Request If You Want: CB’s Finsta Culture

Chances are, you already follow some sort of “finsta” account on Instagram, one of those accounts where people are at liberty to post whenever and whatever they want for an intentional following of their creation. While these “spam” accounts offer a different approach to the platform, why do they exist? Instagram is supposed to be […]

Chances are, you already follow some sort of “finsta” account on Instagram, one of those accounts where people are at liberty to post whenever and whatever they want for an intentional following of their creation. While these “spam” accounts offer a different approach to the platform, why do they exist? Instagram is supposed to be a place to post interests in the well sought after “grid-life,” yet posting on the platform has become not only daunting, but terrifying. 

If the point of instagram is to document your life, then why generate a second account on top of the main account? 

“Just to post stuff I didn’t want to post on my main, like you know, the embarrassing pictures,” Hailey Flores (‘23) says. 

Well, why post pictures you wouldn’t want others to see online? What would be the point of posting then?

“I only wanna post for a select group of people and not for my 1300 people.”

“Then why allow 1300 people to follow you then?” I ask.

Hailey pauses. I’ve stumped her. It seems as if she can’t answer. “That’s a good question,” she laughs. “I don’t know, ‘cause I like followers,” she smiles wryly. 

It seems as if we’ve entered a new digital age where being transactional has become the norm. We only post what’s “accepted” per social media etiquette, an unspoken but well known rule amongst teens.  A follow for a follow, a carefully hand crafted “dump” of 10 photos, a quick post soon sent to the archive. The amount of followers on a main account matters because we give it value, but that number doesn’t give us enough satisfaction and thus the second spam account is created.

We glorify the transaction for a number of reasons, but ultimately we do it because everyone else is doing it. It’s deemed cooler to have both a regular and spam account. If we all become sheep, then who’s leading the flock? Is this just the latest trend or is this where Instagram is heading?

The way people present themselves on a main account is controlled and meticulously filtered to the point of becoming more palatable for others to see. But maybe that’s just what social media is. We feel the need to be easier to understand and so in control of what others think of us because that’s the idea the app generates. The way we present ourselves online becomes watered down and worse, we become content with it. 

“Even if I lower the number of followers I have, they’re not all going to like the things I post,” Hailey says. So why keep those people in your life? If you willingly know they don’t care or would scroll past, then why allow them to follow you? A main Instagram account has become synonymous with reputation. We care too deeply about what others think of us, which has become so stretched out and even more true online.

“With my main account, I post what I think people want to see or wouldn’t mind seeing,” Hailey reflects. If we value our followers on a main account, then why do we feel like an intruder on that same account? If we constantly think that our social media presence is a hindrance to others, then evaluate why you are “connected” with your followers in the first place. Posting for others creates a skewed perception that is not only hard to maintain but an impossible idea to live by. The spam account exists because we feel isolated on a regular account, yet operating a spam account is still isolating.

A spam account is formed from the limitations of a regular account. Personalities are shielded online regardless of what type of account because we’re so afraid of judgment. Our “real selves” weren’t meant to exist online and is the reason why they come off as superficial.

“If you have people on your account that you just follow and they just follow you back, they’re not really your friends,” Cali Rapolla (‘23) states. If we recognize this mentality, then why is it still so defining and why do we let it define us? 

“That’s kind of sad when people unfollow me because then I think I post annoying stuff,” Hailey adds. If we post what we’re into, people will unfollow us anyway, so maybe making another account isn’t a bad idea. “I’m very conscious of what people think of me,” she continues. It’s a terrible feeling to be unwanted or ignored and makes you think, “what makes my life so uninteresting now that you don’t think that you should follow me?” Cali asks. Seeing your follower count dwindle makes you overthink, like there has to be something wrong with you to solicit the behavior.

“I want to have a little more of a relaxed environment where I don’t have to care so much about what I post,” Hailey adds. But at the same time, the purpose of the second account forms from being afraid of judgment. 

“Your main is what you frame it to look like but your finsta’s unfiltered,” Cali shares. The main account is such a limiting, uninviting, and controlled place where the mechanisms have already been drawn for you. There is no selection on a main account and is why most people don’t like having one. 

“I can be myself on my finsta,” Joaquin Hernandez (‘23) chimes in. A spam account is more fun to operate because the social media etiquette has suddenly disappeared, allowing personalities to exist freely. But at the same time, if you can only be your true self on a spam account, doesn’t that perpetuate the idea that being real online doesn’t exist? Generally, we think we present ourselves in the truest extent online, but we don’t. If we feel like we can’t post what we want when we want on a regular account, then how can we be so sure that we’re real online?

The idea of “making Instagram casual again” on a main account is a concept that would return the app to its former good graces. However, the idea of posting to be “more authentic” only manufactures authenticity. It’s no wonder that genuineness doesn’t exist because we cherry-pick only the good aspects of our life to show others online.

“I think Instagram followers are not curated to like your profile, [but] on your finsta, you’ve curated that following,” Cali says. A spam account’s entire appeal is to post what you wouldn’t want others to see on a main account tied with the same name. It’s a self-indulgent escape from the sinking feeling of a regular account that we social media users have only done to ourselves.

“It’s almost like a journal,” Joaquin shares. If a spam account operates as an online diary of sorts, then everyone should have one. Since a spam is made of close friends, “they’re people that I know will like my post and will give me the validation I need to keep posting,” Hailey mentions. You gain the satisfaction you crave on a main account but on a spam account.

In real life, we filter ourselves based on whom we’re with at that momement. The way we act with our teachers differs from our peers and they differ from our closest friends. Behaviors are hard to unlearn, especially when everyone else is doing it. A main account that is virtually blank allows the ability to reinvent yourself, a venue to express different personalities and allows change. It’s about wearing different hats and what hat we choose to wear today. So is it wrong to want another account to show a different side of yourself online? What’s one more hat?

Having a spam account is what Instagram should be like and is why most people enjoy posting on a separate account over a main account. The nonchalant posting and not caring who to post for is liberating, non-constricting, and releases the judgment most would receive on a main account. The days of keeping the right amount of followers is over and likes have lost their definition. 

The way media has been presented to us makes it near impossible to change our mindset, but it doesn’t mean we can’t alter how we use our accounts. Throughout this article, it feels like I’ve been trying to assign a blame to somebody, but in actuality, we’re all guilty. We shouldn’t want validation online, yet we yearn for it. Instagram is warped mostly because the system sustains a lack of authenticity but also because we’re doing the warping. Things that interest you should be on an account regardless of who follows, but at least people are having fun posting again.

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