A new social media app: Is BeReal really real?

Courtesy of Caitlin DeStefano | BeReal is the newest social media app that is sweeping across the United States.

Isabella Abbott | Features Editor

Sept. 22, 2022

Almost everyone who owns a smartphone knows about the new social media app, BeReal.

For those not familiar with the trendy app, BeReal sends out a notification to its users every day stating they have two minutes to take and share a photo of what they’re doing at that exact moment. This photo, which requires the user’s back and front camera, captures their surroundings and typically reveals their face.

After it’s posted, users can then react with pictures of themselves, on their friend’s posts, showing their emotions for each photo taken.

A contradiction of the app’s realness is its retake button, which allows users to retake their photos as often as they’d like. So, if a friend wasn’t smiling or the first picture taken was blurry, users have time to capture their favorite versions of their moments.

Yet, for an app that markets itself on authenticity, are users really “being real?” Are we to believe people always click on that notification right away and show their real view at the exact time it was sent to them?

The answer is no – and not just because of the app’s consistent lagging.

Admittedly I’ve had the occasional “late” post, which may be necessary when the notification goes off at the wrong place at the wrong time. I’ve had them go off during class and had to decide if I should include my professors and classmates.

I’ve even had one go-off during a funeral.

However, I have seen some bold individuals whip out their phones during class to “be real” for their followers. Users who’ll shout in the middle of a conversation that the BeReal notification came out and gather around for a photo. Some frequent users have even used it in the bathroom just so their posts won’t read as late.

Those are the type of people who are keeping it real.

The main issue, though, is the staged photos, which are obviously faked.

I’ve seen plenty of these pictures on my feed posted hours, and in some cases a full 24 hours later. This begs the question, why not just wait until the next day?

Users are worried. They are worried that they won’t have something interesting to post the next day, which is a pivotal downfall of social media. We always want to appear entertaining, the fear of being mundane is frightening.

BeReal was created with the intention of allowing users to truly reveal themselves. With so many other apps boasting a world where insincerity is rewarded with false validation, this app was supposed to allow the users to cut through the barrier of false personas.

Instead, it feeds into it.

Our inability to show others what’s happening during the two-minute time frame speaks volumes on our societal need to be noticed. This app, like many others, takes advantage of our dwindling self-esteem.

BeReal is yet another app that creates a void of genuineness.

If the app was exclusively made for authenticity and realness, why are people using it for the exact opposite reason?

I know they probably want friends to see an exciting life filled with sunsets, concerts and friends, but not everything can be thrilling every second of every day.

But honestly, the best photos are always the unplanned ones, ones where friends are giggling instead of smiling or in the middle of getting ready for the photo but not fully ready yet.

If the app wants people to be as real as they can be, then why make a feature that allows for these photos to change? Why not just make it so that the first photo is the photo that’s used for the app?

BeReal isn’t real, it’s fake. It’s a social media app that’s using its photos unauthentically, which defeats its whole purpose.