Finstas. A slang term used to describe a “fake instagram” account, also known as a “spam account”. About a year ago, I would not have been able to understand the benefits of a finsta (after all, isn’t it just that much more work?), but now I see the appeal. These accounts are secondary profiles used to post emotional, controversial, or humorous content that would not conventionally fit someone’s public image. They are curated to a smaller circle of friends. Creating finstas is a trend that started a few years ago, popularized by various insta-celebrities, and now readily consumed by the teenage public. A passing fad such as this may seem insignificant in the long run, such as the Poke Wars on Facebook, but I have reason to believe that spam accounts are much more interesting.
First of all, the ironic thing about a fake Instagram account is that it allows a greater sense of reality in comparison to a main account. When people post on their spam, the captions are honest and uncensored. If they are upset, they show it. If they are sad, they say so. Others can comment words of encouragement or just enjoy the status update. Users are welcome to post as often as they want without feeling anxiety about being judged. The honesty of a finsta is refreshing, quite frankly.
But not all is well and good in the world of finstas. A common parental concern: are teens using finstas just to hide mischief from adult eyes? While there may be some room for justification of this claim, I do not think secondary accounts are just a hotbed of illegal acts. It is true that some will post selfies with shot glasses or snaps of unflattering angles on finstas. But worrying about those posts completely contradicts the purpose of a secondary account.
Teens host spam accounts so they can relieve themselves of the pressure of maintaining a Hollywood-ready (or resume-appropriate) image. In my opinion, if this trend truly helps relieve users of online anxiety, who would I be to discourage it? Even Selena Gomez, most followed person on Instagram, has admitted that she felt “consumed” by the app. Whether or not they have a hidden account to post about parentally offensive content does not change the fact that they are doing it. The real question is, does the existence of a finsta help or hurt the rampant social media anxiety rates? It may only be a temporary solution to a much larger problem.
As of right now, I want to wait and see where this trend goes. Instagram, in addition to Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook, is only growing in the field of social media.
Interested in reading more millennial perspectives on the ins and outs of social media? Search our index for more! Ling is the editor-in-chief of the Millennial Times.