BeReal is not Real


Image by Samson Katt via Pexels

Social Media is a prominent aspect of today’s culture, especially among teenagers. Platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and more have amassed millions of users in the few years they have existed. Social media has some positives, such as keeping people in touch and an access to information. However, social media has a reputation for creating negative effects on the mind, low self-esteem, drama, and more due to the high standards and image of perfection presented by algorithms. So, to fix this issue, a new social media app was born to create a space without filters or posing. Created in 2020 and gaining mass popularity mid-2022, BeReal is the new platform that everyone is obsessed with. However, under the premise of stress free social media, is the reality that BeReal is not very “real” after all. 

Here’s how BeReal works: once a day, a notification is sent out to all the users on the app to take a photo. Users have two minutes to snap a picture, and this becomes a challenge to get your BeReal on time everyday. The phone takes a photo with both the front and back cameras, in an attempt to show your friends exactly what you are doing at the moment. There’s no telling when this notification will go off, so there is no time to get ready, or look good, or pose, which is supposed to show user’s authentic lives. Like many things, a good idea turns sour very quickly when the pressure to appear cool is applied.

A feature of BeReal is the ability to post late, or past the two minute mark when you are supposed to post. This can be a negative as users will wait until they are doing something interesting to post, instead of just posting whenever the notification goes off. In addition to this, a common occurrence among users is to have someone take their BeReal, which snaps a photo of both the background and the person taking the photo. While fun in theory, this defeats the whole purpose of showing exactly what the user is doing in the moment, as individuals will pose or have a teacher take their picture to seem funny or quirky to their peers. Even on casual social media, there seems to be a pressure to be interesting, have friends, or be occupied– this motive has just disguised itself in the case of BeReal.

The biggest issue of this app is not just the hypocrisy embedded in its coding, but the moments ruined due to the scramble to take a BeReal. Imagine having lunch with friends, enjoying a pleasant conversation, when suddenly a notification pops up and soon your friends are in a frenzy to take a picture of this moment so that they can share it on BeReal. A perfectly good moment was interrupted all for the sake of status on the internet. An already growing issue that is heightened by the use of BeReal is the constant documentation of things and events. Holding something in your memory and enjoying the moment is a thing of the past, as now people must have posted photographic proof of having friends or eating a fancy dinner. 

Overall, BeReal is not much different than any other social media when the motives behind posting are examined. Its clever marketing and the guise of “being real” has allowed its popularity to skyrocket. However, the next time you are out doing something and you hear a tiny notification to snap a picture, challenge yourself not to post that day and keep a perfectly good moment grounded in reality.