Last week, the New York Times wrote an article about the new social media trend of creating “fake” personal Instagram accounts. In contrast to your day-to-day Instagram filled with smiling, edited photos, your “Finstagram” would be a private social media page shared with only your close friends and family.
How many hours cumulatively have we all spent editing pictures and thinking of clever captions? Most likely, way too many.
The appeal of the Finstagram lies in not having the pressure of being “perfect” on social media. I’ve never had a Finstagram but in a similar fashion, one of my best friends from home, Steph, created a fake Facebook when her school’s sorority recruitment period prohibited usage of her regular account. Compared to the 1,632 friends on Steph’s personal account, the new account had merely 26. This 98% decrease in friends highlights one of the realities of social media—the number of “friends” you have on social media is significantly higher than the number of people you genuinely care about and want to stay in contact with in “real life”.
On Steph’s fake Facebook, we got to see shamelessly unedited photos of her tailgating, studying, and going out adventures without the staged feeling you would typically find on her real Facebook. Without the pressure of essentially 1,606 strangers viewing her posts, there was no need to conform to social media norms and present an idealized version of her life. It was a hilarious way for us to keep in touch with Steph while she could also keep in touch with her real friends on social media.
With the advent of Finstagrams, however, there has been a question of why not just use Snapchat? Snapchat is also a private platform that allows for more genuine posts due to its short nature that (technically) has fewer consequences for anything regrettable or embarrassing. This question brings to light the differences in each social media platform’s goal.
Facebook and Instagram share the ability to accumulate photos and create a history of your experiences while Snapchat is only about temporary sharing. Going on someone’s Facebook or Instagram profile means being able to look at photos curated by the user that could date back to as recent as last night or as far back as five years ago. On these two platforms you can engage with your friends with no limitations on captions or comments. On the other hand, Snapchat only provides a platform for 10-second moments and condensed captions. If my friend were to send a memorable Snapchat, it would be gone within the 10 seconds it was sent or 24 hours it was on his or her story. I do have the option of taking a screenshot but then the burden of storing memorable photos relies on me rather than the platform. The screenshotted photos end up on my phone’s storage instead of the social media platform’s storage.
One of the beauties of social media is its ability to effectively act as free online cloud storage. I no longer need to save photos of my friends on my phone because if I want to reminisce on memories we had together, I can just go on a social media platform to do so.
Another counterargument to Finstagrams is the question of why do you even need a fake Instagram to show your true self? We could all just post genuine photos on our real accounts to circumvent the need for a supplementary account. I wish I could commit to doing so but at least personally, I don’t think I’d have the courage to post embarrassing photos to all 800+ Facebook friends I currently have.
Finstagrams are certainly an interesting topic but at least for now, it almost seems like creating one would mean more work for me. For Steph, it was an easy and enjoyable experience because her fake account was temporarily replacing her actual account. But for anyone else, that fake account would have to be in addition to existing accounts.
So what does everyone think, would you create a Finstagram?