The Power of the Finsta

Finsta: For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a Finsta is a fake Instagram.

The first time I made a Finsta was as a joke with my friend. We didn’t follow the conventional method of posting outwardly embarrassing photos, but we did post a collection of photos we didn’t want to purposely show others.


We were inspired to do this after looking at KJP’s instagram. He advertises for his brand by posting a unique collection of photos that promote his products and lifestyle to his fanbase. We both followed him and were impressed, but also decided that we could make a cool Instagram too if we picked an interesting theme. This is how our first Finsta centered on  being “The Fashionable Traveler” was created.

Every photo that we used on the account was taken by me or my friend. We didn’t steal anyone else’s photos and we came up with the captions for everything by using song lyrics or quotes. Some photos had us in them wearing designer clothes, while others were scenic images around the world. Initially, it seemed as if our Finsta really straddled the line between real and fake- while my personal Instagram (my Rinsta) seemed very ‘real’ in comparison.

How did we determine the difference between real and fake?

  1. Real- We took every photo and all the clothes were ours
  2. Fake- We would never post anything like that if people we actually knew in real life were looking. It only showed a very small part of our lives.

The Finsta put me in a weird position where everything was technically a real part of my life, but it felt extremely fake in the way I displayed only one very limited aspect of my life. Screen Shot 2016-09-25 at 2.33.40 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-09-25 at 2.33.31 PM.png

That puppy is my puppy. That bag is my bag. That blanket is mine. All of the items in the photos are real, but they don’t accurately represent anything about what I want people to think of me. The entire Finsta we created was a fake persona of this “fashionable traveler”. We just wanted to see how many likes and followers we could get by posting what we believed to be ‘cool pics’. We would use hashtags and tag other accounts to gain followers and likes. We don’t know most of the people that commented on or liked the pictures.

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That’s actually a photo from my apartment. In all honestly, it feels like one of the more ‘real’ photos I posted on the account since it’s so personal for me. Which asks the question, why does everything else about this Finsta feel so fake to me?

I think to better understand this you need to look at both of my accounts:

The FINSTA (Fake Instagram)

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The RINSTA (Real Instagram)

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The FINSTA locations are Dubrovnik- Athens- Crete- Mykonos- Boston- BC

The RINSTA locations are Istanbul- Danvers- NYC- Broadway- Dusseldorf- Paris

At first glance, it seems like my Rinsta is just people added to the same type of pictures- partially true.  This made me take a small step back….because remember this is supposed to be my real Instagram– where I post everything that is real about my life. This was from last spring semester where I was in school at BC almost everyday!! However, when I look at the bottom set of pictures I can’t help but smile. It was going home for spring break and going to Disney, seeing my brother play rugby and watching his team win, then a weekend trip to New York with my dad, Easter break at my best friend’s house (fun fact: our friend is dressed as the bunny), and a throwback to when I was with my brothers so I would feel less homesick.

My real Instagram is deceiving– you only ever see me happy and I can assure you that I have other feelings. My Finsta doesn’t feel authentic to me because it’s just photos of beautiful scenery or designer clothes. It’s a bit more deceiving- it feels a little less real. I didn’t post a picture at BC during that month. Even though the majority of my time was probably spent in Boston, I didn’t share with my followers anything that I felt was mundane. I posted happy memories!! That’s not to say I’m unhappy at school either, it’s just part of my daily life and at that time I had nothing special to post. I wasn’t taking photos in class everyday, but still I will admit that be it my finsta or rinsta- I tend to only show myself in a positive light. I’m not saying that my real Instagram is fake, because I really did all of those things and each of those photos shows a very happy moment for me, but it’s not a good representation of me.

So why bother?

Social media is still a great way to keep in touch with me. You will see me with my family and friends. You might learn more about what I do in my spare time. You’ll get to see cool travel pictures that I think are funny or pretty. If I don’t get to see you regularly (S/O to all the friends I’ve met from moving) then you get to see some quick updates about my life.

BUT you aren’t going to see anything I don’t feel like posting. The 9 months of the year that I spend in class- not posted. The bad days where I’m super homesick- not posted. The bad grades- not posted. Any emotion other than happy- probably not/will never be posted. So if you really want to know about me or most of your other friends, social media isn’t the right way to gauge how they are doing. Social media is a way to see some of what they are doing, but it will never paint the whole picture. I think we all have to be realistic about what we are comfortable putting on the internet. Maybe you feel you are more genuine than you might think I am after reading this- it’s valid. However, I would bet that most of my friends social media accounts are not a good reflection of how they are really doing. This is why we can’t take social media accounts at face value- they only tell a very small part of the big picture.

