Be Real or Be Fake

Have you ever been told to “get off your phone and be in the moment”? In this technological era, it’s hard not to capture the moment on technology to post on social media or just keep in your camera roll. Social media apps like Instagram and Facebook thrive off of not “truly cherishing” these moments.

A new app called BeReal aims to destroy this artificial quality. Created in 2020 and gaining popularity in early 2022, this app has attempted to make social media more authentic. Every day, BeReal sends a notification at a random time, and users have two minutes to “be real.” Using the app, you simultaneously take a picture using the front and back camera and post it for your friends to see. You can “react” to your friend’s BeReals by taking a picture of your reaction to their post. If you miss the notification, however, you can still post, except the picture will be labeled with how many minutes or hours “late” (after the app sent the message) you are. Essentially, the app’s purpose is for people to be genuine about their lives instead of picking and choosing moments to share with others. The creator of BeReal, Alexis Barreyat, says that BeReal is changing people’s toxic perception of themselves slowly created over the last year with face filters making everyone feel secure about posting unedited pictures of themselves again.” 

The point of social media is to share your likes and dislikes, especially about your daily life. You may share on your social media that you are on a gorgeous vacation or going to brunch with your friends. People usually post only the best part of their lives because why would you want people to see you crying or doing a tedious activity? So, users pick and choose when they want to post, which creates an artificial perspective on someone’s life. 

We are so used to social media in the sense that we meticulously engineer what we post that it is almost impossible to “be real.” Let’s say someone is doing homework and gets the notification. There are three options this person can execute. 1. They can accept the app’s purpose is to be authentic and just take the BeReal, showing everyone you are doing something boring like homework. 2. In the two minutes they have to “be real,” they can quickly manufacture the setting to look fun before the two minutes are out, making the image genuine. 3. You can ignore the notification and wait for you to “be real” later when doing something more post-worthy. Two out of three of these options entirely disregard the app’s mission. 

 Social media is known for causing anxiety and tension among adolescents. Hence, Senior Abby Samson never downloaded BeReal, regardless of the extreme popularity amongst her friends and other people her age. Samson says she’s “just trying to stay away from any new social media because I don’t want to have another FOMO-inducing medium.”

Contrarily, Junior Sophia Baron explains that she loves BeReal “because it’s a fun way to see what your friends are up to. People don’t post on Instagram the same as they would on BeReal, so it’s cool to see an inside view of how people live.”

With so many other social media platforms, why do we need another? Yes, we have established the difference in authenticity, but realism still lacks. This app could also get boring. For example, if BeReal goes off at 1:46 on a Thursday afternoon, what’s so exciting about scrolling through a feed of all of your friends in their 5th-hour class? Sure, it’s technically natural, but nobody cares. But that’s the thing, does anyone care about your life? People tend to brag about the prominent aspects of their lives, but do people really stop what they are doing to think about their life? Honestly, yes. Being jealous of someone else’s clothes, money, friends, etc., comes from social media. We would have no idea what people were doing if it weren’t for it. 

BeReal does have its moments, though. On September 9th, Berkley had their wild west-themed home game against Pontiac and was in the lead. The crowd was wild and ecstatic. And in perfect timing, BeReal went off. My feed was covered in smiling students wearing cowboy hats, capturing the moment of school spirit. But then again, it’s just teens being greedy to show other people they are having a fantastic time at a social event. BeReal is just another deadly variant of the social media epidemic.  

Our generation is hard-wired only to post desirable aspects of life that we want others to recognize with admiration or envy. Next time you get the notification, “Time to BeReal,” think to yourself, “Am I really being real?”