It all started out of boredom. After hearing about it from a friend, I had decided to make a finstagram—simply finsta for short—a “fake” Instagram account set to private that is only shared with those closest to you. Not too long after making one, I found myself enjoying this little space I had created for myself, possibly even more than any other social media account I’ve created before.
Majority of us might have felt a certain type of pressure right before posting a photo on Instagram. Perhaps it stems from choosing a photo that would fit your perfectly curated feed. Or anxiety might creep in the seconds before you click ‘upload,’ thinking about whether or not your followers would like this bikini photo over the other. With a finsta, all those worries are washed away. Examples of the types of posts that may fall under such an account would be everyday musings, memes, photos from a drunken night out, or a screenshot of the flirty exchanges between you and your new fling—basically, anything you wouldn’t want to share on your main Instagram account.
“I didn’t want to worry about being judged by majority of my followers on my real Instagram,” shares Charles*, a 23-year-old student. “My finsta is basically an unfiltered diary of my life.”
Lea*, a 23-year-old graphic designer, shares the same sentiment, saying, “I look at my own finsta as a sort of journal. I wanted an account where I can archive photos to look back at; a space where I can freely post whatever I want and share them only to specific people.”
True to their words, there is a feeling of liberation that comes with creating a finsta. In the past few years, there have been studies that pointed out that Instagram is one of the worst forms of social media for one’s mental health. Unfortunately, the rise of the app also came with the growing obsession to create a seemingly perfect life, which is pretty tiring, if you come to think of it.
“I found myself really planning how my feed would appear, from the composition of my posts to their palette. In a way, it became restricting because I realized I set a certain branding and standard to my posts. With a finsta, I can easily post anything,” adds Lea.
Over lunch with friends once, I jokingly announced, “My goal in life is to merge my finsta and my real Instagram.” But as soon as those words slipped out of my mouth, I thought to myself that wouldn’t an easy solution be to simply post whatever I want on my main Instagram account? I realized that while this situation would be ideal, factors such as whether or not what you post would be appropriate obviously matter.
“Personally, I don’t think it’s socially acceptable to post videos or photos of my friends and I taking one shot after another. Those kinds of posts stay on my finsta,” says Charles with a laugh. He does have a point: while memories of a wild night out are always entertaining to look back at, perhaps it would benefit you to share them only to those you trust.
When I question her about the pressures of social media, Lea gives me another glimmer of insight, telling me that for her, a curated feed can also be a form of self-expression. “Some people have the notion that planned or curated accounts can be inauthentic, that it misses the ‘realness’ of a post. For me, a curated feed can also be a way of expressing yourself visually. Rather than feeling pressure, I feel inspired to build a feed that resonates with me artistically,” she says.
We’re all creating our own set of rules as we go. What works for you might not work for another person. If we want to make an effort in minimizing the pressure or anxiety that can come from social media, then we should remember this: comparing ourselves to others won’t bring us anywhere. It also helps to know what works for you. If you’re like me and like to indulge in a little privacy from time to time, then having a finsta is an enjoyable outlet. If you’re more of an open book, then by all means, post away. At the end of the day, only you can tell if you’re truly being authentic to yourself or not.
As seen on MEGA Magazine December 2018.