Finstas: A positive form of social media


With technology enveloping every aspect of our daily lives, it is natural for new forms of social media to arise and flourish among the young generation of teenagers. One recent type of these outlets is through an already popular social media app, Instagram, known as ‘finstas’. ‘Finstas’ are, by definition, an additional account to a main profile under the guise of a humorous name that permits one to post unfiltered, candid media to a small, private audience. Many Mercy students admit to having both a ‘rinsta’ (a real Instagram) for a big audience and a ‘finsta’, as it allows them to be themselves and not put on a false persona to a small group friends. While some believe ‘finstas’ to be childish, many argue that ‘finstas’ are a healthy way to use social media amidst the toxicity of the online atmosphere, allowing people to be themselves in a controlled space.

According to research done by The New York Times, of the 92 percent of teenagers aged 13-17 who go online, more than half use Instagram daily. It is no secret that social media allows teenagers to see each other’s posts, like and ignore as them as they please, or comment on them with compliments—or in some cases, insults. Thus, many guard themselves from harm by carefully presenting themselves on Instagram.

“Any social media account is a reflection of ourselves and they’re very curated” Paul Booth, associate professor at DePaul University’s College of Communication, told Teen Vogue in an interview.

It makes complete sense that social media’s target audience of teenagers would meticulously organize their profiles in order to avoid judgement, but in that same way, they become so focused on maintaining their reputation that they forget to be themselves. This is what many people believe makes finstas necessary and beneficial.

Many teenagers believe finstas allow them to post candidly and without fear of judgement, as they control specifically who can view the page, like a normal account, except it is exclusive to a small number of close friends.

“I have a finsta because it’s a really great place to post updates on my personal life, memes, or just good jokes to my friends,” said Mercy junior Tori Schmitz. “I wouldn’t put posts I put on my finsta on my actual instagram because people who I either don’t know super well or I don’t want them to know a lot about my personal life follow that account.”

In a study supervised by Leora Trub, an assistant professor of psychology at Pace University and a clinical psychologist who works with adolescents, it was found that Instagram has more negative effects when one follows more strangers and allow those strangers to follow them back. It also says that Instagram is seen as more positive when accounts are kept private and are only accessible by a small audience of friends, the premise for finstas.

Not only are finstas a new way for people to show who they are, but it also provides a certain empowerment. This empowerment is in its acceptance of imperfections that many post on their finstas.