Opinion | BeReal encapsulates authentic social media

By Sanchita Teeka, Columnist

⚠ Time to BeReal. ⚠

2 min left to capture a BeReal and see what your friends are up to!

 

This is the notification BeReal users around the world get every day at a randomly generated time. The purpose is to post a picture of whatever it is that they are doing right then and there. No filters, no editing, no excessive posing time, just 2 minutes to capture your authentic self.

The app even goes so far as to show the number of retakes a person took to snap their BeReal, leaving no room for faking. Users also can’t see others’ posts without posting themselves first, taking away from the influence of others on social media.

Additionally, if users post after the BeReal time, the app points that out on the post listing how long after the BeReal time the user posted. Regardless of the time at which the user posts, they are allowed only 2 minutes to take the picture. These features of BeReal directly contrast the supposed flawless pictures posted all over Instagram, Snapchat and other social media. 

In a world of posed picture-perfectness, BeReal is an app focused on imperfect daily moments. 

For years, social media has been known for its negative effects on people’s mental health and self-image. Studies show correlations between the time spent on social media and having negative body image. Much of this is due to one simple fact: Most social media isn’t real.

BeReal has become the social media platform that is real, forcing users to show the supposedly mundane aspects of their lives they wouldn’t post otherwise. 

Some have argued that BeReal is simply just Snapchat “streaks,” a practice where people send a single picture to multiple people. They send this picture in order to maintain a “streak” — a certain number of days of consistently snapping photos back and forth. While these may seem similar, they aren’t exactly the same. 

For one, Snapchat streaks can be done at any time in the day — so there is no pressure to show one’s self when not “picture-ready.” Snapchat also has no count of retakes, which allows users to take as many retakes as desired without others ever knowing. Additionally, Snapchat is loaded with numerous filters and effects that can be used to enhance one’s presentation of themselves. 

The biggest difference between the two apps is that the premise of BeReal is to post one’s authentic self, but Snapchat’s goal is not. There is no goal or requirement of Snapchat to send streaks, but rather an option users have on the app. 

Without a doubt, social media is an incredibly powerful tool. Thus far, it has been primarily used to display our best moments and portray them as our usual moments. BeReal has taken the power of social media to do the very opposite and show our true realities.

 

Sanchita is a freshman in LAS.

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