I first heard the term "Finsta" from my 16-year-old cousin. She had just taken a ridiculous selfie of herself, and had declared it "Finsta-worthy".
When I asked what she meant, she explained a "Finsta" is a fake Instagram, or a "Finstagram" (shortened for cool factor, probably).
"But … Why do you need a fake Instagram account? Isn't one enough?" I asked her.
She showed me her real Instagram account -- a perfect, edited collage of great moments with high school friends, her prom date, and vacation shots with family.
"My real Instagram account is kind of fake -- like, only pictures of my 'best' life," My cousin explained. "I use my Finsta to share funny, inside jokes with my closest friends. My real Instagram has like, 400 followers. My fake one only has like, eight."
As you probably already know, Instagram is often used as an opportunity to present an "ideal" life to your followers -- even if that life is, in fact, a poor representation of reality. It's not the place to post embarrassing photos, or unedited "I just woke up" selfies.
However, Instagram's mirage of perfect, well-filtered lives doesn't always lend itself to happiness. For instance, one recent study found a correlation between the amount of strangers you follow, and depressive symptoms including fearfulness, loneliness, or fatigue. Unfortunately, Instagram can lead users to feel their lives aren't good enough, compared to everyone else's (edited) ones.
Which is why Finsta's might not be such a bad idea. Ultimately, a Finsta is a chance to share a goofier, less-edited version of yourself with a trustworthy group of friends -- and for those friends to see less 'perfect' posts, and more real ones.
Ironically, a "Fake Instagram" just might be a solution to feelings of inadequacy on the platform, as friends learn to share more honest stories about their lives -- the good, and the bad. If you want to learn how to make a Finsta for yourself, keep reading.
What's a Finsta?
A Finsta is a shortened term for Fake Instagram, which is an Instagram account used by teens and young adults to document more real, candid posts they share with only close friends. Oftentimes, an Instagram account is used to curate a public collage of edited images for upwards of hundreds or thousands of followers. By contrast, a Finsta is a private account only followed by 10-20 people. A Finsta allows users to post more funny, unedited snapshots of their daily lives, or share inside-joke moments with friends.
How to Make a Finsta
Creating a Finsta is a simple process. However, before you begin adding an additional account, you'll want to brainstorm a unique username that doesn't use your real first or last name -- additionally, you'll want to make sure you don't use a real photo of yourself as your profile picture. Remember, your Finsta should be impossible to find unless you share the username with friends.
To create a Finsta, follow these easy steps:
1. Open your Instagram account, and click the three-line icon in the top right.
2. At the bottom of "Settings", click "Add Account".
3. At the bottom of the next page, click "Sign Up" to create your new account.
4. Next, input your phone number.
5. Once you input your phone number, a box will pop-up to ask whether you'd like to log into the account you already have. Click "Create New Account" to continue creating your Finsta.
6. Next, add your username. Remember, you don't want to use your real first and last name here. Instead, consider coming up with a clever username only good friends will understand.
7. Skip the option to link your Finsta to your Facebook account (which could make it easier to link the Finsta to you). Add a profile picture, then click "Next".
8. Voila! Your Finsta is ready. You can now post pictures and videos, and invite your closest friends to follow you.
To ensure random followers can't find your Finsta, and to keep it private amongst close friends, you'll want to create a fake name for your Finsta account.
A website called SpinXO offers a free tool that helps generate potential Finsta names based on your name or nickname, hobbies, interests, or other random words or numbers.
For instance, without inputting any of my own information, SpinXO initially offered these random Finsta names:
Alternatively, you might brainstorm a unique Finsta account name by considering inside jokes you share with your friends, or TV shows or movies only your good friends know you like. You'll want to avoid using any abbreviation of your first or last name, and try to be as obscure as possible.
For instance, if I were making a Finsta (which, trust me, I'm not), I might call it "Buttercup", the name of my cat (on second thought … a lot of people have heard me talk about Buttercup. So, scratch that).
Originally published Nov 27, 2018 6:00:00 AM, updated November 27 2018