There’s Instagram worthy, and then there’s Finstagram worthy. Finstagrams are all the rage (yes, still, even with the close friends feature). You can’t exactly post a video of beer pong to your perfectly curated influencer feed. Or you can. We’re not judging. 

But if the thought of that makes you reel back in horror, then a Finstagram might be for you. You may be asking WHAT IS A FINSTAGRAM and SHOULD I HAVE ONE? We’ll get onto what it is in a second, but you probably should have one. We did a simple cost-benefit analysis, and it turns out they’re a pretty good idea.

Keep reading to find out what a Finstagram is – and to get started in making your very own fake Instagram.

What Is A Finstagram?

Finstagram is short for “fake instagram.” Why do you need a fake Instagram, you ask? A finstagram exists for one reason and one reason only: it’s a place to be super messy on social media. That picture of you shotgunning a beer you don’t want your mom or any potential employers to see? Put it on your Finstagram. Popular with sorority girls everywhere, it’s like a behind-the-scenes version of your life. 

It’s Different Than Close Friends…

Finstagrams have gotten so popular as people deal with the pressures of social media for their authenticity and freedom. Nobody on Finstagram will judge you if you’re drunk in a story, if you get a little risque, or if your posts aren’t perfectly edited in Lightroom. 

If you often find yourself struggling with the boundaries of your influencer account, a Finstagram may be the answer you need. Sometimes you really just want to post a picture of your burrito, or you don’t want your mom asking questions about everything you post (yes, my mom does this). Time to get started on that private account… 

When Instagram rolled out the close friends feature in late December 2018, I thought we might be saying goodbye to Finstagram. But they’re going stronger than ever. I think there’s a few reasons for this. 

The first reason is there’s no accidental posting to a Finstagram. With a close friends list, you have to curate it, and it’s honestly pretty hard to keep track of. With a Finstagram, there’s no such danger. You know exactly who’ll see it because you’ve approved everyone to follow your account. 

Secondly, Finstagrams are bonafide Instagram accounts in their own right. Close friends only allows you to post to the story, where on a Finstagram you can save things for later. Since that’s what we love about Instagram in the first place, Finstagrams allow us to be messy together! 

How to Make a Finstagram

So, you’re on board. Now you want to know how to make a Finstagram. Here are X NUMBER of steps you have to follow when you make a Finstagram. 

  • #1: Make a private account.

If you love chaos, go ahead and make it public. But Finstagrams are generally hidden from the world for a reason. If you don’t want your mom to see it, best make a private account. You can do this by selecting “privacy options” on creation page. Or, if you already have an account and you want to make it private, go to your “settings and privacy.” 

  • #2: Choose a name that people won’t associate with you. 

The first time I made a Finstagram account, I made the mistake of using an old username people widely associated with me. Then I watched as follow requests from people I specifically did not want to know about my Finstagram poured in. When making your account, anonymity is key. You also have license to be as humorous or as risque as you want – just make sure it’s not your real name. You have your bio to let people know who you are. 

  • #3: Make sure they DO know who you are in your bio. 

It could be something as simple as a phrase you say a lot or something people associate with you, but your bio should give people a clue as to who you are. Otherwise, you could end up with no followers. And we’re here to see each other be messy, by Job. 

  • #4: Follow other Finstagrams. 

Chances are at least one of your friends has a Finstagram. Finstagrams are fun, but what’s not fun is having to watch the same stories on two different Instagram accounts. While it’s not exactly a follower purge, making sure you follow other Finstagrams will lead to a better overall Finstagram experience. 

How to Use Your Finstagram 

Congratulations! You’ve got a Finstagram! Now what do you post?

The short answer? Whatever the hell you want. You probably spend a lot of time and effort on your main account. Kiss that goodbye. You can upload whatever you please without worrying about how it looks, who will see it, annoying comments, or your precious engagement rate. A private account is literally just a space to have fun and upload as many coffee cup pictures as your heart desires.

Some of the things that have made it onto my Finstagram are snapshots from parties, opinions that wouldn’t be great for my career-focused main account, and works in progress of art or books that I can trust my friends not to share. Sometimes it’s also just nicer to share something with a smaller group of people!

It Has Some Serious Mental Benefits

I sometimes find myself getting very stressed about Instagram and how I am perceived on it. It kills me to think that there are two versions of myself that exist – me as I am, and me as other people see me. When social media comes into play, the identity crisis is only elevated. Every time I posted to Instagram, I felt like I was either oversharing or not sharing enough

When I made a Finstagram for the first time, I was really surprised by the amount of peace it brought me. Having a private account and a public account allows me to be really choosy about who follows me and which people I want to give access to my life. It’s made me re-evaluate who I trust and how often and well I set boundaries. And I don’t only use my Finstagram to show off parties or blow off steam. Since it’s a smaller pool of people to connect with, I feel like the relationships I foster on it are much more genuine than those on my public account. I care more.

I still love my public account – I love showing off my travel photos and talking about the books I love on it. But when it comes to showing off my authentic self and personal freedom, nothing beats my Finstagram.

Should You Have A Finstagram?

Having a Finstagram isn’t a huge commitment. If you make one and decide it’s not for you, that’s great! But the mental health benefits and the potential to avoid scandal can be pretty significant motivators in making one.

If you do decide to hop on the trend, make sure you follow the basics: make a private account that’s not recognizable but still shows off some of your personality. It doesn’t matter what you post to your Finstagram, but whatever you do, make it yours.