We can find articles praising how Instagram is helping change the way we see the world be it through food, style, art, politics, etc. there is definitely a wider reach and more push for some of these outlets. Yet, we can just as easily find the more negative pieces that talk about the negative effect to self-esteem that Instagram helps create. I don’t think that Rinstas or Finstas are inherently bad things, but I do think that we too often get caught up in believing we know a person based on what they post.

If you only interact with me on social media then you don’t know me at all.

Social media is fun and I love looking at everyone’s photos, but I don’t love how much everyone only sees one side of who I really am. So while the Rinsta is great and can be a more authentic version of yourself, it can also not be. We might apply the labels ‘real’ and ‘fake’ to our accounts, but neither is completely accurate.



  1. kdphilippi18 · ·

    What an insightful post! It was really interesting to learn about finstas, but I thought you did a great job using the example to highlight an important issue about what people post on social media. I completely agree that most (myself included) only use instagram, facebook, etc. to post our happy moments and they aren’t a true reflection of how we are actually feeling. What is really unfortunate about this fact is that it creates a false standard that we think we have to live up to, causing some to feel insecure and inadequate. Hopefully, in the future we will start to feel comfortable posting a range of feelings and not just the perfect, happy moments.

  2. adamsmea89 · ·

    I completely agree with you that social media accounts only show a very small portion of people’s lives. Many people believe that they truly know celebrities because they follow them on snapchat, facebook and instagram, and they forget that everything that is posted is first filtered. Pictures are filtered literally, with different instagram filters and photoshop, but they are also filtered to only show what you want to show about yourself. This was an interesting post and really makes you think about how many “finstas” must be out there!

  3. rohansuwarna · ·

    This was a great post! Your topic was perfect and it was very insightful. A lot of friends have a Finsta and I agree with you that basically shows people a different and unique side of you. My friends’ Finstas however are only followed by their close friends. Since the pictures are usually goofy and embarrassing they only want their closest of followers to see them. I really loved your last paragraph and how you say you can’t call either real or fake. And, you’re right about, since both accounts show people who the user is. There’s nothing fake about that! Great work!

  4. Great post! This is so true!! I once hear the phrase “people are never what the post to be”. I have found this to be so true, even of myself! I look through instas of girls who are so fit, fun, and fabulous. They give the impressional of smilingly perfect lives, which makes one question what am I doing wrong that my life is not like that? However, these posts are deceitful in a sense becasue they are carefully calculated and crafted pictures which are meant to seem a certain way. Like pointed out in this post, even my “real” insta is a fictional representation of my life. I think this post is really relatable, and it discusses very insightfully one of the major social media related issues of our generation.

  5. This was a great post and I really enjoyed reading it. I had heard about fake Instagram accounts before but I didn’t know about them really prior to reading this. I think you really hit the nail on the head with your point that people do not post negativity in their lives on social media and it is a very one-dimensional view of the world that is portrayed through rose-colored glasses that makes everything seem perfect and happy. The study abroad experience certainly is a semester that is easy to post about and glorify life when the living is easy, too! So many moments that are easy to photograph and capture. I particularly liked how you compared pictures of your “finsta” and your “rinsta” too. Even your “rinsta” did seem so much more real with people in it, but your point that the “finsta” with the Eiffel Tower containing all real items that you own in it which actually makes it a real photograph was a real thinker, too! Great work!

  6. Cool post! I definitely agree that neither a Finsta nor a Rinsta really show the “real” side of us. But it was surprised to see that your Finsta is so clean and professionally maintained. Until this post, I always thought of finstas as a private place to share pictures with closer friends. Similar to Rohan’s experience, my friends’ finstas are only followed by a few people and have the good, the bad, and mostly the ugly. Regardless, I think this post was really interesting to see how other people have used the concept of finstas and how deceiving they can be.

  7. mikeknoll98 · ·

    I think this really hit home with me. I think so much of social media now is just about putting your best self out there for people to see. While I do recommend this approach (and endorsed this in another one of my comments this week), it does create a false sense of reality (whether it is your Finsta or Real Instagram). Overall great post and it made me reflect on my Instagram for sure.

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