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Rise of the Finstagram: The New Way To Hide Your 'Imperfections' Online

NY Times
A new Instagram revolution is upon us. In the wake of recent revelations that social media may not present a realistic representation of life (who would've known), a new type of account is being favoured by teens: the Finstagram. Defined by the Urban Dictionary 'a mixture of Fake & Instagram', young people are choosing to open separate accounts on the app that detail the less glamorous aspects of their lives. 

In a move away from what Instagram has seemingly always stood for - that is, to provide a stylised, glossy version of real life - Finstagrams are providing open space to showcase the more candid photos of users: free from captions, hashtags and filters. Often the content published on these sites is embarrassing or funny, in a Snapchat-style way. Users tend to have a much higher following on their 'rinsta' accounts (yes, really) than on their 'finstas', which are only made viewable to a select group of close friends. The whole concept stresses the importance and/or obligation young people feel to have two different digital selves. It is perhaps understandably most popular amongst young girls. 

A teenage panel at Business Insider's Ignition conference explained the latest trend: 
"You'll have a regular Instagram, and you'll have hundreds of followers there, and on your Finsta you'll have a fake username and it'll just be your best friends, the people you're friends with, and you post funny or embarrassing pictures." Some even told of how they don't particularly like their Finsta accounts, but feel they are a social imperative when using the platform.

I too have seen accounts on Instagram that I would define as 'finsta' accounts; however, rather than portraying a more realistic account of the user's life, they list images from an apparent 'real' person who is passing off obviously generic or lifted images and passing them off as their real life in order to make them seem more appealing or exciting. These account holders communicate with other users who pretend to be a person they are portraying online too in whole networks of fake reality and friendship. To me these accounts would be more accurately defined as 'finsta' accounts, not the unpretentious and truly reflective accounts of young people that seem to undermine the name that they have been given. Regardless, it is perhaps worrying that young people feel the need to divide their subjectivity online in order to fit in with an unrealistic and hyperbolised version of life, which is no doubt negatively affecting contemporary ideas of body image.

SMF rookie, fresh out of academia, looking forward to more creative ventures. With a love of current affairs, green tea and an ever insatiable wanderlust, Katie is ready to have her voice heard. Follow her @KatieAtSMF

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Rise of the Finstagram: The New Way To Hide Your 'Imperfections' Online Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, December 10, 2015 Rating: 5

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