Let’s BeReal

Spur of the moment social media platform fails in its promise to promote authenticity


Caroline Owen

BeReal’s gimmick is sending out a notification to all users at once, urging everyone to post a photo and “be real.” However as the app has expanded in popularity, retakes and missing the alarm have become more common, making the platform just as manufactured as other social media sites.

Caroline Owen, co-people editor, co-sports editor, co-photo editor

Every so often, we see a new social media app take teenagers by storm and claim to have something special or authentic that the other apps don’t have. Snapchat’s thing was that the photos and chats sent through the app disappeared after 24 hours. Vine, Musical.ly, and TikTok catered to the GenZ attention span by giving users a new video to watch every few seconds. 

I personally hope that the trend of a new social media app taking centerstage every few years comes to an end.

About a year ago, I started hearing about BeReal. BeReal’s thing was that you receive a notification at a random time each day that it’s time to take your photo, which captures the front and back camera. That way, people could see snippets of each others’ day-to-day, real lives. Frankly, I think our generation has had our ears talked off about how the age of social media has given people a warped image of others’ lives because of the ability to pick and choose the highlights to post. That might be true, but I found it counterproductive for a social media app itself to be the one saving the day.

It’s human nature, and more specifically teenage nature, to want to look your best and coolest every time you post something online. That’s why BeReal can never really, well, be real. The second someone gets the BeReal notification, they will still try to move into better lighting, press their faces against their friends, or paste on a big grin even though they were completely stone-faced the moment before. Sure, no one claimed that the app is completely authentic or anything deeper than good fun. Still, it always makes me cringe when I watch someone pull out their camera and pretend to be having an awesome time for a couple seconds after they get their BeReal notification—or more than a couple seconds, should they choose to retake the photo a few times until they get the right one.

Although I usually expect new apps to lose their novelty after a few months, it’s been about a year since BeReal made it big and there’s no end in sight. Maybe BeReal does have the longevity of Instagram or Snapchat, and maybe it will still be in use in a decade. Regardless of how long BeReal stays relevant, I personally hope that the trend of a new social media app taking centerstage every few years comes to an end in time for me to see it.