By Barton Murray
BeReal is a rapidly growing social media platform that took on relevancy over this past summer. The platform launched in 2020 but first gained its widespread popularity and rise to fame in early 2022. It has amassed over 50 million users since then.
The way BeReal works is you make your personal account through your phone number. Once you’re all set up you can add friends through your contacts, mutual friends as well as through search. Then once a day BeReal will send you its infamous “Time to BeReal” notification. This is what makes up the main concept of the “anti-Instagram” application—which refers to how with BeReal you’re unable to concoct a special post to make your life seem more fun or amazing. In order to meet the app’s goal you’re expected to post a front and back photo within two minutes of receiving the notification. However, there “seems to be a bit of wiggle room in there socially.”
I have been a BeReal user for the past month and have absolutely loved the experience. It was quite a long time coming for me to delete Instagram and Facebook. However in the past week BeReal has caused me to do so as a bit of a trial run. I find that seeing everyone else basically doing the same things helps my anxiety or fear of missing out because you realize you’re not missing out on anything. With most posts on other platforms being very manufactured, I’ve found BeReal to be a breath of fresh air and much easier to fit in and be myself on. With Facebook losing popularity in most Gen Z’s, and mental health issues rising from social media mainly stemming from sites like Instagram, I could really see BeReal taking off even more in the next year.
BeReal was featured in an excellent skit in the October season premiere of “Saturday Night Live” starring Miles Teller and Mikey Day. In the skit the two enter a bank to attempt to rob it; however once they ask for money all the bank patrons and employees receive their BeReal notification. Once that comes through Teller demands an explanation and after a large but quick summary Teller’s character makes a very comical decision. This was truly one of the funniest SNL skits I had seen in a long time and it’s cool they had included BeReal as a topic.
Personally, I very much enjoy being a BeReal user. I find the app has accomplished its goal of being a social media platform that forces users to be much more authentic with what they post. In the past two weeks of my sabbatical from the old platforms I’ve found myself much more mindful and it has given me the power to not measure myself to others quite as often. My biggest issue using Instagram is that most posts feel manufactured to have others look more interesting or that their lives are better. Seeing that friends and colleagues are all mostly doing the same fruitless activities on the day to day almost helps you feel more like you’re not alone in this journey through life to get to where you may wish to be.
Of course, there is a small downside to BeReal, mainly just a minor bug. Occasionally when you make your daily post it won’t upload for hours even if you have a good internet connection. I expect the programmers to fix them as I’ve already seen multiple issues that have been corrected in a short period of time. Overall, my grade of BeReal on a scholastic scale would be an A. The app is very fun to be a part of and I don’t find it offers the same potential negative effects towards mental health that other apps unfortunately do.