Ever heard of a fake Instagram account, aka a finsta? Neither had I, until I worked in a high school and coached girls between the ages of 13 and 17, and had a long interrogation session with my 13-year-old cousin. So let me break it down a bit. First you have your regular Instagram account, your rinsta – that’s the one you use to post your best pictures. This means your pictures that are edited perfectly, have funny and/or punny captions and fit in nicely with your feed (the way it looks when all of your pictures are lined up together). And then you have your finsta. Urban Dictionary defines a finsta as
“A fake Instagram account, so one can post ratchet pictures without persecution from sororities, jobs and society as a whole.”
Hot tweetaway: Teens’ Double Life: How #teens are hiding their real lives on #Instagram insit.es/2n4erHJ by Madeline Berkman via @CoolBrands #genz
The Rinsta or Real Instagram
Your rinsta is all about your ratio (you definitely want more followers than people you follow) and your likes. You want to get the maximum amount of likes, which you do by texting all your friends (in a massive group text) and telling them to like your post as soon as you’ve uploaded it. Then, if you’re not getting enough likes, you can log in to your plethora of fake accounts (note: different than your finsta) and like your posts from those accounts. Some Gen Z’s share about 5-10 fake accounts with their friends for whenever they need to up their likes. Your rinsta is usually a public profile (remember, you need to get as many followers as possible), or if it is private, then you accept everyone who wants to follow it.
The Finsta or Fake Instagram
Now, moving on to the mysterious finsta. The finsta is your unfiltered life, your ugly photos, your fetus photos (photos from your #awkward phase as a preteen), or your ridiculously goofy self. The finsta is a private account that you only let a select group of people follow; think: your closest friends from each of your friend groups. I mean, you’re posting photos of your double, triple and quadruple chin, do you really think your crush can follow that account?!
Hot tweetaway: Meet the #finsta: a fake #Instagram account #teens use to share their #unfiltered life insit.es/2n4erHJ via @CoolBrands #genz
People use their finstas to bash themselves and to ramble on about how they had a bad day, that they fought with their parents, or that they have a lot of homework. They don’t post pretty pictures, that’s for their rinsta. The picture itself is up close and intentionally quite unattractive, along with a lengthy caption. Gen Z’s don’t care about the ratio of followers or the amount of likes they get on their finstas; they will usually get 10 or fewer, compared to 200-300 on their rinstas.
Another major difference between the rinsta and the finsta is the amount of posting that is allowed. You definitely don’t want to over-post on your rinsta; once a week at most lands you in safe territory. However, on your finsta, that rule goes out the window. You can even break the number-one Instagram rule and double post (two posts in one day). The basic rule of the finsta is that there are no rules; you can do whatever you want. This is a nice reprieve from the rinsta, where you have to scrutinize over every filter, every caption, every tag and every like.
Front Stage and Back Stage behavior
The use of multiple Instagram accounts is a prime example of sociologist Erving Goffman’s notion of the monitoring of front stage and backstage performances. In his book, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Goffman wrote about how we as humans manage ourselves in all situations to portray ourselves in the way we wish. Our front stage performances are the ones we show to the people we are interacting with on a less intimate level: colleagues, classmates, bosses, strangers we pass on the street, etc. Our backstage performances are when we let our guard down and when we act in a more uninhibited manner. The finsta allows for this backstage behavior within social media, whereas the rinsta is a constantly monitored, well-groomed front-stage performance. If a post doesn’t get enough likes even with the fake accounts, it will be deleted. Most even send their photos to friends before posting and ask about which picture or filter is better.
This multiple Instagram account usage has allowed for Gen Z’s to monitor themselves in a totally new way. They’ve learned what is acceptable and what not and how to measure their personal success with the amount of likes they get. Thanks to their finstas, they can finally be free to post what they wish, whenever they wish.
Hot tweetaway: How #teens are revealing their true selves on #Instagram insit.es/2n4erHJ by Madeline Berkman via @CoolBrands #finsta #genz