Scrolling through Instagram, among the pictures of sunset hikes and fraternity formals are pictures which are a little more insidious in nature: a drunk girl on top of a crushed piñata, a girl at a party posing next to a hole she made in the wall, and a naked dude smoking weed in a forest with the caption “Naked n clearly afraid.” It is quite easy to distinguish the “finsta” from the “rinsta,” with the former being the more uncensored and humorous profile, which stands for “fake Instagram” and the latter being one’s more refined, polished, and public profile.
“A finsta is an Instagram account separate from your original account where it is very much your choice as to who gets to see it and why they get to see it,” said senior Cassie Cohen. “It seems like a more shameless version of what you’re putting out.” As a finsta user, Cohen who primarily uses a finsta for random thoughts. “It’s like ‘welcome to the inside of my head.’ It’s really a blast.”
Common themes on the finsta are drinking, partying, and, specifically for seniors, the SWUG. “In the senior stratosphere, there’s this sort of image of the SWUG, or the Senior Washed Up Girl, which sounds really bad but really it’s like something to own and live and thrive in,” said Cohen.
“My senior friends often post about drinking in a playful way, or really owning it, like doing it in a way that’s glorifying the fact that you just don’t give a f–k.” Many finsta users find the finsta liberating in the sense that you don’t have to censor yourself when posting to a small audience of just friends.
“There’s only like forty people following it and you get to choose who they are. And sometimes people take a lot of liberty and freedom in that.”The finsta is also a more unfiltered connection with your friends as opposed to the rinsta. “I got it in college so I can keep my friends back home updated on my life with pictures and things like that so they can see what’s going on,” said first-year Teddy Crimmins, “It’s usually funny stuff I wouldn’t necessarily put on my regular Instagram. Also, I can post more on it than on my rinsta.” Crimmins likes the finsta because it is a much more unfiltered representation of one’s personality than one’s real Instagram. “I don’t think there is a typical post, which is what makes them so funny, because they are all kind of unique,” he added.
“You really see the personality of the person in their posts, whereas a regular Instagram would conform to what other people tend to post. People aren’t scared to post less typical content.”
While the finsta seems to be the unfiltered, careless remedy to the image-purporting and put together rinsta profile, it can still be a way to create a certain image. In Crimmins’ eyes: “In looking to seem more real, people can still be fake. They are trying to put on this personality still, and they do tailor it to make themselves look like a specific type of person.” Finsta critics claim that finstas are a mode for users to try to come off as quirky or as a party animal when that is not necessarily who they are.
For some, the finsta is a protest to the rinsta—an unfiltered and offhand profile that is more true to the user. For others, the finsta is another profile to develop an image, one of a wild party animal, or a quirky and carefree student.
Either way, the phenomenon of the finsta is entertaining to say the least, giving Instagram users a new way to portray their wild nights and silly thoughts without the pressure of a big audience.