Illustration by Nicole Nagamatsu

BeReal: the low-stakes social media platform

While many social media platforms push consumers towards virality, fame and amassing the most followers, there is one that is challenging its users to do something different. It is called BeReal, and its goal is to have its users do exactly that.

The premise of the app is that it sends a notification to all users at the same time. The time is different each day, so you never know when you are going to have to post. Once you receive a notification, you have exactly two minutes to capture a picture with both your front and back camera and post it to your feed. The goal is to be able to see what you and your friends are doing at the same time. If you do not post your BeReal, you cannot see what your friends have posted. The app also tells you how late you are.

BeReal challenges what social media can and should look like. There are no filters and you cannot upload pictures from your camera roll, so everything has to be authentic. You do not get caught up in likes or followers. Your friends can comment and like your posts, but follower counts are not visible and posts disappear after the next day’s BeReal is posted. 

As a college student, one of the reasons I enjoy social media is because it allows me to stay updated on what my friends from home are up to when we might not be in each other’s presence day-to-day. However, there is only so much that one can glean from an Instagram story or Snapchat. 

BeReal lets me have a sneak peek into moments of my friends’ lives who are at colleges all over the country in a way that other social media platforms do not. It is almost a way of making the mundane exciting. Even if I am just sitting in my room alone doing homework, seeing what all my other friends are up to at the same time is enjoyable. Sometimes, some of us may even be doing the same thing at the same time. This creates a sense of real-time interconnectedness that can be difficult to have with traditional social media.

When you download BeReal, the description reads “WARNING: BeReal is life, real life, and this life is without filters.” It also says that “BeReal won’t make you famous, if you want to become an influencer you can stay on TikTok and Instagram.” I think this message is what makes BeReal a great alternative to other social media platforms, and achieves the best part of social media, which is staying connected with friends. Social media can sometimes be toxic and lead to unhealthy comparisons as people are often subjected to unattainable standards. BeReal, on the other hand, prioritizes exactly what is in the name: being real.

I hope that BeReal gains recognition and popularity among Lewis & Clark students, and if you have made it to the end of this article I hope you and your friends download the app and enjoy the excitement of being real.

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