I've noticed a curious new linguistic development in the world of youth social media! The image- and video-sharing app Instagram is rather popular with kids my age. The name is interesting in itself, because it is a blend of the words instant and telegram, but it only gets better from that oddly archaic combination. In many cases, this gets abbreviated to Insta, just to shorten the term for convenience's sake. However, some of the more hip and jive teens soon started a second insta so they could have one to present to the world and one just for their inner circle of friends, where they could goof off and be less careful about what they post. This second account was cleverly named a finsta, as a portmanteau of fake and insta. I couldn't find who coined the term, but it seems to have originated around autumn of 2014, and became mainstream in mid-2016. Curiously, the term rinsta ("real insta") has emerged to describe those public-persona accounts, as a formation based off finsta and just now really gaining popularity. These names are especially interesting because they're great opportunities to experience etymology in action- language is changing with us and our tech, and that's really cool.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a junior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.