• Behind the scenes: self-presentation on Instagram versus Finsta

      Elyukin, Nicole (2021-05)
      In a rapidly advancing technological world, it is important to consider how well-documented psychological mechanisms play out in relevant online settings. The present studies do so by addressing self-monitoring of self-presentation on Instagram and finsta accounts. A “finsta” account is a second Instagram account that is typically much more private than the original Instagram account. An online survey was administered to 309 participants, ages 18-61 (M = 21.19, SD = 4.66), to assess self-monitoring, identity, self-esteem, and frequency of social media use across multiple platforms. Additionally, in-depth interviews were conducted with 11 emerging adult finsta users to explore experiences of using both accounts. Correlational analyses revealed a significant positive correlation between finsta use and self-monitoring. Independent samples t-tests revealed a higher mean score of self-monitoring among finsta users than non-finsta users. Chi-square tests of independence indicated that females, non-heterosexual individuals, and white people are more likely to own a finsta than males, heterosexual people and non-white people, respectively. An inductive thematic analysis of interview responses revealed themes of Instagram as a self-monitored space, finsta as an unfiltered space, motivations for varying types of self-presentation, developmental changes in use of both accounts, and greater negative feelings towards Instagram than finsta. This research elaborates on previous psychological literature on self-monitoring and self-presentation by addressing the lack of psychological research regarding finsta accounts. Future research should examine the relationships between motivations for social media use, self-esteem and online behaviors, as well as include new finsta users, rather than those who created their accounts years ago.
    • Love in lockdown: how the pandemic affects dating and relationships for emerging adults

      Fego, Emily (2021-05)
      The longform feature article documents how young people navigate dating and relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time in their lives, young adults are meant to explore their identity and find out who they are and who they want to surround themselves with. They can meet lifelong friends at college and even find their lifelong partner. But, for the most part, socialization has been put on hold this past year due to COVID-19. Finding a new romantic partner seemed especially difficult with strictly online dating platforms. Social distancing guidelines made the prospect of safely going on dates nearly impossible. Those already in relationships faced the challenges of maintaining a long-distance connection when they might have only lived a block away from each other. Others felt trapped with only the company of their partners during stay-at-home orders. The article addresses these challenges with expert insight from psychologists who provide advice and hope for the future of young love.