OpEd: BeReal: is it REALLY authentic?


Photo courtesy of the Creative Commons and trustedreviews.com

This is an example of what the BeReal daily notification looks like. It goes off once every day.

Every day at a different time, everyone is notified simultaneously to capture and share a Photo in 2 Minutes.
A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.

In the middle of 2022, a new social media platform was suddenly all the rage among teenagers and adults alike. This app, known as BeReal, sends a notification once a day. When the notification is received, the user has two minutes to take a picture of what they’re doing or who they’re with. The photo is then posted onto a feed where other friended users can see and react. Although this concept is relatively simple and honestly, not as cool asTiktok, the app BeReal has been able to accumulate a worth of 600 million dollars in only two years.

In 2020, BeReal was created in France by Alexis Barreyat and Kevin Perreau. However, the app didn’t gain a mainstream audience until the middle of 2022. Now, BeReal experiences 10 million daily users, a majority of which are teenagers.

The app’s premise is simple. Once a day, at any given point of the day, a notification pops up, telling the user that it is time to ⚠️BE REAL⚠️. The user then has two minutes to post a photo using the camera feature on the app, which takes simultaneous photos using the front and back camera. If the user fails to post after the notification, they can still post but there’s a caption telling others how late the photo was. BeReal also blurs a user’s feed until they, themselves post a photo, as an incentive to use the app’s primary feature.

BeReal’s purpose was originally to bring authenticity back to social media. There aren’t any filters or photo editing tools on the app. There’s also no follower count, ads, or even an official like button.

BeReal’s website states that the app is “a new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.”

However, several people believe that although BeReal is trying, it’s just like any other social media platform.

A common phrase that has occurred throughout recent months is “I hope the BeReal goes off right now.” BeReal inadvertently has turned this generation more towards documenting every little thing. Many times, users also “save” their BeReals until later in the day when they actually have something going on. Even though a photo of someone in bed isn’t the most glamorous, if that’s what they’re doing when the notification goes off then it’s their duty to ⚠️BE REAL⚠️ and keep the sanctity of the app in place.

BeReal has also been controversial through many friend groups as well. In a BuzzFeed article, an author writes about her experience with BeReal and realizing that her friends have been hanging out without her.

“For some, the FOMO [Fear of Missing Out] and jealousy present on Instagram are only worsened on an app where it is harder to strategically post or fake things,” states the article.

With success, there are bound to be copycats. And there are copycats galore when it comes to BeReal and it’s simple functions. Already, TikTok has created a TikTok Now feature. However, their version still has a like button and the concept of followers, defeating the purpose of the original. The social media apps Instagram and Snapchat have also released a dual camera function similar to BeReal’s.

Although BeReal has gotten mixed reviews, overall the app is pretty great. There are no ads or payments to be made. It’s fun to see what other people are up to and since the notifications are only once a day, it’s pretty easy to not get sucked in. The app’s purpose was to bring authenticity back into social media, and it did just that!