‘Finsta’ accounts allow people to be more open and creative than they would be in real life. Here’s why they’re taking off in lockdown.
Instagram is by far the most popular social media app, but it’s also the one that is most effective in creating a feeling of isolation among its users. Scrolling down your Instagram feed can feel like everyone you know is beautiful, involved in a loving relationship, constantly traveling and living their best lives. No wonder people are choosing to carve out richer spaces for their mental health.
‘Finsta’ is a term that has become more popular across generations. Short for “fake Instagram,” these accounts started out with celebrities who wanted to keep their privacy and teens trying to hide their “real” accounts from their parents. But now, they’re common for people of all ages. They’re usually kept private and can be used in different ways, from groups chats to posting unflattering photos and, more recently, showing off skills picked up in isolation.
It makes a lot of sense for people to find ways of expressing themselves online when there’s a pandemic going on. The stress and boredom in the current situation has increased our already high use of social media. During the first months of the pandemic, it was very common to see a lot of users taking up Instagram challenges, from drawing carrots on their screens, to doing push-ups, to then doing more Instagram Lives and joining TikTok. Anything to starve off boredom.
“People are turning to screens and technology to get their social needs met that they can’t get in ‘real life.'” psychology professor Chris Ferguson tells Business Insider.
Now that social distancing guidelines are lifting and people are coming to terms with the fact that they’ll likely be spending more alone time than usual, there’s been a rise of Instagram accounts dedicated to hobbies.
Bustle reports that some people are choosing to create side accounts in order to avoid crowding other people’s feeds. “Not everyone is going to want to look at my food every night, I know that,” explains one user. “I like the idea of putting this kind of content out there into an anonymous space, it makes me feel more creative and open and there’s this sense of possibility, like I might connect with someone I don’t know who finds my page because we share the same interests.”
These side accounts are spaces where people can feel like they’re doing something productive with their time, whether that’s cultivating a hobby or developing a new way to connect people with their business. It helps that social media is a place for socialization and connectivity, which is what we’re craving most of.