People are naturally drawn to places they considered a haven. They are drawn to people who have similar opinions, and feel more comfortable in places that appeal to them. For some teenagers, this urge for a community is found in flop accounts on Instagram.
These accounts originate on the image-centered social media app Instagram, where they post pictures and videos of negative content that they deem ‘flops.’ These accounts are most often run by teenagers ages 13 to 18, and they provide a platform for other teens to express their opinions on the topics covered, such as politics, LGBT issues, or TikTok videos. The word flop indicates failure, but when used in these accounts describes content that is bad or cringey.
The purpose of these accounts vary. For some, the accounts are a way of educating or ‘clearing up incorrect information.’ “Helping run a flop account can be an outlet for you to express your personal opinions and thoughts about different controversial topics, while entertaining the idea of an audience,” explained Lgbtflopz’s admin. Oliver. These accounts serve as a way of allowing your voice to be heard. For some such as admin. Sarah of flopaccounts.flops, these accounts are a necessity— “Before I joined this account, all I could do was suck it up and try to ignore [sexist, homophobic, transphobic, or rude posts].”
Those who prefer less serious flop accounts draw plenty of enjoyment from them. Hannah of angryflops claimed, “I feel so much happier when I’m active on here because there are so many people to talk to and share opinions with.” For them, and many other flop account users, the fun is found in the broadcasting and discussing of opinions.
Running a flop account and following a flop account provide very different experiences. First off, flop account administrators can receive a large amount of hate on their posts. By only following one of these accounts, a person is only exposed to others opinions, and may not share theirs in the same way. They could comment on the post, but ultimately their platform isn’t as large as the flop account’s. To some, the absence of spotlight may be preferable.
Given that not everyone can share the same opinions on certain topics, these accounts generate plenty of controversy. Many who are against them argue that is an excuse to bully others. “I can see why people can view flop accounts that way,” stated an admin. of fiftyshadesofflops. “Some accounts are bullying accounts and take it too far. I try to be respectful and discuss things with people, unless someone goes too far.” Some accounts are sure to block out names to ensure no one goes after whoever said or created the original ‘flop.’ Occasionally, accounts may take it too far, and they often receive negative comments that may go far enough to get posts removed.
In the close-knit work of running one of these accounts, administrators often find friends in one another. For Corrine of U.wuflops, running the account has been a rewarding experience. “I watched it grow and it feels like another side to me, and I love all the admins here,” they remarked. “They are all very unique and different, and they’re all my best friends. We’re always here for each other, and we try to be there for our followers.” It can be found that this community’s groundwork is built on improvement and support. Another administrator, Hannah of angryflops says that “Through [my] account I’ve gotten to be very close with the other admins and we all love and support each other.”
The opinions among this community are becoming so widely spread that in some cases, tensions are being created between accounts. “What used to be a loving community has actually turned really sour and now it’s just a lot of teenagers using the accounts to be mean or bully people,” Said Sarah, part of an account dedicated to pointing out flop accounts that are in themselves a flop. “This account helps vent about bad flop accounts.”
In exposure to different ideas as these accounts do, one’s opinions and awareness may be enlightened. Feminism.flops’ admin. Naya stated that, “Through posting about my opinions and discussing them with other people, I have become more open minded and I continue to grow as a person.” These account focus around personal opinions, but education can still be drawn from them.
“[Flop accounts] are good for the small community surrounding them but at the end of the day it’s a group of teens having fun or sharing opinions,” believes Oz, admin. of Flopsiguess. Ultimately, the reason for using flop accounts may differ, but they all treasure the sharing of ideas.