by Kate Seaman
Do you want your friends to see the real you? The “you” beyond the posed and filtered pictures posted on Instagram?
There is a solution: Get a Finsta.
Nearly half of Instagram users ages 13–17 have a “Finstagram” (fake Instagram) in addition to a real Instagram, according to the Pew Research Center. Finstas act as a free space where people can post arbitrary pictures they think their friends will enjoy. These pictures can range from mundane events to selfies gone wrong to sing-along videos.
Junior Dana Boretz thinks that Finstas are so popular because they are a place where “you’re able to post anything you want for your closest friends to see.”
Instagram is a platform for close to 400 million people to help shape their identities and to give a glimpse into their daily lives, often to follower lists of more than 100 people.
With Finstas, intended only for close friends, kids no longer have to worry about the stress of what people will think about them. Such accounts make many teens feel more comfortable in the social media sphere.
Freshman Meghan Johnson said that her Finsta started as a place for her to get out her frustrations and express herself through “some dumb humor.” She said, “I don’t feel comfortable revealing [bad pictures] of myself to 236 people, so I post to 47 instead.”
Instagram accounts, with their edited selfies and goal of gaining hundreds or thousands of likes, have been criticized by psychologists.
According to nytimes.com, a 2015 study at Pace University published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking found that users of Instagram who follow many strangers were more susceptible to depressive symptoms. The pressure to be perfect has its price.
WHS Psychology Teacher Mr. Robert Ebert said Finstas may be part of the solution to that pressure. “Maybe this is people’s outlet against that kind of perfection,” Ebert said. Finstas defy the unrealistic standards set by the constant editing of pictures on Instagram and model people’s lives in a more realistic way.
Junior Julie Greenberg said: “On real Instagram, it’s more of nice pictures showing you with your friends and family or something pretty you saw one day or even your meal. But on Finsta, it’s more of a weird selfie with a funny caption describing things that happen to you or a funny moment you caught on camera that people need to see.”