BeReal Brings Authenticity to Social Media

Every time I scroll through my phone, I go through my social media routine; first, I check if I have any texts or Snapchats, then I scroll through Instagram. Next, I take a quick look at Facebook, then I go back to Snapchat. Finally, I finish up with a few minutes of TikTok. However, a couple of weeks ago, a new app found its way into my daily social media pattern: BeReal.

BeReal is a new app in which you receive a notification at a particular time every day telling you that it is time to “Be Real.” You have two minutes to snap a photo of yourself and your surroundings at that very moment, or your photo is considered ‘late.’ BeReal simultaneously snaps a photo with the front and back camera of your phone, so one post includes a selfie as well as a photo of whatever is in front of you. Striving to bring authenticity to social media, BeReal’s slogan is “Your Friends for Real.” 

When I first heard about BeReal, I rolled my eyes. College students are already consumed by social media; do we really need another platform? However, after about a week of being coerced into it by some of my friends, I finally downloaded the app. And while I hate to admit it, I have become a major BeReal fan and advocate. Every time I am notified that it is time to “Be Real,” I get a little jolt of excitement. Posting my BeReal on time has become a daily goal of mine. 

I am also confident in saying that BeReal’s attempts to promote authenticity have been successful. Most people have funny photos as their profile pictures and will post a photo despite how embarrassing it may be. For example, the first time I used BeReal I was at the dining hall eating my typical snack of cucumber slices with mustard on the side. While I knew that my snack would most likely be judged by my friends on BeReal, I posted it anyway; I just wanted to portray my most genuine self. I’ll admit that I did get a couple of “hate” comments, like “Ew, what is that,” and “Amy, what?” But nevertheless, I was not ashamed to show off my favorite snack in the name of authenticity. 

I will admit that I am a nosy person. I am always trying to figure out where my friends are, what they are doing, who they are with, et cetera. BeReal gives me the opportunity to be nosy without feeling like I am pestering my friends with texts or calls. Additionally, I can also be nosy about the lives of people who I may not really be friends with at all. Something that I have noticed since starting college is that everyone does work at different study locations, eats at different places and, overall, structures their schedules in different ways. I think that being able to see how people go about their days is extremely interesting, and even inspiring sometimes. For example, if I see that someone on BeReal is at the gym, I become motivated to work out; if I see someone writing an essay, I might force myself to do some work. 

Although I love BeReal, I do think that the app has a couple of downsides. I am a very independent person and when it is the daily BeReal time, I am usually by myself, and, therefore, my post is just a selfie of me and a photo of whatever I am doing. Many other people, however, often feature their friends in their BeReal posts. Because of my solo posts, I sometimes find myself worrying that people will think I won’t have friends, or people will think I am weird because I am alone so much. These insecurities reveal that BeReal may not be so different from other forms of social media, like Instagram or Snapchat. While BeReal is meant to be an authentic form of social media, when people post photos on any platform, it is inevitable that they will think about how others perceive them. 

While some may argue that BeReal is just another unnecessary social media platform, I believe that despite its flaws, it is a fun and exciting way to connect with friends. BeReal is my new go-to if I need a good laugh or just want to see what other people are up to.