle small.
I think this active effort to limit followers reflects what people really look for in making a finsta. They want a medium to communicate with people they really know, not people they only know of. Finsta is not a place for questioning the quality of a post, it’s not a place to wait patiently praying for likes and it’s not a place for second guessing your choice of filter. Finsta captures the informality of Snapchat and combines it with the permanence of Instagram and Facebook. It is one social media platform where users can be themselves without having to worry about the image they portray.