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. Click Create New Account.
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. Don't link to outside accounts.
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. Start posting.
Voila! Your Finsta is ready. You can now post pictures and videos, and invite your closest friends to follow you.
Did you know that celebrities make Finstas too? Last year, Bella Hadid created a Finsta account for her blonde alter ego named Rebekka Harajuku. The Instagram was similar to a normal influencer account, however, it featured Bella in disguise as the character she created.
This Finsta, managed by Riverdale star Cole Sprouse is where he posts pictures of people who take pictures of him. While he's not chronicling his life as he does on his more traditional Instagram, this account still shows off his humorous side.
Pammburglar is the Finsta identity of Pam Bump, a fellow HubSpot blogger. Because she loves fast-food, her Finsta name is a quirky combination of Pam and Hamburglar. On her Finsta, she posts photos and videos of events she attends, food, and travel. Along with posting about daily happenings, she also shares plenty of selfies and funny memes.
While her profile is private, you can scroll down to see a few Finsta picture examples that she's permitted for this post.
Finsta Post Ideas
Because Finsta's don't necessarily need to follow rules -- or social norms, you can express yourself with a variety of different posts. Here are two styles that are fairly common on Finstas.
While you might use your professional Instagram to show photos or videos of yourself networking, in the office, or talking about your company, you might want to share a lighter side of day, like lunchtime, on your Finsta.
In the post below, @Pammburglar, noted in the example above, enjoys a ginormous turkey leg.
In this post, @Pammburglar reminisces on the time she was "rejected" as a Starbucks model back in 2014. In reality, she was actually starring in a student produced film that took place at the coffee chain while in college.
Nostalgic throwback posts like these are both funny and interesting to people who have or haven't known you in the past.
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).
Editor's note: This post was published in November 2018, but was updated in October 2019 for comprehensiveness.