In February, Instagram rolled out a feature that lets users toggle between multiple accounts. It’s a handy tool. Brand managers everywhere rejoiced. Now, as spotted by Twitter user Pat Murray, Instagram is promoting the feature as a way to create a secondary account for sharing posts with a smaller, curated group of users.
Having a second Instagram account can actually come in handy for a couple of reasons. It’s good for watching Instagram Stories of people (with public Instagram accounts) who you’d rather not give the satisfaction of knowing you’re watching their Instagram Stories. Likewise, it’s good for following people you don’t want clogging up your regular feed, like celebrities and politicians. Done right, this tactic might even help you stumble upon James Comey’s Instagram. And then there’s the Finstagram, a teen-engineered concept that has been floating around for several years now. Finstagrams — a portmanteau of fake and Instagram — are private accounts where users handpick a limited number of followers who can see their photos and videos. Unlike your basic Instagram — a.k.a. a “Rinsta,” shorthand for real Instagram — content shared on a Finsta tends to be less filtered, more potentially embarrassing, and overall more real. (Yes, the whole “Rinsta” versus “Finsta” name thing is backward. But, hey, we can’t expect teens to get everything right.)
Realistically, Instagram’s push to get you to create a second account probably has less to do with Kevin Systrom & Co. getting hip to the times, and more to do with user numbers. Earlier this spring, the company reported it has seen a doubling of users in the last two years, with the current number coming in at 700 million. Select All has reached out to Instagram to see if users with multiple accounts are counted as singular active users in this figure, or if each account counts as a single user. (We’ll update this post if we hear back.) If it’s the latter, pushing people to create Finstagrams will only help Instagram reach that coveted 1 billion figure that much sooner.