FEATURE: Quick, BeReal!

BeReal strikes the social media game

Lilly Wall


Early this year, rising social media app BeReal rapidly caught tens of millions of teenage eyes across the nation. Unlike other social media apps, BeReal stands out by encouraging users to show their “real selves” by spontaneously notifying them once a day to take an unfiltered selfie and photo of what they are doing at that specific moment.

For full transparency, the app utilizes the front and back cameras simultaneously, resulting in a photo displaying a selfie and what you’re doing. The user chaotically scrambles within two minutes to post their BeReal before it becomes late and they won’t be able to view their friends’ BeReals until they post theirs. 

BeReal also stands apart from other social media apps since it lacks algorithms, unlimited scrolling, and direct messaging. Many believe the simplicity of the app keeps people engaged.

“Since you don’t talk to anyone on it and it’s just photos, it’s a lot more fun,” freshman Addie Hoover said.

Many students at school have noticed that the daily unplanned two minute timer puts an emphasis on authenticity.

“[It’s] the whole thing about ‘being real,’” senior Perry Bonner said. “You can’t post what you’re doing at any given time, with other social media apps, you don’t have just two minutes to post.”

As the app became bigger, users began to use its purpose in different ways. Bonner believes the app’s audience growth has resulted in it becoming less genuine when people wait to post their BeReal until doing something worth seeing. 

“Just waiting till you’re doing something interesting defeats the purpose,” Bonner said.

However, the rise in popularity swiftly gained its negative effects as well. Many say BeReal impacts teenagers’ FOMO [Fear of Missing Out], specifically when seeing your friends hang out without you. 

“I’ve posted on BeReal and I’ve had a friend see that we’re hanging out… It just impacts how they feel in that moment,” Hoover said.

Furthermore, many BeReal notifications come during school hours, prompting students to pause their work to take their BeReal. 

Ceramics teacher Bryan Lloyd believes the app adds another reason for students to scroll on their phones, and ultimately has made teenagers increasingly preoccupied with phones in class. 

“It’s a way that just ties people even more to their phone because they’re checking to see if it went off with every vibration in their pocket,” Lloyd said.

The simple notification may cause distraction and ruckus for classes with a lecture-based atmosphere, but for choir teacher Joshua East, he finds the app relatively harmless because of the natural atmosphere of his class. 

In choir, phones are not accessible and are kept away during class to keep students hands-on which eliminates issues with BeReal usage during class.

“It demands presence for such a short amount of time. It’s less disruptive than a lot of other types of social media,” East said.

Students predict that BeReal will remain popular due to the app’s simplicity and lack of social media pressure.

“Your post is up for a day, then it goes away, and then you just do it the next day,” Bonner said. “There’s not as much pressure to have the perfect picture.”

Check out some awesome Free State BeReals.