The Brief: Teenagers are using Instagram "flop accounts" to post fails and content they disagree with. Flop accounts are becoming a platform for teens to discuss politics and social issues online.
In addition to spam accounts and finstas, flop accounts are the latest way for teens to create their own dialogue, away from direct influences of the mainstream media or scrutiny from their parents.
What is a flop account?
A flop is a fail or cringey piece of content, or something that someone disagrees with. On flop accounts, admins post flops and non-flops, labeling them as such in the caption, often using hashtags like #flopaccount, #flop, and #cringe.
Flop accounts are usually created by multiple admins. Their Instagram bios list each admin’s first name, pronouns, and an emoji used to label which post is from which admin. The views of the different admins are not always the same, leading to a range of viewpoints expressed, and significant debate in the comments section.
Usernames with the word “flop” in them are customary. Many accounts’ bios link to their Sarahah or Tellonym pages. Admins post answers to anonymous questions from these platforms on their stories.
There is no typical post on a flop account. Posts include memes, screenshots of comments, videos, selfies, mainstream media headlines, and more. Accompanying captions range from long rants about immigration reform to a brief description about an admin’s day at school. Flop accounts cover social media celebrities, mental health, YouTube beef, Musical.ly fails, obscure celebrity deaths and politics. Some flops are about things that admins find morally abhorrent and are a way of reporting and condemning activities including bestiality and pedophilia.
Through their flop accounts, teenagers are redefining what news is to them, combining satire, trolling, and social media to debate serious social and political issues – especially ones that are closest to them personally. Flop accounts are often the site of discourse about LGBT+ issues, feminism, gun control, immigration and racism. Conversations range from direct discussions of policy to nuances of language related to social activism. Opinions expressed on flop accounts represent a broad spectrum of political beliefs. Comments sections can be echo chambers, where people with the same views gather to agree with each other. However, since flop accounts are inherently based on contradiction and controversy, they can also be polarizing, leading to arguments, bullying, and trolling.
In spite of their downsides, to many teens, flop accounts may feel like a democratic, teen led part of the internet where they can discuss important political, social, and pop cultural topics.
Flop Account Slang
Some flop account slang is specific to what is discussed on the account, but you’re likely to see the following vocabulary: