Breaking down the Finsta phenomenon

How fake Instagram accounts help alleviate the pressure to be perfect

Instagram has become such a popular social platform having one account isn’t enough—these days, you need a fake one too.
Finstas, a shortened term for fake Instagram accounts, have become a virtual phenomenon among young people. If you have an Instagram account—or what some go as far as to call a rinsta, or real Instagram—then you may also have an accompanying finsta.
A finsta is a secondary account where users can post photos they wouldn’t normally share. Unlike a main account, which is often heavily curated, a fake Instagram is typically filled with candid photos and videos of its owner, their friends, and anything from animal photos to memes. Most importantly, an average finsta has significantly fewer followers than a regular account, and most of these followers are the user’s closest friends.   
Although the idea of having two accounts may seem pointless to those who’ve never used Instagram, those who are familiar with the app might understand the appeal. Instagram on principle is all about image—the images you post, but also the way people perceive you and your life through those images.
If you look at those deemed Instagram-famous—users with anywhere from thousands to millions of followers—it’s clear that success on the app depends on having an aesthetically curated feed. Your photos must be pleasing to look at, showcasing an essentially perfect life. This idea of presenting the most perfect version of yourself to the public trickles down to even non-famous users. Many feel pressured to post only the best aspects of their lives.
The idea behind fake Instagrams is much different. Think of a finsta as a more exclusive Instagram account, meaning you can be selective about who follows you. When only close friends have access to your secondary account, some of the pressure to present yourself as perfect is alleviated.
In some ways, finstas are all about the imperfections, or the uglier side of life. The laughing selfies and sexy beach pictures of real Instagrams are replaced with crying photos, ranting captions, funny texts from your dad, and overall rinsta-rejects. 
A finsta is like a diary with an audience of your choosing. It’s a therapeutic experience, allowing you to post about all aspects of your life, both good and bad. 
Finstas are especially appealing to young adults and university students, who are constantly meeting new people in social settings, as well as business ones. It’s natural to want people to like and admire us, and these feelings can often play into our Instagram posts. 
When you’re constantly making new acquaintances, and subsequently gaining more Instagram followers, there is an increasing pressure to portray yourself in a specific way. There can also be consequences for what you decide to post publicly. For example, you probably don’t want your boss or your grandmother to see your drunk selfies online.
Additionally, mental health is a serious issue among students and often suffers under the workload of classes and pressure to succeed. Constantly seeing your peers living their best lives online can make you feel like you’re living life wrong. In reality, no one is happy all the time and everyone faces their own set of struggles behind the scenes. What you see on apps like Instagram is only a manicured glimpse into someone else’s life. 
In a world where social media often rules our lives, our online image can be important both socially and professionally. On finstas, appearances matter a little less. Scrolling through a feed of imperfect people who experience the same ups and downs as us is a refreshing contrast to rinsta, and serves as a reminder that nobody’s life is as perfect as it seems. 
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to post only the best on Instagram, as long as we realize there’s a lot more to life than what’s posted online. Finstas are a great reminder of that.

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