Can We BeReal?

When authenticity is exchanged for presentation in the name of being real.

Can We BeReal?

   In 2020, BeReal was launched–but, it wasn’t until 2022 the photo-sharing app started trending with downloads growing 315% this year alone. According to The Wrap, BeReal’s initial “goal [was] people would use it the way social media apps were originally intended: to connect with friends and family without worrying about followers, likes and filters.” Then why are more and more people starting to “BeFake” on the app?

   Despite the reasoning that BeReal offers a judgement-free environment, I–like many of my peers–have started to feel pressured to download the app and stage photos to make my life appear more interesting. Fans hoping to accomplish this very goal on Oct. 8 held out their phones in the front row of Alec Benjamin’s Uncommentary Tour, begging for the singer to take their BeReals to impress followers. 

      Daily, I witness students around school creating photo opportunities to showcase their desired personas. This trend is reminiscent of the VSCO girls which overtook social media in 2019. Phrases like “save the turtles” and “sksksk” have been exchanged for the various RealMojis the app offers. If students feel they need to do something just for a desired reaction, the initial action loses its meaning. We’re becoming like Barbie dolls, used only to live out our fantasies–real or fake.

    The biggest argument for BeReal I’ve seen is it allows friends to find funny and candid photos of each other. If this is the case, couldn’t this happen on Instagram–or even Twitter? The photos aren’t candid if people have time to plan them. Contrary to the developers’ belief the two-minute time limit would promote authenticity, LX News claims people have discovered they can “swipe out of the app [which] restarts the timer so you can retake your photos. It also allows users to post their photos late, although the app will display how late they were taken.”

    At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to find bits of joy to fill our internal gaps, and if using social media helps you accomplish this, then so be it. Personally, I don’t want to BeReal–I want to be authentic so I will continue to resist downloading the app.