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Finstagrams: A Chance to be Genuine on Social Media?

Just a few scrolls through Instagram these days can make anyone feel overwhelmed. With the development of high-resolution phone cameras and mighty photo-editing apps, today’s average Instagram post is far more exquisite than anyone might have ever predicted in 2010, when the social networking platform was created.

Because none of us are perfect and neither are our photos, this standard of excellence has driven us to embellish and in certain cases, falsify the grandeur of our lives. Our feeds are full of heartwarming photos of sisters and brothers that don’t get along in real life and stunning selfies of our friends “working out”. We all have a friend that somehow edits all of her Instagram posts to make her undeniably hazel eyes look turquoise.

Enter the finstagram or “finsta”; in response to this trend toward falsity, our generation has invented this as a category of secondary accounts that present a truer rendering of the user. Finstagrams, which ironically are named based on the fusion of the words “fake” and “Instagram”, typically have a modest follower count in the low double digits and consist of unedited, embarrassing or silly photos. The idea is to post photos and videos that one wouldn’t want anyone other than his or her closest friends or family members to see. On top of this, all of the unsaid laws that typically govern the Instagram world, such as posting more than once a day is posting too much or liking one’s own photo is shameful, are completely disregarded.

While it is surely absurd that the pressure of social media has pushed us to feel that the only way we can express our authentic selves is through the creation of an additional account, perhaps finstagrams might be a positive addition to our culture. Surely, in an ideal world, no one would have a finstagram account because his or her primary account would already serve such a purpose. Nonetheless, the concept of attempting to be genuine over social media is an affirmative one. At the least, finstagrams might prompt us to think more deeply about the superficiality of social media and consequently, to take it less seriously.

Above all, the existence of finstagrams, in itself, illuminates the harsh reality that platforms like Instagram dominating our social sphere. As Instagram-famous teen Essena O’Neill commented recently when she publicly came clean about the falsity of her account, “Social media isn’t real. It’s purely contrived images and edited clips ranked against each other. It’s a system based on social approval, likes and dislikes, validation in views, success in followers. It’s perfectly orchestrated judgment. And it consumed me.” Essena is right, but if social media isn’t real, then even a finstagram can’t properly represent one’s true self. For now, at least, it may be as close as we can get.


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