Here comes an unintended consequence, or maybe it isn’t unintended. Starting this week, you can now switch between multiple accounts on Instagram, on one device.
If you work in marketing, this is a very good thing. You can use your personal account on your phone, as well as the accounts of the brands you represent, without having to constantly log out then log back in again with a different account.
For parents of teen Instagram users, this change isn’t so positive. Let us explain.
The rise of #finsta
We wrote last week about how a lot of teen, especially early teen, Instagram users have a very carefully curated feed – hundreds of followers and only a couple dozen posts is not atypical. From an excellent post by a 17-year old at Medium titled “Finstagram: The Instagram Revolution”:
“When I post a photo on Instagram I know that just about every person I am connected to in the real life will see my photo, decide whether or not to like it, and then judge me subconsciously. Because of this, Instagram is seen as a huge stressor for many teenagers.”
Social media-induced stress is not a good thing for teens, yet Instagram is the most important social network for many. Hence the rise of Finsta accounts (a contraction of “fake” and “Instagram”). When you want to let your hair down – perhaps the photo isn’t your cutest self, maybe the photo depicts you doing something that you don’t want family seeing or maybe your caption includes a crude joke – you can post those photos and videos to your Finsta account.
The problem has been the friction of doing so. Logging out of one Instagram account and logging into another is often not worth the effort to post a frivolous pic, or so we’ve heard.
It makes sense that Instagram doesn’t have a problem with Finsta accounts. More users is a good thing. More time spent on the app is a good thing. And Instagram isn’t all too concerned about parents, after all.
Finsta accounts aren’t a new problem, but making them easier to use may magnify the problem. We already argue that teens are shielding some of their online activity from their parents. Having an Instagram account (that your parents might follow) with precious few photos is one way of painting a rosy picture of your online activity. If Instagram supporting multiple accounts mean that more teens will have a Finsta account, or those that already do will use it more, it ups the ante for parents who want to stay on top of things.
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