In Defense of the Finsta

 

I’m not sure whether there is a particular group of people who are against the concept of a finsta (as in fake + Instagram) account, but I decided to write in its favor because every topic seems to be a divisive issue these days. Don’t worry though, just give this a read and you won’t have to form an opinion of your own. I’ll be sure to make my arguments compelling enough that you can cite them at the Thanksgiving table when your grandma goes on a rant against technology.

The origins of the finsta are not really traceable. My first encounter with this idea of creating a safe space on Instagram for unfiltered snapshots of real life was about a year ago. It seemed to be a trend within a subset of Generation Z, and was referred to as a “spam account,” so I didn’t give it much thought. But when I returned from a semester abroad in January of 2016, everybody had seemingly created an account that celebrated nighttime zit cream and selfies that usually could only be found in your best friend’s camera roll. I was lost, so I turned to Urban Dictionary for help- as everyone does in moments like these. In the early 2000’s the word “finsta” had a completely different meaning. See the screenshot below:

 

 

The very idea of creating a second account where you can have the freedom to post anything without embarrassment further delineates social media as a toxic invader of superficiality. Perhaps the finsta’s inception was an act of desperation. We can no longer escape images of narrow beauty ideals, are often plagued by FOMO, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to exist independently of what (insert name here) is doing on vacation right now. Instagram is usually the first thing us technology addicted millennials see in the morning, and the last thing we see at night.

There are some great comedians and weirdos (I use this term in admiration) who have the courage to post anything and everything on their rinsta (as in real + Instagram). It seems that the finsta is the middle ground where you can make your account private, only allow your besties to follow it, and feel equipped with a false sense of bravery to be yourself and document it in pixels.

The finsta is ironically both a tool of empowerment and a setting where jokes rooted in self-deprecation thrive. It is up to us how we use social media, and I think there is nothing better than reclaiming your own identity, in whatever form that takes. In my ideal world, which is a great place, there is no need for self-censoring. But realistically, the human psyche is delicate and we care about other people’s perceptions of us- no matter how many times we may refute it.

If you don’t already have a finsta, I would highly recommend creating one. At the very least it might make one of your friends smile. And if it scares anyone away, you don’t want them anyways. Just be mindful of the internet’s permanence, which is a topic for another day.