The “realest” social media app yet is still just…social media
Chances are, in the last few months, you’ve glimpsed or even been a part of a daily frenzy taking place. In this two-minute-long timeframe, multitudes of people receive a notification that it’s “Time to BeReal”—surrounded, of course, by warning sign emojis. Whether it’s at a party, restaurant, or even their bathroom in some cases, app users will raise their phones and snap a two-way picture of themselves and their surroundings, which gets uploaded onto a feed much like Instagram—except without the help of a filter, extra take, or Photoshop.
This, many outlets have proclaimed, has transformed social media. Whereas Instagram and other platforms have perfectly curated their algorithms to serve you, there’s nothing fancy about your BeReal feed. It is, quite simply, what you make of the short posting window. Want to post a silly close-up of your nose and nothing else? Go for it. Want to feature your friends, favorite hangout spot, or a pigeon across the road? There it is, unfiltered and unveiled for all to see. Want to troll a well-meaning stranger who goes to take a picture of you but realizes—a snapshot too late—that their face is making a cameo? Proceed with caution.
Despite this unbridled freedom, however, the drawbacks of this “revolutionary” app is perhaps that it’s only an app. Can one really attribute their newfound confidence and ability to form genuine connections to this free-for-all posting platform? Although it’s certainly refreshing and even healthy for young, impressionable users such as teenagers to view real life through a real lens, BeReal still encourages instant gratification when one receives its urgent notification to post.
When I was out with friends at a coffee shop the other day, I became aware of an air of anticipation that clouded our conversations. Murmurs such as “When is it time to BeReal?” and “Do you think it’ll happen now?” floated around until it was time for us to leave. The BeReal for that day didn’t end up going off during our hangout, and several of my friends showed disappointment at the missed opportunity to provide a peek into their social life. It’s no secret that the randomness of BeReal is exciting. But it can also detract from one’s mindfulness in the present.
I won’t be downloading BeReal anytime soon, but if you choose to do so, have fun with it. Experiment with it. Appreciate the lack of vanity that seems to have infiltrated every other platform. But at the same time, enjoy your surroundings—not only for that one right take at the right time, but for the joy of merely going about life, no camera in sight.