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Stop using Instagram like BeReal

Stop using Instagram like BeReal

Some of you are using BeReal exactly the way it was intended to be used. I applaud you for this. But some of you are using it in a very wrong way. You guys know exactly who you are.

For those unfamiliar, BeReal is a social network that is in many ways an antisocial network. The app sends a notification to all users at a random time, informing them that it is "BeReal time." In theory, users open BeReal immediately upon receiving this notification, take a picture of everything they do at that time, and post it to the app. You can't see someone else's BeReals unless you post your own.

On paper, it's the opposite of Instagram. The latter app is notoriously curated — people fill it with beautiful, carefully edited photos of themselves doing glamorous things with large groups of friends. You post your best moments and importantly, don't post anything else.

But BeReal can't be curated—or at least, the intent is not to be. This is the real you. A scroll through Instagram might make you feel like you're only in your bed on a Friday night watching Netflix while everyone else is out of town, but a scroll through BeReal reminds you that you're not alone . It's oddly comforting—it's probably the most effective online cure for FOMO.

At least, that's the intention.

But BeReal has a fatal flaw that I think is heavily interfering with its mission: BeReal notification doesn't expire. While you can't post a BeReal before the notification is out, you can post one at any time after the notification is out (unless the next day's alert, of course).

As a result, there is little stopping people from using this app in exactly the same way that they use Instagram stories. That is, regardless of when the BeReal notification goes out, they consistently post every night at or after 8 a.m. when they're essentially doing something exciting. And they wind up with a BeReal that's filled with coffee cups, martini glasses, beach sunsets, and artistic photos of themselves with friends in dazzling areas—a curated reel aimed at impressing their followers. In other words, Instagram Stories.

I'm seeing this among people I know (sorry, people I know), but I'm also a frequent scroller of the public Discovery feed, and it's clearly a trend that's growing across the platform. Is. (And my dismay is not that these guys are doing fancier things at 8 p.m. than me — pitchforks, put down the comment-section denizens.)

Now, I'm not myself criticizing BeReals of late. Not all of us are always available when the notification appears - I myself post BeReals who are a few hours late from time to time. But the people I am talking about are not doing that. Rather, they are deliberately, consistently ignoring the timing of BeReal notification and opting to make their posts at the high points of their day. I don't think it is any blurry or subjective line. You know if you are in this category. You know this very well.

I understand why you all want to do this. The instinct that makes Instagram a FOMO monster doesn't magically disappear when you're using a different app. Still, I believe this behavior is harmful—it's contrary to the appeal that drew many of us to BeReal in the first place.

Here's my case: When you join BeReal, you enter into a social contract. I, as your fellow BeReal user, am opening up a part of myself to you. I'm going to show you that I'm not really the person you see on Instagram. I'm showing you myself - shameless, bare, boring - because I hope this can give you some comfort.

And of course, that's why you joined BeReal, the fictional BeReal Instagrammer too. You joined because you had an itch that Instagram wasn't scratching. Some part of you even wanted to peek through the Internet's cesspool of curated bullshit - and that's the only thing BeReal has promised to provide.

But there has to be a two-way street for this. I open the worldly parts of my life to you because I hope you will open yours to me. We can be each other's cure for FOMO - the best weapons we have. But I am asking you to give me some of what you are taking.

BeReal users feel comfortable showing off their boring, ugly selves on the app because others are doing the same. We meet at sea. There is power in solidarity. The more the app has grown with parties and artisanal wine cocktails, the less comfortable everyone who wants to use it for its intended purpose will feel doing so. And then we'll all lose the unique appeal that drew us to BeReal in the first place. in our hands

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