ALEXANDRA SHULMAN’S NOTEBOOK: Watch out for Instagram, the BeReal app is the exciting new kid on the block

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The first time I heard of Instagram was about ten years ago when I was with a group of friends in their fifties.

Someone asked me if I knew about this fun app where you share photos under a nickname and write a witty caption.

It didn’t sound that convincing to me, but I was eager to see what they were talking about, so I joined a private account. Now I view the app very differently.

Professionally, I’m judged by the size of my audience. How many people follow me, how much attention can I attract.

Someone asked me if I knew about this fun app where you share photos under a nickname and write a witty caption. It didn’t sound that convincing to me, but I was eager to see what they were talking about, so I joined a private account. Now I view the app very differently.

Over the past decade, Instagram has increasingly become big business – influencers can make millions by amassing lots of followers – and it’s moved away from just being a place to post snaps that friends can. see.

Even so, I’ve always loved being able to peer into the lives of those I personally know and those I don’t know. Or at least I did until very recently when Instagram changed their algorithm.

To compete with rival TikTok, the powers that be at Instagram decided the app should prioritize videos over images when deciding what to show users as we browse our feeds.

Now this is all a nightmare. I get a relentless stream of messages from people I’m not interested in, with loud videos waking up my bedmate at night when I glance at my feed.

Other Instagram users complain that their posts have slipped so far in the new pecking order that their followers never see them.

Meta (the owner of Instagram) would have backtracked on the changes, but I still get way too many women showing me how to tuck in my shirt to a Dua Lipa soundtrack for my taste.

But the damage is done and there is now a new kid in the neighborhood: Be Real. It’s a social media app like Instagram and TikTok, but the difference is that it’s designed as an antidote to the polished presentation of our lives where images and videos are cleaned and edited through various filters.

All Be Real subscribers are notified simultaneously at an unpredictable two-minute time slot and asked to post everything they do right away.

The random timing of this call to action makes it difficult to construct a message showing a perfect existence (most people can’t have a beautiful tablescape ready all the time, or appear in flawless makeup all day ).

It’s all about being impromptu. In the interest of research, I tried it and had to post a hideous selfie without even having time to brush my hair and a banging of my messy desk.

Alexandra Shulman: To compete with its big rival TikTok, the powers that be at Instagram decided that the app should prioritize videos over images when deciding what to show users when we browse our flow.  Now this is all a nightmare.  I get a relentless stream of messages from people I'm not interested in, with loud videos waking up my bedmate at night when I glance at my feed.

Alexandra Shulman: To compete with its big rival TikTok, the powers that be at Instagram decided that the app should prioritize videos over images when deciding what to show users when we browse our flow. Now this is all a nightmare. I get a relentless stream of messages from people I’m not interested in, with loud videos waking up my bedmate at night when I glance at my feed.

Looking at the app, the majority of posts were equally mundane. A friend went to a party last week and reported a moment when half of the guests suddenly stopped, like in a children’s musical statue game, and pulled out their phones to upload their “Be Real moment.”

For many of us less addicted to social media, that doesn’t sound so appealing. I doubt I will use Be Real again.

However, for a generation that has been raised to feel that their place in the world is judged by their social media personality, Be Real is an exciting new toy precisely because it captures the messy imperfection of real life, accepts that people and places are rarely pretty and encourages its users to record a moment over which they have no control.

Music for those stuck in middle age

Whenever dedicated fashion ranges for seniors are mentioned, most of the target audience hates the idea.

Who wants to be the person wearing the clothing equivalent of a Stannah stairlift?

But clearly, when it comes to musical tastes, middle-aged people don’t have the same reservations.

The audience for Boom, a new radio station aimed at veterans, is indeed booming, with avuncular DJs and playlists.

Personally, I’m the Radio 6 Music type. But I’m the kind of deluded person who thinks I can still wear tie-dye.

Why I wear makeup for the Lionesses

Watching the Lionesses triumph from a seaside bar in Italy, I felt increasingly ashamed that, until this final, I had cared little about any of it.

Now, like the rest of the nation, I’m in love with the team. Alongside their talent, determination and energy, another quality of the England women’s team obsesses me.

Their makeup. How on earth did the players manage to keep their eyeliner and mascara from smudging?

What hair product did they use to keep their shiny ponytails from falling apart, with barely a stray hair escaping? And above all, what about nails? Colored, unchipped manicures – amazing.

Alexandra Shulman: It would certainly be a shame if these wonderful athletes felt compelled to look immaculate.  But it's also wonderful for young girls to see success stories across a range of professions happy to step into the same makeup and hairstyles they love.

Alexandra Shulman: It would certainly be a shame if these wonderful athletes felt compelled to look immaculate. But it’s also wonderful for young girls to see success stories across a range of professions happy to step into the same makeup and hairstyles they love.

It would certainly be a shame if these wonderful athletes felt compelled to look immaculate. But it’s also wonderful for young girls to see success stories across a range of professions happy to step into the same makeup and hairstyles they love.

We need scientists, doctors, academics and engineers who can demonstrate they can be brilliant in their careers and handle an eyeliner flick – just like the Lionesses did over the weekend last.

Surgeon in need of a charm transplant

Woozy after prostate surgery, a friend of mine thanked his surgeon using the man’s first name. “Don’t call me Michael,” the surgeon replied sullenly.

Surprised by this rude response, my friend changed his greeting to “Thank you Dr White”.

To which the doctor replied (and remember it was to a man who had just had major surgery): “We oncologists are self-deprecating. It’s Mr. White.

This very important “Mr” being, of course, a sign that you are superior to an ordinary general practitioner.

I changed his name to keep him from blushing, but we can only hope that this ungenerous doctor’s surgical skills are far more refined than his empathy.

The BA pilot who got me going

Last week we were delayed boarding our BA plane for over an hour with no explanation of what was going on.

Eventually we and the luggage were all on board and the pilot came on the intercom.

‘Just giving you an update. Due to the current wind conditions here in Naples, the plane is too heavy to take off, so we have to wait for permission from Rome.

As a nervous flier, I wish he had kept that particular information to himself.


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