Hiding in Plain Sight

I’ve personally never tried Instagram, but I have a number of friends who use it.  They all love it.  Instagram provides a platform for people to communicate with each other in a visual way through sharing photos.  The uses for it vary widely from advertising, creating a photo journal, sharing with loved ones, or even posting images of symmetrical breakfast plates.  (Check it out here, pretty neat.)

A few months ago my brother sent me an article on a growing trend, predominantly with female teenagers, with Instagram to create a “Rinsta” account and a “Finsta” account.  Rinsta is the real instagram account, the public facing one with carefully filtered images and witty captions.  Typically these postings will have already gone through an internal friend review process, after checking that nobody else in the friend group was planning on posting it.  Then it will be posted at the most strategic time of day to acquire the greatest amount of “likes”.  Rinsta accounts come with “rules” about how to maintain them.  Life should always be portrayed as fun and idyllic, always a representation of only the best moments.

The Finsta account, ironically enough, is a combination of fake with instagram (according to the Urban DIctionary) and contains unedited images and spontaneous captions.  No internal approvals necessary.  The Finsta account is where a person can feel free to express herself as she likes, without any pressure or worry because the access is tightly controlled.  Typically these accounts are only shared with close friends, so parents or peers won’t be able to see anything.  Whereas Rinsta accounts are available for anyone to see.

So the fake account, Finsta, is used for the real stuff, and the Rinsta account is used for only a select portion of the “real” stuff which is then modified before posting.  Public appearance counts for a lot, but the person can feel true to herself through the illusion of “privacy” created by using an alias and controlled access.  I would assume this is mostly so teenagers can share things with their friends that they wouldn’t want their parents to see.

3 comments for “Hiding in Plain Sight

  1. Anonymous
    6 October 2015 at 08:48

    :I don’t get it. Why not just share in person. Thanks for an interesting blog.

  2. jamew2965
    8 October 2015 at 13:48

    Deletist,
    What most of the non-technical world doesn’t understand is that true anonymity is a hard to get for the nontechnical. I have technical friends who work in the security world, And i ask questions about anonymity all the time. I once had a class with a guy and he said he had a paper that said any IP address can be tracked. Most of the apps your talking about don’t give true anonymity as your not anonymous to the people who run that service. Don’t think that although the parents are not seeing what those teenagers are sending, the admins of those services maybe seeing everything or just select things. The public needs to be aware of what they are doing and what is actually not being seen and what is being seen. Disinformation and or misunderstanding of how the internet works is what gets a lot supposedly private stuff put out there. And once it goes out it can never be taken
    back.

    Jamesw2965

    • The Deletist
      14 October 2015 at 22:38

      Great insights. You’re absolutely right in saying that just because the parents aren’t seeing what the teenagers are doing, doesn’t mean it’s not being monitored and tracked by other people or software. Yes, the public does need to be aware. We’re losing control of our privacy.

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