BeReal: A more “social” media?

Sarah Middleton poses for a BeReal picture.

Sarah Middleton poses for a BeReal picture.

Hearing “BeReal went off!” and watching a crowd of people quickly whip out their phones to snap a picture has now become a routine in our everyday lives. But how “real” is BeReal? And will the app turn the tide of social media forever? 

BeReal was created in 2020 by Alexis Barreyat, a French entrepreneur, and is marketed as “a new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life,” according to the app’s website. The premise of the app is to show your friends exactly what you’re doing at any chance point during the day, no matter how mundane. 

Twice a day at a random time, BeReal sends users a notification, giving them two minutes to take a simultaneous selfie and picture of what they’re doing at the given moment. Users can only see their friends’ BeReals. These friends can react to posts with their own picture or comment. If a user posts late, all of their friends are notified that they did not abide by the two minute time limit. 

The app seeks to take away all the filters and standards of social media and remind users that everyone’s lives really may not be as interesting as they look on Instagram. This particular notion drew sophomore Sarah Middleton to the app. “You’re not comparing yourself to other social media posts…you’re not…getting ready to take a picture, you just take a picture of literally whatever you’re doing in the moment,” she says. 

BeReal also removes a follower count typical of other social media apps. Rather than looking at hundreds of Instagram posts from people she doesn’t know as well, Middleton enjoys being part of a smaller group of friends seeing what each other are doing throughout the day. “It’s just fun to have it go off and everyone just…do it and to see what people are doing,” she states. 

Junior Ocean Ruckdeschel does not have BeReal, but states that he is not especially passionate about the app. However, he does have some skepticism about BeReal. “I do not think that it shows people’s authentic lives,” he explains. “Even though BeReal interactions are limited as they are in order to promote authenticity, a photograph cannot accurately and authentically show a person’s full life, especially because the user still has the ability to prepare for and pose for the picture.” 

While Middleton thinks of BeReal as more of a fun way to stay in touch, she acknowledges that it can sometimes feel disappointing when the notification doesn’t go off when she’s out with friends or doing something deemed “interesting.” Her least favorite aspect of the app is how it “goes off at a horrible time and [she] just [has] to take a picture at a horrible time. In terms of comparing yourself, Middleton expressed that it is just a fact of life in our day and age: “I think it’s just another aspect of social media…[it is] in the back of my mind…like ‘oh, I wish I was doing something fun’ instead of sitting here and doing my homework.” 

Ruckdeschel also observes that some aspects of social media have the potential to be harmful, “but to pretend that social media is inherently or completely bad is both unhelpful and untrue,” he details. “Social media allows people to interact more easily, and with people who they would never otherwise talk to.” BeReal certainly lets people interact with each other on an intimate level, allowing others into the parts of their lives that they don’t spend time posing and editing for or stalking like counts and viewers’ comments. 

However, some are noticing a shift in how people use BeReal . Sophomore and BeReal user Abby Rothrock notes that with people posting late and adding more friends, the app has not stayed true to it’s original goal. “It just feels like you can’t really be real on the app anymore…the whole point of it is to post exactly what you are doing in the exact moment you get the notification, but now a lot of people, including myself, don’t do that.” 

Still, with BeReal, it seems as if everyone is in the same boat. Doing homework, going to sports practice, and picking something up at Target aren’t any of the things that we display on our curated feeds, but are all the small bits that make up our lives. Being able to bear all the boring, the stressful, the exciting, and the messy in a single picture with little fear of judgment may change the way that we use social media forever. 

“I think [BeReal will] make people comfortable to post on other social [media] without relying on filters and caring about people’s opinions,” Middleton explains. But the true test of if BeReal will have any effect on social media in the long run is how unequivocally “real” users decide to be.

“I still feel like it’s the most chill social media app,” Rothrock states. “I just hope that that doesn’t change.”


For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan