Graphic by Shivali Kanthan ’24
BeReal takes internet by storm with attempt at authenticity, casual social media
November 7, 2022
BeReal, a relatively new social media app, has recently captured the attention of many social media fanatics. With a recent valuation of $600 million, the app sends all users a notification at a different time each day, alerting them to “be real.” Users are prompted to take a photo with both their front-facing and back-facing camera within the two minutes allotted, or else they are labeled as “late.”
Users have reportedly felt less pressured by BeReal as opposed to other social media due to its informality and impulsivity. Photos expire after a new notification is sent, and users can access their old BeReals in a private archive.
However, some have expressed concerns and skepticism about the true authenticity of the app as well as safety concerns. For example, if users are not cautious, they can share their location through geotags, or even worse, personal information through the photograph.
BeReal not “real” enough for enjoyment
I’m currently five weeks BeReal sober. When you put it that way, it sounds like I’m aggressively against the app—I’m not—but after a summer of reflecting, I’m doubtful of my future BeReal status.
When I first joined BeReal in May, the concept seemed perfect for me: a way to share how you are and what you’re doing each day without the hassle of constructing a picture-perfect Instagram post. As my usage of BeReal continued over the months, I found it less exciting and more exhausting to post. The feeling when you post a picture of you sitting in bed while being shown photos of people at concerts, parties and other activities that are far more adventurous than what you’re doing feels disheartening and embarrassing — even if you were hanging out with friends a couple of hours ago.
However, my experience may be because of an issue with authenticity, as BeReal’s features allow it to be more “fake” than it seems. The opportunity to post your daily BeReal up to 24 hours late means that you could wait until the perfect time to take your picture.
This does pose an important question—what is it to “BeReal”? BeReal’s entire premise is promoting authenticity, but if people use the opportunity to take their BeReal at “the best” time, that’s just as bad as the filtered social media lifestyle the app is against. If one’s authenticity is questioned on an app that’s all about being genuine, that makes the app have an unhealthy environment.
Using BeReal is supposed to be simple and carefree, but the app’s environment can pressure you into putting a lot more care into your posts than you should.
In middle school, Paper Arts Editor Alex Gaines ’25 wrote for her school newspaper, Ursus. Through Ursus, Gaines was able to incorporate her passion...
BeReal: Instagram’s effortless, relatable twin sibling
Four weeks ago, I uploaded my first BeReal. I had heard murmurs about the new social media platform all summer and finally decided to try the app myself. After all, the concept HAD piqued my interest: a social media platform designed to expose the raw and unfiltered truths of life? Say no more.
After four weeks of “Being Real,” I can confidently say that while the app is far from perfect, it is one of the few social media platforms that edges towards authenticity.
Created by Alexis Barreyat in 2020, BeReal is a social media platform that allows users “to discover who their friends really are.” Once a day, BeReal will send out a notification prompting users to post a photo of themselves at that moment—no filters, no enhancements and once one chooses to respond to the notification within the 24 hour window, they are only allowed 2-minutes to take their picture leaving little time to do hair and makeup.
The genius of BeReal is that it provides a window into the daily lives of others. Since downloading BeReal, I’ve gotten to see a new side of my friends. Unlike other social media platforms, BeReal promotes honesty and sincerity.
Contrary to Instagram and TikTok, BeReal is not a popularity contest. For me, posting on Instagram is stress-inducing. I constantly compare the amount of likes I receive on my posts with those of my friends, hyper-analyzing my pictures as I rack my brain, trying to figure out why my photos always flop. Am I not good enough? Instagram seems to think so.
But my experience using BeReal has been stress free. Without the added worry of likes and followers, BeReal allows me to be vulnerable, without being judged or graded.
BeReal does not give its users the ability to add filters to photos either. I’m tired of the staged, glorified images that cloud my Instagram feed—I want to see my friends for who they truly are. The beauty of BeReal is its lack of glamor. So, the next time you post on social media, be honest, be candid, BeReal.
Paper News Editor Mia Bomback ’25 went with a friend to the Back-To-School issue layout and instantly fell in love with Inklings and the chaos that comes...