Following the Finsta


Sam Nelson

Some students at LHS have taken to creating group finstas with their friends. The purpose of these group finstas is to post funny and private photos that these users want shared between themselves and their private following.

@Pamulas.spamula (a fake account) posts a picture on one of her Instagram accounts of her with completely sunburnt shoulders and her “I Heart Jamaica” clothes on while on vacation. She has posted on her finsta.

 Five minutes later, she posts a picture of herself with her hair in the wind and a black-and-white filter applied (to hide the burn); there’s an iconic landmark in the background and the perfect caption beneath the photo. This is posted on her real Instagram or “rinsta.”

Over the past couple years, there has been a rise of fake Instagrams, more commonly called “finstas,” which are accounts with pictures that a person wouldn’t typically post on their real Instagram. A real Instagram features manicured posts with filters to get the most likes, whereas finstas are platforms to express the more authentic nature of people, as well as the less-filtered side of a user’s life.

Since Instagram’s launch in 2010, many people, specifically teenagers, have used Instagram as a way to show off highlights of their lives. In 2015, the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that about 73 percent of teens between the ages of 13 to 17 have Instagram accounts.

Many of these teenagers have also recently made finstas for various reasons: Sometimes for posting drug and alcohol content, sometimes for vlogging or sometimes just to post funny things to make people laugh. Finstas can be an outlet for a person to be their true selves and not to post about the perfect life that is expected from so many people this day and age.  

Some finstas aren’t owned by just one user; group finstas have become popular as well. For example, juniors Jake Duffy, Milica Lukic, Ally McLean, and Hannah Thurau, all have a finsta together. They said they post funny things that they have done together, as well as memes and pictures of them crying. When asked what the point of a group finsta was, McLean responded, “What better way to show our friendship [than] through a joint Instagram?”

Another member of that group, Thurau, agreed, and she also thought that their joint account “expresses [their] true selves.”

Some users have also posted vlogs, or video blogs, on their accounts. Sophomore Kenzie Ferrell has been vlogging since she started her finsta the beginning of her freshman year. She said that her finsta feed is her “vlog[ing] about funny things and [her] life.”

Typically, these “fake” accounts are private. Finstas usually have fewer followers than rinstas because usually, finsta owners only let their friends follow them. Although, Ferrell said, “I pretty much let anyone [follow my finsta] because I don’t post inappropriate things, but I know a lot of girls keep their finstas private.”

Many keep the follower amount to a minimum because they post things about other people or display illicit use of drugs and alcohol.

Freshman Cole Landmeier, via email, said that because he has fewer followers on his finsta: “My rinsta will probably get four times the amount of likes, but my rinsta also has six times the amount of followers.”

The smaller amount of followers also creates a way for people to post things that are about other people, like gossip. Ferrell has noticed when “people are in a fight with someone, they will say ‘I hate them’ on their finsta.”

Most people, if they do say something about someone else, don’t typically reveal the name of that person, but other times people will say the name. Angela Nowak, another sophomore with a popular finsta account, said that finstas are an outlet to “say, ‘Oh, this person is bothering me.’”

Sam Nelson
The rise of finstas has partly been caused by the desire of some students to post about drinking and drugs; accounts depicting such behaviors are called “sinstas.” Teenagers make these accounts private and only allow certain friends to follow them, knowing they will be posting things such as them drinking and doing drugs.

In addition to gossip on finstas, another thing seen is the use of illegal drugs and underage drinking. There are users who show their use of drugs and alcohol through videos or pictures of them under the influence. Sometimes these posts can get reported through Instagram and are deleted, but other times, they are seen by all the followers on that person’s finsta.  These types of finstas can also be called “sinstas” or “sin Instagrams.”

One senior girl, who asked to remain anonymous because of the illegal content on her account, explained that she posts things on her finsta so only her friends can see her private pictures. Another factor why she keeps her finsta protected is because of the fact that colleges may find the risky posts. To protect herself from colleges viewing these illicit pictures, she said, “My profile picture is not a picture of me and the only people who follow me are people who I know.”

A junior female student, who requested anonymity to protect her privacy, commented, “I only let my friends [follow me] because I mostly post drugs and alcohol stuff.”

The senior girl, who has posted about being under the influence of alcohol, stated, “I don’t like to take videos of myself because I don’t like that, but I typically have pictures of me from the end of the night, so when I am not looking too cute.”

The female junior said that she got in trouble last year for stuff she posted on her finsta: “My parents found my finsta…I don’t know how they got on it,” she said. “I am guessing from my sister’s phone, since there is so much stuff on it, and I had to delete my finsta for a while and get a new one.”

Finstas can also allow users to rant about everyday life, like school, friend problems and more. Vi Carbello, a sophomore who has a finsta with about 330 followers, said that she thinks that finstas are super helpful as a source to talk out problems and get the support needed from friends.

Finstas not only can help people get support but also help people get advice on daily problems. Nowak said that she gets opinions from her followers on her finsta. She has received opinions on her Turnabout and Homecoming dress decisions to everyday outfit choices.

There are an endless variety of topics and things that can be done of finstas, which create a way for many students to be connected to peers.  As Ferrell explained, finstas are “to have fun with. It makes people laugh.”


Editors’ note: Although the topics of underage drinking and illicit drug use are mentioned in this article, Drops of Ink does not condone or promote the behavior discussed here, given that, for all students under the ages of 21 and 18, respectively, such activities are illegal. Since illegal activities and actions that go against the Code of Conduct are discussed in this article, all individuals interviewed were granted anonymity, aside from their grade and gender. The picture of a student drinking features a non-LHS student who legally drinking an alcoholic beverage since he is 21 years old.