Why Generation Z are choosing 'Finsta' over 'Insta'

By Jessica Sherwood
BBC News

image copyrightJamie H
image captionJamie has a less flattering image on his Finstagram account (R)

Generation Z have grown up online, accustomed to self-producing their own online identity.

With constant exposure to edited influencers and viral tags like #HotGirlSummer and #FlauntYourWealth, it's easy to feel that when it comes to Instagram your feed has to rise to the occasion.

Many young people are turning to the underground trend of "Finstagram", to relieve the pressures of perfection.

Instagram v Finstagram

But what is Finstagram and how is it different from Instagram?

First of all, it's not a new app. A Finsta or a Finstagram is a second account users make to show their "real lives" to a small group of followers.

image copyrightJamie H
image captionJamie enjoys posting memes on his Finsta which are less serious than his public Instagram

"I made a Finsta a couple of years ago," Jamie, 22, from Leicester told the BBC. "I got a bit bored of the whole selfie-centric ego trip of my main account.

"When I get close to someone, I'll follow them on it so they're able to find the account," he said. "Then it's all banter from there.

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"On my Finsta, the content ranges from embarrassing photos that I wouldn't dream of sharing on my main account, to memes and photos of my younger self," Jamie said.

"Finsta made Instagram much more relaxed and enjoyable for me. I'm able to be my silly self with my friends, while still maintaining my image on the other account."

Escaping the pressure of the Instagram world

Jamie believes that everyone online compartmentalise their life more than they would care to admit.

"There is definitely a lot of pressure to look cool and sexy on Instagram. I try to present myself in a really attractive light as Intagram is a really popular dating opportunity in the gay community and meeting people can be tough especially in less metropolitan areas like the one where I live.

image copyrightJamie H
image captionJamie posts fun content like this outtake from Brighton Pride which differs from his holiday photos

"My main Instagram is used to present myself in a certain way," Jamie said. "I'm a cool sophisticated student who goes on holidays, buys nice things and has a fab social life.

"In reality that isn't completely accurate. Really I'm up to my eyes in deadlines and barely have the time or money to leave the house, let alone jet set across the world and drink pretty cocktails."

'You can look back on funny photos and laugh'

Although Finsta is a means of escapism, for Jolyon, 21, from Hertfordshire, it's also a means to share funny photos with selected friends.

"Finsta is a place you can just post freely," he said. "If you post a lot on your Finsta only your closest friends are going to see it and they won't care, they'll probably laugh."

image copyrightJolyon W
image captionJolyon's real Instagram at Tough Mudder differs from him taking funny photos on a weekend away

Jolyon started his Finsta in 2017 and admits he posts on it more than his main Instagram account.

"Finsta is just honestly way more fun. It's a good place to store all the things you just want your close friends to remember so you can all look back together and laugh."

'Instagram is the first impression people have'

Jolyon's Instagram and his Finsta serve very different purposes.

"Public Instagrams are much more serious, it is the first impression of you that everyone will have," he said.

image copyrightJolyon W
image captionJolyon's "night-out" photos with friends look very different on both accounts

"When someone speaks about you to someone new they will always pull up your Insta. That's the place where you will look your best," he said.

"It's the holiday photos, the best ones of you so you can create the best impression.

"With your Finsta you don't have to care about that. It's private, if it's a bad photo of you or an inside joke, you're happy with who can see it."

'I liked the aesthetic but wanted to show my fun side'

For Lizzy, 23, from Birmingham, making a Finsta account was a way she could poke fun at herself and separate her work life from her home one.

image copyrightLizzy R
image captionLizzy knows the art of how to take a good photo but enjoys her Finsta to show her funny side

"My job is very social-media based. It's important for my normal account to look clean and professional," she said. "My main account is to interact with people professionally and create content that shows a professional image of myself."

"The stuff I post on my Finsta is content I wouldn't want to be shared to people I'm not close to, it's content I provide to make my friends and family laugh. Only my close friends and my brother can see.

"I think everyone has that fear of being judged. Everyone has to look perfect on Instagram and always having the time of their live, which isn't always true.

image copyrightLizzy R
image captionLizzy often jokes on her Finsta captioning the photo on the right "the start of the night v the end"

"I actually think it's helped me to start to care less about what people think of me on social media," she said. "It's got to the point now when I'll film a story for my Finsta, and actually share it on my personal page as well."

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