• 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.