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- Generation Z is all about Instagram.
- Business Insider’s survey of 1,884 young Americans found that Instagram was the most popular social media platform among Gen Z.
- But social pressures and career obligations encourage many of these young people to compartmentalize their online presence.
- This phenomenon has given rise to the “finsta” account.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
We’re all told to be ourselves from an early age. It’s a nice thought, but true authenticity comes with both risks and rewards in the public sphere.
If we’re being honest, most of us only really unwind and get weird around those we’re closest to. The members of Gen Z are no different, despite their penchant for documenting their lives on social media.
The teens have found a workaround when it comes to oversharing with virtual strangers. They deal with social-media-related stress by compartmentalizing different aspects of their lives through multiple Instagram accounts.
Instagram is perhaps the most important online platform for young people today. Business Insider’s survey of 1,884 Americans between the ages of 13 and 21 found that 64.59% of respondents check Instagram every single day. The Facebook-owned, image-based platform blew every other social-media site out of the water, aside from YouTube, which trailed close behind with 62.48% of respondents saying they check it on a daily basis.
- Shayanne Gal/Business Insider
Business Insider spoke with sisters Aynour and Perry Elkasaby – ages 20 and 15, respectively – about their experiences on Instagram. They spoke of feeling compelled to accept followers they don’t know very well. For members of Gen Z, unfollowing a person or refusing to give out your handle to an acquaintance could be perceived as rude.
“You’re forced into having to share your life with that person,” Aynour told Business Insider. “You’re putting your life out there in pictures and videos.”
Perry added: “It’s personal because you don’t even know these people, and yet you’re already letting them see what you let your friends see.”
Perry said she mitigated this by deleting all of her old Instagram posts and focusing on the more evanescent Snapchat. But Aynour chose to stick with Instagram, establishing three distinct accounts to toggle between her work Instagram, her “regular” Instagram, and a “finsta,” or fake Instagram.
Splitting accounts into different categories can mitigate how acquaintances, friends, and work connections view you. You might not want a stranger or your potential employer to see that hilarious photo of you from spring break, but that’s still an experience you’d like to share with your friends. Or you might not want to bombard your friends with career-related posts, but you’d still like to showcase your accomplishments.
Aynour, who is interested in interior design, says that her professional Instagram allows her to showcase her work, functioning a bit like an online portfolio that you can link to on your résumé.
Her main Instagram account is where she can post “cool stuff,” whether she’s expressing her sense of style or sharing a beautiful shot from a family vacation. But it’s not the platform for letting loose.
“Instagram is a lot of work,” Aynour told Business Insider. “People dedicate so much time to it. You want to post the best things that you’re doing, what you’re eating, where you’re going.”
And then there’s her finsta, which Aynour describes as “really just Instagram the way it should be.” It’s an account reserved for absurdity, memes, and fun.
“I have 20 people on my finsta,” Aynour said. “Those are people who are really close to me, who I can post silly things for.”