Let’s BeReal: Two takes on social media realism

Let’s BeReal: Two takes on social media realism


French social media app, BeReal, took the world by storm shortly after its launch in 2020. The app’s tagline, “Your friends for real”, was inspired by the mission of founder Alexis Barreyat to solve the problem of influencer life not being as glamorous or accessible as portrayed online. BeReal has mostly gained traction on college campuses after ambassadors were paid to promote it. The app has since become another social media fad, influencing trends on other platforms.

BeReal is real:

Of course, she didn’t get her lips done. They just doubled in size because she was “living her best life”.

When we browse through any social media app, we are constantly faced with a barrage of unrealistic lifestyles as well as photoshopped faces and bodies. While it’s obvious that most of the posts aren’t completely natural, the incredible lighting and stunning locations cloud our judgment. Idealistic social media accounts embody an ideal: attainable perfection.

No matter how many conversations we have with friends about how toxic and fake social media is, jumping on apps like Instagram leaves our generation with growing insecurity and anxiety. Outside of social media, it’s easy to peek into our own worlds and find them not up to par with their competitors.

This is why BeReal has been such a breath of fresh air for many of its users. The app compels people to delete the insanely polished posts they traditionally upload and present their authentic lives instead.

Every day, at a random time, all BeReal users receive a notification that it’s BeReal time, giving them two minutes to post an overview of their day. Using front and rear cameras, these stations capture what both the user and their surroundings look like at any given moment. The app’s intention is to make it nearly impossible for users to pick the perfect selfie or rush off to do something interesting upon hearing its chime notification.

Of course, one could argue that when BeReal users end up playing with the system and learning how to apply Facetune and filters to their posts while pretending they are “real”, it would be just as devastating to the self-esteem. self of our generation than for aesthetics. targeted apps like Instagram. However, this continuous search for perfection in the age of social media is not caused by BeReal. It’s fueled by other digital platforms that have conditioned people to feel like their regular lives aren’t special enough to feature.

BeReal directly opposes this distressing phenomenon. The app was created solely to counter our collective insecurities, allowing users to be authentic themselves online in a safe space of their choosing. Challenging the status quo of lifestyles seen as attractive or realistic, BeReal’s disruption of the flow of typical social media spaces is to be celebrated. Years of conditioning by other social media apps on how to perfect our lives cannot be overcome quickly. It is important that users use BeReal as intended or simply accept that it succumbs to the aesthetics of other applications.

While it’s uncertain whether the community on BeReal will evolve in the coming months, we hope it can lead to a paradigm shift in how we interact with social media in the future: emphasizing on authenticity rather than feigned perfection.

You are not real:

BeReal’s intention was for users to show their friends an unfiltered version of themselves, but that post was dissolved by pretense, compilation tendencies, and the inherent nature of having to take a picture of yourself. every day. The app isn’t much different from the story features on Snapchat or Instagram, except users become even more constantly aware of how they might be perceived and whether their life is worth sharing, with every instant.

BeReal has turned into a competition of which friend can have the most awesome BeReal, with users often timing it with scheduled events like concerts, band outings, or any other event that probably doesn’t happen every days. For example, think of the number of Emory students who waited for Jack Harlow to take the stage to smash a BeReal at Homecoming. The app has tried to combat this by randomizing the timing of alerts and indicating how many times a user retries, but people are constantly inventing new loopholes to circumvent these mechanisms.

BeReal is a vehicle of inauthenticity hiding behind a facade of candor. It presents itself as a place where, unlike other social media, our guards can be let down. But the reality is that it leverages users’ need for external validation like any other social media platform. Thus, the widespread success of BeReal points to an underlying and persistent problem—manufacturing moments to please others—that is particularly prevalent among college-aged students. Users are bored of taking the same photo of their beds, their pets, or their daily coffee, so it makes sense that many people are delaying their BeReals in order to showcase a more entertaining version of their lives.

As with any social media platform, BeReal negatively affects users by distorting reality. Users can fall into the trap of craving extrinsic validation for even the most basic aspects of their lives. On the other hand, it can provide a space where people can share a more unfiltered version of themselves – a rarity in today’s largely fabricated digital world. If BeReal really is as dedicated to authenticity as it claims, the app should at least prohibit users from posting outside of the designated two-minute window.

The Editorial Board is the official voice of the Emory Wheel and is editorially separate from the Wheel’s Editorial Board.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *