What the heck is a Finsta?


In a recent post, we looked at why generation Z spends so much time creating posts for various social media networks. Centennials curate their public accounts, specifically Instagram, so that the world sees only the best version of themselves.  Photos that don’t generate enough likes and comments are often deemed unworthy and quickly removed.  These well-groomed accounts are referred to as “Rinsta” accounts.  Rinsta is a combination of the words “real” and “Instagram.”   This is the Instagram account they share publically with parents, relatives, peers, etc.   For example, if I were to ask you what your child’s Instagram profile name is, this is the account you most likely tell me.   

Teens and young adults often maintain a second Instagram account. Centennials learned from the mistakes of the previous generation.  They grew up hearing stories of Millennials who didn’t get into a particular college, didn’t get a scholarship, got let go from a job, or dealt with issues in life based on poor choices related to their social media posts.   This presented a significant challenge for a generation that prefers to communicate socially.  How can you share authentic, goofy, sometimes questionable posts without getting yourself in trouble?  Fake Instagram accounts were the answer.  

A Finsta account, or “Fake Instagram,” is the place where kids share a more accurate portrayal of their lives.  Urban dictionary defines Finsta as “A fake Instagram account, so one can post ratchet pictures without persecution from sororities, jobs and society as a whole. Finstas aren’t supposed to be taken seriously and it doesn’t matter how many posts or followers one has.”   Secondary Instagram accounts have become so popular that the site released an update that made it easier to switch between accounts.

This photo from an article on Today shows a teen’s Instagram on the left and her “Finsta” on the right.


What does this mean to parents?
A teenager having a finsta account isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  These kids recognize that not everything should be shared for the world to see.  These accounts are mostly created for your teen’s inner circle.  Parents should be aware of these accounts, but I’d caution on “policing” these too much.  Your child could merely create a new account and redirect friends to the new name if they feel you’re too nosey or overprotective.   As with just about everything we discuss on Help @ Home, the best thing a parent can do is have an open conversation with about this.  

What does this mean to educators?
Similar to previous posts on this social media, this concept of multiple versions of one’s self online lays the groundwork for a fantastic conversation about digital citizenship.  Once the dialogue begins, educators could look at topics such as oversharing online, privacy concerns, and responsible social media use. Here are some questions to start the conversation in the classroom (or at home parents).

  • How many students have these secondary accounts?  
  • Do your parents know about your Finsta?
  • What prompted the creation of the account?  
  • What prompted the creation of the account?  
  • Do you believe you would get in trouble for the posts on this account?  




Help @ Home is free and is available to anyone. While the project is currently being sponsored by the Chagrin Falls Exempted School District, you do not have students in the district to sign up for this weekly communication.

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