Finstas are not dead; here's proof!

Karishma Jangid
New Update

Are finstas truly a thing of the past or are they quietly thriving beneath the surface of curated social media feeds? We explore the relevance of these private havens!

In the bustling world of Instagram, there's a quiet spot called Finsta. It's like your secret clubhouse on the app, only for your closest buddies. Here, you can be your real self and post whatever you fancy – funny faces, personal moments, or just plain fun stuff. And the best part? It's like wearing a disguise online – nobody knows it's you unless you tell them. Finstas give you a place to be yourself without any pressure to look perfect. Many journalists have written finstas off. Despite rumours of its demise, finstas are far from bygone. While some may attribute its decline to Instagram's evolving features like Close Friends and trends that let you be authentic on your public account, we beg to differ. We believe finstas continue to thrive as an indication of our inherent desire for genuine connection and self-expression. 

Also Read: Academic excellence vs. unrealistic beauty standards: The story of Prachi Nigam

And we come bearing evidence!

Safety and privacy

One of the primary reasons, even acknowledged by Maslow's hierarchy, is safety. Concerns about safety on social media are as persistent as shadows. And let's be honest, Instagram's safety features often come into play after something has already happened. Filmmaker Shadan Syed first created his finsta as a response to bullying. "I was bullied during my college days and had to block them to escape the toxicity. But they continued talking about me publicly. So, I made my finsta to keep an eye on them. Although the conflict was only resolved after a face-to-face confrontation, the finsta allowed me to confront my bullies without revealing my true identity." Privacy has been a necessity too; only on his finsta does Shadan share pictures of himself and his partner. Similarly, concerned about privacy and safety from prying eyes, if make-up artist Neha needs to keep something hidden from someone for specific reasons, she shares it on her finsta. "I share things about my relationship there or if I go out without informing my mother, I share stuff about the day there. It's comforting to have a space to share pictures freely."

Break from validation

Social media often feeds our hunger for approval. For content creators, whose work revolves around likes and shares, this struggle can be even more intense. In this environment, finstas can offer a much-needed break. As a content creator, Pulkit Kochar misses being able to share his photos with a close friend or small group, "a place where I can post whatever I want without worrying about filters or captions or what will be popular. When you're a creator, you get caught up in seeking validation and caring too much about likes. You start wondering if your photos are even good enough to be considered content.” On finsta, though, these worries don’t plague him. “Jaise maine sky ki photo khichi, mujhe achchi lagi, main post kar deta hu. Main ye nahi sochta ke shayad koi nahi dekhna chahega ya koi mujhe unfollow na kar de.” 

Fear of judgement

Fear can be a big reason why people turn to finsta too - fear of being judged or not feeling safe. As Neha puts it, "Having a finsta gave me the freedom to post what I want without any fear of judgy eyes. I allow only my close ones there who I know won’t judge me." Pulkit also shares his experience, saying, "I really like singing. But I'm not the best singer out there to pursue it professionally. So, I put a Reel of me singing on my finsta. I feel less judged. Moreover, I feel comfortable singing around my friends only."

Rinsta vs finsta: Forming an image 

Journalist, Sneha Medda discusses her contrasting personas on her "rinsta" (real Instagram) versus her "finsta" (fake Instagram). If someone follows her on both her accounts, they can clearly see the difference in personality that both the accounts have. "My main account is exclusively for all my 'clean' activities. That doesn't mean it lacks any depth or character. It just so happens that I am very selective about who I share my crazy side with. My finsta has more nuances to it as my followers, i.e., my best friends, get to experience all the layers of 'Sneha'.” Reflecting on this duality, Nirajara adds, “I treat my main account like an image I put out of myself and my private as who I am. So I post semi-curated stories/posts on my main account. But on my private account, I post anything I like or want to say or share.”


Now, some might argue that the Close Friends story feature serves the same purpose as finsta. Why bother with a separate account? But I disagree. On my finsta, I often look back at all the fun, beautiful, carefree pictures I've posted. It feels wholesome. You can’t look at stories as a catalogue. Sneha had a similar experience. "I remember my first post on my finsta. It was captioned 'Felt cute, might delete later (not)'. It may seem silly, but it set the tone for my finsta. My finsta captures everything – daily or monthly dumps, personal memes, daily activities, current obsessions, celebrity crushes, friends, and sometimes even heartfelt poems I write. These posts usually don't make it to my public account because they're either too raw for the general audience or too personal to share with the world. I simply post whatever I find funny, silly, or reflective of my personality. My finsta is like the 'bloopers' reel of my life." Neha adds, "My favourite part is not having to worry about having a consistent aesthetic or editing anything."

Mental health

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, finstas can contribute to better mental health. There's definitely fewer eyes on you and your activities., according to Neha. "Having a public account means everything that you do - post, comment, and even like - is open to the public's eyes; that can be negative to your mental health. Having that space to rant and not caring for myself (how I look or how I am acting) is relieving. It allows me to have a break from being a curated person, from posting on my main account, and being in the corporate world." Not having to worry about blocking your relatives or posting without fear is also needed. Neha has had a terrible relationship with one of her family members, the only one she has. "It makes me feel a bit better when I rant about them in my finsta posts and close friends' stories. It helps me stay a little sane at times, honestly.”

In conclusion, finstas are like secret hideaways on Instagram, offering relief from the stress of always looking perfect online. Finstas give people the chance to be genuine without any pressure. They're where you can be yourself, keep memories, and even feel better mentally. And perhaps these reasons will ensure that finstas will remain relevant for the foreseeable future. However, let's also remember the sobering reality that finstas aren't immune to misuse. Just as they offer a safe space for genuine expression, anonymous accounts can also be exploited for nefarious purposes like stalking or trolling. Therefore, it's essential to use our finstas responsibly because as they say, with great freedom comes great responsibility! It is upon each user to ensure that our digital hideaways remain free from the evil of misuse. Let's keep our finstas as they are- havens of authenticity and connection.

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