By Genevieve Kane
Ever since Instagram has released the option that allows you to be logged in to multiple accounts at once, the number of “Finstagram” accounts have been on the rise. If you are not familiar with the term “Finstagram” allow me to explain: A Finstagram (Finsta) is supposed to be like a “fake Instagram” account where you can post almost anything you’d like. The rules of Instagram no longer apply in the realm of the Finsta. Anything goes.
I have seen Finstas take on many forms. Some Finsta accounts are completely unfiltered and are mainly composed of unedited selfies taken from some of the most unfortunate angles, meant for comical shock and amusement. Others use their Finstas as a way to showcase their art, or a more colorful take on the world around them, in a more casual and intimate fashion. Most Finstas I see, however, act as a virtual diary of sorts. As I said earlier, anything goes when it comes to your Finsta.
So, on February 15th, in an airport in Ireland, I decided to take the plunge and make a Finsta. Since then, my Finsta has become an oddly large part of my life. I have always been very dedicated when it came to writing nightly journal entries, however I stopped journaling because I couldn’t find the time for it anymore. This is why I was attracted to the idea of making a Finsta. I wanted an easily accessible outlet to chronicle my thoughts and feelings throughout the day.
My first order of business was to decide who to follow, and who I would allow to follow me. I wanted to make my Finsta an unfiltered look at my life, which wasn’t something that I felt anybody should be able to see. The whole point of a Finsta, at least in my opinion, is to make it something you share with a very small amount of people. So I followed about 20 of my closest friends, and then followed about 10 friends who I was kind of close with, or knew that I could trust. And that is where it all began.
So you have a Finsta account. Now what?
I was at a loss as to what I wanted to post in the beginning. I had my friends following me, I picked out my quirky username, I just didn’t really know where to begin. I ended up posting a screenshot of a funny conversation I had over text, with a pretty dumb caption. I think I just needed to get the first post out of the way in order to carry on and really post what I wanted.
The posts on my Finsta account have really evolved since that day in February. My posts started off as bad pictures of myself, or weird out of context videos, with small quips for captions. I had to become more comfortable with the idea of feeling exposed. Everything I had known about social media up until this point was completely contradicted what I was trying to accomplish with my Fisnta. Social media is a place where you showcase the best version of yourself, where posts should be driven by the goal of acquiring likes and comments, where an account is only relevant based on the number of followers it has, and a place for self promotion. I had not realized how the nuances of social media have been ingrained in me until I made my Finsta.
I found myself having an internal struggle whenever someone would request to follow me. It felt as though there was a little voice at the back of my mind saying, “Accept the follow! Accept the follow!” because of the inherent validation that comes with my number of followers rising. I even had friends who would text me telling me to allow their friends to follow my account; their friends whom I hardly know. I started to become very lenient with allowing people I didn’t know to follow my finsta, and my number of followers slowly rose and is now at a whopping 76 followers. What is the likelihood that I can say for certain that I know 76 people on a level where I feel comfortable divulging very intimate, and often embarrassing, things about myself? Not very likely.
Social media by nature is a flawed outlet for self expression of this kind. I am at constant odds with myself because I want to use my finsta to post 100% uncensored things about me; however, in doing that I am still cultivating an online persona. I feel as though no matter what I do, my posts cannot be raw because everything is being broadcasted to an audience. Even if I take a picture of myself on the spot, and caption it with something that has been plaguing my thoughts, the second I hit post I feel as though all of those thoughts and emotions lose authenticity. Once an audience is put into play, it’s hard for me not to view everything I post as synthetic.
Despite all of these qualms, I avidly use my Finsta account. I love not worrying about trying to look cool, or glamorous. It feels nice to have a platform where there is no pressure to try and display my life in a certain light. I don’t really think twice about the content of my posts when publishing them. I don’t worry about the number of likes I get or accumulating followers. At the end of the day, my Finsta is going to be whatever I want it to be, and if anyone has a problem with it then they can unfollow me. I have even contemplated deleting my actual Instagram account, because I don’t feel like I am getting anything out of it anymore.
I highly encourage making your own Finsta account. It has allowed me to unlearn everything I knew about social media, and has become a massive source of empowerment, and a place which fosters self-love.