The “Finsta” Phenomenon

Over the past few years, fake Instagram accounts or “finstas” and private stories on Snapchat have grown exponentially popular. The idea behind finstas and private stories is to allow the owner of the account to have a more private platform, usually only allowing close friends to view their posts. Finstas and private stories were originally created to post funny content, inside jokes and long rants. Over time, however, these finsta accounts and private stories have become less and less private. The attraction of these accounts and stories is to allow the owner of the account to openly be themselves and worry less about the appearance they portray online. While many people do utilize these accounts for the purpose of ignoring social pressure, I have noticed that just as many people use these accounts to control the “real” version of themselves.

Finstas and private stories are utilized mostly by members of Generation Z. Given that these people grew up in a technologically advanced society, controlling their appearance is in their nature. These accounts have turned into yet another outlet used by teenagers and young adults to control the way they are perceived. Whether it be the photo itself or the caption, every angle, word and hashtag has been thoroughly planned out to portray a certain image. These accounts were created with a decent intention but they are becoming more harmful than beneficial. Everyone is guilty of attempting to control the way they are portrayed, but the internet makes it that much easier. When you only watch someone through a screen, you are only seeing what you have been allowed to see. Generation Z has gotten so comfortable hiding behind technology that we are now controlling what is meant to be the “real” us.

I am definitely not advocating for canceling finstas and private stories, but I propose that you ask yourself “Why am I posting this?” the next time you are about to tap “post.” I noticed that when I began asking myself this question, my answer usually revolved around maintaining a particular appearance, which was not a good enough answer for me. Eventually, my posts became increasingly sporadic and I learned to care less about controlling how I am perceived and more about allowing people to form their own opinions. After all, why should others’ opinions matter anyway?