Offbeat | BeReal reinstating candidness on social media

Offbeat is a bi-weekly blog offering new and meaningful takes on all things media.

By Jillian Rowan, Staff Writer

This is the social media app for people that hate social media.

We have entered an era where airbrushing, altering and photoshopping occupy an outlandish majority of the posts we view. With this new age, uncontrollable social media, we are making a return to the days of unedited spontaneity. BeReal — which France’s Alexis Barreyat created in 2020 — is a semblance of retaliation, directed towards the perfect-centric social media climate of today.

How to BeReal

Once every 24 hours, every BeReal user receives a notification. It’s time-sensitive, providing only two minutes to capture what’s happening around you. If you miss that two-minute time slot, worry not — you can post late! But your post will be time stamped. Be mindful, though — in order to prevent any lapses in authenticity, you cannot see what others have posted until you yourself have added a post.

BeReal offers a plethora of opportunities to see what your friends are getting up to. With the map feature, viewers are able to pinpoint where their peers are in the world, spanning time zones and continents. With the comments feature, you can reply to and chat with pals. The RealMoji feature, an obvious spin-off on Apple’s emojis, allows for the creation of your own equally funny and original emoticons. The app even boasts an archived BeReal calendar, where you can reminisce on your previous posts.

Photo by Jillian Rowan

Don’t be #fake

And for those still trying to be picture-perfect, BeReal’s got your number. The app harnesses both the rear and front-facing cameras, so there’s no hiding what’s going on around you. Over and above that, you can see how many retakes someone has on a post, so don’t be a fraud. I know you can’t do a full face of makeup and brush your hair in two minutes flat — I’d be angry if you did!

Make the Internet casual again

Everyone, including myself, is harkening back to the days of “casual Instagram.” This entails posting “photo dumps” that house a variety of people, places and things, spanning their past few weeks or months. But what is rarely disclosed is that this seemingly effortless display of aesthetics has been precisely calculated, contemplated and rearranged a hundred times over. BeReal doesn’t give you that luxury — or rather, that torturous task.

You don’t have to fixate, or worry about whether or not people will enjoy your content — that is the very premise of BeReal. There is no editing, curating or planning out content, just 120 seconds to capture the present moment.

Media you can’t monetize off of

“BeReal won’t make you famous — if you want to become an influencer, you can stay on TikTok and Instagram,” reads its App Store description. That is yet another appealing factor of BeReal — everyone is on equal ground, and there’s no pedestal to get atop of. BeReal perpetuates the idea of a genuine and filterless world, minus the performativity and ad revenue.

Real friends are Be(ing)Real

BeReal offers an opportunity to bolster even more intimate relationships with close friends, according to Elena Cavender of Mashable.

“The appeal of the BeReal feed isn’t the content — it’s that you like your friends and care about what they’re doing,” Cavender wrote.

When it’s just you and your close peers, the app offers a tight knit community feel — there’s no need to add and entertain acquaintances.

BeReal can be especially beneficial in long-distance friendships and relationships, and even with family. Kelly Young, a student at Drexel University in Philadelphia, said it’s a realistic way to stay in the loop without actually being close by.

“BeReal is a really fun way for us to keep in touch,” Young told Mashable. “It’s the most realistic insight into what our lives are like now.”

Remember — it’s not about being perfect, it’s about being real

This is the first social media app to display real life just as it is. No ads, no likes — just you and your best friends being your truest selves. BeReal is a chance to be honest online once more. Take it.

Jillian writes about a range of media topics. You can reach her at [email protected].