Finsta THIS!

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As with most teens, we at Latin love being involved with social media; whether it is with Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat, most of us use more than one platform to post pictures, statuses, music, whatever. It is how we connect and follow up with friends at different schools, family in different countries, and celebrities in different worlds. We create profiles that depict how we want to be portrayed to the public – and when reality sets in and we realize we are not as perfect as we deemed to be, we turn to finstas so to make ourselves look more real by posting our truest selves. Urban Dictionary states a finsta is “a fake instagram account, so one can post ratchet pictures without persecution from sororities, jobs and society as a whole.” Popularized drastically this year, these finstas feature photos and videos that have made me laugh for days as a result of everyone’s “no chill.” The freedom of these accounts allows users to not worry about how many likes a photo will receive or how many followers they have- allowing almost anything to be posted. Another great thing about these accounts is no one feels entitled to Instagram etiquette: you can post thirty-eight pictures in seven minutes and no one will become annoyed! Of those thirty-eight pictures, at least one – if not all – is bound to target events circling our environment at Latin. The topics range widely from complaints about cafeteria food to a comment made during a classroom discussion, but as Urban Dictionary so politely hints at, the tone of these opinionated posts are often negative, demeaning, and rude because there is little to no chance of punishment. We choose our audiences on finstas, and most allow only the closest of their pals to follow. We trust, as we should, that none of our friends would snitch when an inappropriate comment marks its place on the interweb. The freedom finstas provides gives users a sense of mindfulness while those who do not have access become a second priority.  Our private opinions come first. On a few accounts, I have witnessed re-posts and screenshots of other students’ comments paired with a nasty caption – basically inviting a let’s-talk-shit-about-this-person’s-ignorance fest. The thing is, most of these screenshots depict truly ignorant and controversial remarks, and do deserve attention and sacred time for addressing. But, when we want to educate fellow peers and help them become more politically correct in a world that nurtures division, is talking behind their back on a private account with forty followers really the way to do so? Of course not, basic life skill 101. So why do we still do it? Because we love anonymity. Staying anonymous in many cases protects us from societal pressures, attacks, and vulnerability – all legitimately powerful ideas that impact humans in detrimental ways. Furthermore, when the option of staying anonymous on the Internet is available, most give in, even if they do not have anything serious to hide. It is simply a mechanism for any of the “just in case” moments. But at Latin, our love for anonymity has gone to the extreme. Students, faculty, and parents take advantage of anonymity to spread their criticisms about our community. We as humans lose our ability to sympathize with each other when staying unknown – and this goes for situations behind a screen, a fake email, and a private phone call. If you would not want your name attached to a certain comment, is that not enough a red flag that maybe you should not be making that comment in the first place? Of course there will be times when criticism is vital to address serious dilemmas that are hindering our development and bettering as a school. It takes courage, strength, and intelligence to notice an issue that is worth discussing, in addition to pursuing that conversation. Again, nothing will resolve if we are using screens, fake emails, and private phone calls to spread our ideas. We are not robots; we are valid human beings with valid beliefs. For the upcoming year, I want to invite every member of the community to stop relying on anonymity. I can not force everyone to shut down their finstas, but try to understand how more damage than good is done when you bash a fellow peer, regardless of how “woke” you may be, behind a private account. Instead go up to them at school, and talk; the situation will seem much more calmer, respectful, and resolvable. We are a highly educated group; it is truly ineffable. Let us use that to our advantage and create a community that is not hypocritical in the sense that it promotes questioning and challenging others, yet allows and cherishes anonymity… “the only thing we [should] fear, is fear itself.”]]>