Madison Polkowitz / Gavel Media

The Authenticity of "Fake" Instagram

Maybe you’ve got a follower count in the thousands, or your Instagram posts follow a strict color gradient. No matter what your personal social media flair is, odds are the number of likes and comments a post receives is highly important to you. Without likes and comments, social media accounts are seemingly pointless. In the end, it all comes down to what your posts say about you and how people react to them.

“Rinstas,” real instas, come with a certain pressure to impress. When people are living their lives, whether they’re on vacation, at a concert, or spending time outdoors, there tends to be a lingering question in the back of their minds: how do I get the best picture possible? Instead of enjoying the present moment, they hide behind a phone screen, picking the perfect picture, editing it, and checking compulsively to see how many likes it’s getting.

The snapshots that people choose to show off their lives on their rinstas have to be picture perfect. But “Finstas,” fake instas, are entirely different.

When it comes to Finsta, no one agonizes about the perfect caption or whether or not they look awkward in a picture. Finstas are home to ugly seflies, weird Snapchat filters, and long rants about the realest struggles of life. In other words, they present the parts of life that most people wouldn’t want to publicize.

While there is still thought that goes into finsta posts, there is no obligation to be perfect. Fake Instagram is one of the few social media outlets where it doesn’t matter how many followers, likes, or comments a post receives. For the most part, people post finstas because they want to for themselves, not for their followers.

The irony in a “fake” Instagram is that it usually presents a person’s most authentic self. It’s strange to think that the posts we don’t want public are the ones that show our realest selves, and the ones we do want public show edited, cropped versions of us. In creating a finsta, you are embracing that there’s another, more open side to you that your rinsta doesn’t capture.

The personal feel of finstas can be almost therapeutic. On your finsta, the stakes aren’t so high. If people want to post something, they can do so without worrying about conforming to any preconceived notions of what a post should be like. The need for validation is gone when a post is only being shared with a tight-knit group of people.

Most people use Instagram to present the best parts of their lives, editing their pictures to make their lives seem almost perfect. But it’s comforting to know that, even in the vastness of the Internet, there is a spot for us to present our lives as we really live them.

Despite being born New Jersey, I’m kind of a big deal. Thankful for the meaningful things in my life, like Sufjan Steven lyrics and pasta.