Teenagers today are hyper aware of their online persona, to the extent that they are creating private fake accounts, to avoid damaging it. We partnered with sixteen year old James, a member of The Love Network, to explore how young people are using Instagram and setting up two accounts – a RINSTA (Real Instagram) and FINSTA (Fake Instagram) or Spam Account – as means of managing their online persona.
The Spam account is often private and gives teens the opportunity to be themselves and mess around, without the fear of damaging their identity with their wider peer group, family, or future employers. Followers are best friends or members of a close-knit group of friends.
FINSTA, ironically, is where the 'real self' exists. Within this Spam world, friends make decisions, influence one another, and communicate freely and honestly.
Rules for FINSTA:
- Be yourself. Say what you want.
- Have a laugh, free of the worry of social correctness. Swearing is allowed.
- Post as often as you like. Spam your followers, without fear of a reputation attack.
- The picture doesn't have to look good. No need for 50 edits. Just post. Zero worry.
- The normal follower: Following ratio doesn't apply here – follow celebrities and brands without the anxiety of being universally liked.
A RINSTA account reflects the online persona teens want to show the wider world. Heavily curated and thought over – the Real Instagram account is considered the public self you wouldn’t have any problem showing to your Mum or future employer.
Images are considered for a couple of days before posting. Multiple filters and image-editing tools are part of the toolkit. A 'near' perfect self is presented on RINSTA.
Rules of RINSTA:
- The picture must look good.
- No, or less swearing. Avoid being offensive.
- More followers than following. Keep that balance tight.
- RINSTA is all about getting loads of likes. Do everything you can to ensure that.
- Posting more than twice a day is never ok. It’s annoying.
“I love acting. It’s so much more real than life.” - Oscar Wilde