Media Effects Research Lab - Research Archive

‘#nofilter’: Managing boundaries and self-presentations across Finstagram and Instagram

Student Researcher(s)

Olivia Reed (Masters Candidate); Ryan Tan (Ph.D Candidate); Ryan Wang (Ph.D Candidate)

Faculty Supervisor

Dr. S. Shyam Sundar

This paper was based on a project as part of the Comm 506 course.


This study investigated the relationship between individual differences and impression management behavior across Instagram and Finstagram profiles. In the context of a social media platform that allows users to toggle between alternate social profiles and segment the social groups they interact with, impression management encompasses two strategies: self-presentation and boundary regulation. Individual differences were analyzed in relation to user behaviors and perceptions across both profile types in order to determine how multiple profiles might be employed in order to for users to achieve desired social goals.


RQ1: What is are the influences of individual differences on behavior across Instagram and Finstagram?
RQ2: What are the distinctions between user behavior on Instagram and Finstagram?


A survey was conducted with a sample of 277 undergraduate students who were rewarded with extra credit. The independent variable of individual differences was operationalized as six retrospectively indexed personality traits including Openness, Extraversion, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Neuroticism, and Narcissism; as well as gender and age. The dependent variable was operationalized as account ownership, frequency of account use, attitude toward Finstagram, and specific Instagram/Finstagram behaviors. Based on the levels of measurement, bivariate analysis, ANOVA, Chi-Squared test, and logistic regression were conducted to test the relationship.


Gender was found to be significantly related to frequency of using Instagram and Finstagram, ownership of Finstagram account, and general attitude towards Finstagram. Age was found to be significantly related to the ownership and the usage frequency of a Finstagram account. In term of personality traits, Extraversion and Narcissism were found to be significantly related to the frequency of using Instagram. In general Finstagram use, Openness, Agreeableness, Extraversion, Neuroticism, and Narcissism, were found to be significant indicators for the current and future ownership of Finstagram, the frequency of using Finstagram, and also attitude towards using Finstagram.

When investigating specific Instagram/Finstagram behaviors, personality traits play a significant role in predicting differences in user behavior across Instagram and Finstagram accounts. Narcissism was found to strongly correlate with Instagram behavior, while Neuroticism had significant correlations with Finstagram behavior. Additionally, the data indicated that there were strong correlations between Instagram behaviors and Finstagram behaviors, suggesting that there were minimal differences between the two: for example, an individual’s image posting and captioning behavior on Instagram seemed to strongly predict their posting and captioning behavior on Finstagram as well.

Theoretically, our study extends the literature on multiple profile management and selective self-presentation, specifically with Instagram and Finstagram. Practically, our study contributes to using psychographics as predictors of behaviors, which may be useful in online message targeting. Though we are hesitant to make specific claims about Finstagram and the authenticity of self-presentation it provides due to our content validity measurement issues and our limited sample size, the use of multiple profiles within one platform does seem to allow different aspects of one’s personality to be expressed.

For more details regarding the study contact

Dr. S. Shyam Sundar by e-mail at or by telephone at (814) 865-2173

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