How creating a Finsta eased my social media anxieties

My mind in all its rationality knows that nothing in social media reflects the fullness of life. Life is messy and you can’t color-grade your way through the EDSA traffic and the MRT hustle. Life is both beautiful and dirty, and that’s cool. But being repeatedly exposed to face-tuned images and skies made from Lightroom has somehow messed this up for me.

I just needed a break. Social media suddenly became this green-eyed villain and I’ve decided to run away from it. An amazing coping mechanism, I know. It has been three months now since I have denounced social media. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter–nada. I would have to remind my friends that I was on a sabbatical when they ask me to share their stuff online.

Social media suddenly became this green-eyed villain and I’ve decided to run away from it.

I had to cut myself off from social media. To be more specific, I just had to cut myself off from carefully curated images of unattainable perfection. That’s when I discovered finsta accounts.

My friends have been consistently talking about having a ‘finsta,’ and for the longest time, I’ve always just pretended to know what it is. One fateful afternoon while staring at the void, my friend once again mentions ‘finsta’ and it suddenly just clicked: “Ah, finsta. Fake Instagram.”

Finsta is a portmanteau of ‘fake’ and ‘Instagram’- a counterpart to the rinsta, your real Instagram. If you’re still having trouble picturing what a finsta might look like, remember Lorde’s onion ring review account on Instagram? That my friends are an example of a finsta.

Now having anxiety gives you days where you’d be very much grateful to avoid any human contact. I am quite the extrovert, but when an episode hits, it hits very bad. For two days, I locked myself in my room. I was void of any human interaction except for my Food Panda delivery man.

Finsta is a portmanteau of ‘fake’ and ‘Instagram’- a counterpart to the rinsta, your real Instagram.

In that isolation, the idea of finsta grazed the traffic of thoughts within my mind. I downloaded Instagram back again and made an account under a weird name and username. I uploaded 30 images in one sitting. And let me tell you, that was the most eventful thing I did in those two days.

Having a finsta for some odd reason made me happy. And mind you, the images I uploaded weren’t even deemed “InstaWorthy.” Here’s a summary of my fintsa feed: 60% Virgo memes, 20% mirror selfies, and 20% miscellaneous. These miscellaneous photos include a dryer, a chocolate cake stain on my comforter and raindrops on a car window, among others.

Having a finsta enables me to have an environment of unstaged vulnerability- unfiltered and possibly scandalous.

I had zero followers in my finsta and it gave me a sense of relief being able to document these silly content. For whatever reason it was that I posted anything, it definitely didn’t have to come from external gratification. I also didn’t have to explain myself to anyone why there’s a photo of discarded plastic bags on my feed. It was nothing like an epiphany to stop using plastic bags or a shady photo towards people acting plastic. It was just a plastic bag on my feed, like a doodle on your math notebook when you actually feel like dozing off.

I posted what I wanted and that sense of freedom was exhilarating. I wasn’t checking my phone for likes or comments. It was just like a plain old diary, albeit digital, reserved for me. It was a space where I could post anything without having to explain myself to anyone. Having a finsta enables me to have an environment of unstaged vulnerability- unfiltered and possibly scandalous.

People are heavily judged on how they present themselves on the internet in the age of personal branding and filters. Finsta accounts may be one of the few quiet spaces available in the digital realm. I may not be a celebrity, but having a finsta account has definitely helped me relieve the pressure of projecting an image of someone who never has breakdowns on her kitchen floor.

 It feels great to have your own little club in a digital world that values you on the density of the numbers that scale your profile.

Three days after making my finsta account, I now have 13 followers. They are the three of my closest friends, five finsta accounts of my good friend, and five finsta accounts from online friends. It feels great to have your own little club in a digital world that values you on the density of the numbers that scale your profile.

Read also: Meet the Filipino moderators removing horrors from our feed in “The Cleaners”

Having a private finsta has been helping me disconnect from a self-made brand. It is but a quiet space of reassurance and validation far from the romanticized delusions of face-tuned selfies and skies made from Lightroom. I’m glad that technology as a green-eyed villain has morphed into a friendly bear to keep me company. I just have to keep reminding myself that nothing in itself is inherently good nor bad, and that includes technology.

Art by Renz Mart Reyes

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