How long are we going to be “BeReal”? : The Rise of a Trending New App

BeReal is the latest trend from Gen Z, and like most oversharing opportunities online, I love it. I’m a prolific story poster for many reasons, but primarily because I find it fun.

BeReal seems to have fewer negative side effects than other social media platforms, such as the compulsion to compare and the grimace that occurs years later. I wonder though if we will continue to use BeReal for long or if it will become a mocked relic of the past, like sending Snapchat streaks.

The app is simple: it sends a notification to all app users at a random time every day, they take a photo with the front and back camera (with a slight delay), and those images are published for so your friends can see them.

Its other features include reacting to posts, a post card, and sharing to other social media platforms. Compared to the stories, reels, replies, direct messaging, mini-games, influencers, likes, comments, and follower counts we’re typically (albeit willingly) subjected to on other apps, BeReal is welcome and enjoyable in its simplicity.

Its purpose is in the name – to be real and counter social media perfectionism to find out what people are really like in their daily lives.

But this is where I start asking questions.

I don’t know if you can ever prevent, or should prevent, the careful cultivation of social media content. On BeReal, people wait to do something exciting, then post late or pose specifically for the photo.

I’ve been known to wait until you can’t tell I cried (I’m a water sign), and these are just a few examples of performances that carry the risk of social comparison. I had several conversations about this as friends and I tried to decide if we care how much feedback we get compared to others, a habit of a chronically online generation.

I can also admit that when I’m in bed watching Glee for the tenth time and I see someone clubbing or even being productive in the library, I can start to feel bad about myself. Maybe the fun I get from BeReal is what got me overthinking, classically turning something simple and fun into a relatively deep conversation and self-reflection.

Overall, though, I maintain that the good outweighs the bad when it comes to BeReal, and there are a few ways to make sure it stays nice and doesn’t join Vine and MySpace in the media graveyard. social.

Keeping it purely as a platform to interact with friends is relatively niche for social media, and important to avoid a lot of comparison. There’s no potential to build a career on BeReal, unlike Instagram and YouTube, which means there are no influencers with seemingly perfect lives to compare themselves to.

My advice to people like me who can’t help but compare our productivity and social life to those around us is to recognize that despite its purpose, BeReal will never truly represent anyone’s life. No one wants to post when they’re sobbing from a breakup or even feeling insecure (trust me), nor should they feel pressured to.

I got better at recognizing that someone might feel the most like themselves and the most “real” when dressed at the club, and that doesn’t make my reality any less impressive. Also, there’s no one to impress if you only add people you’re comfortable with, which I recommend if you’re an overthinker like me.

Initially I would shame people for posting late, but I realized that if I want BeReal to last, it has to remain an app where people can enjoy it in their own way, and the freedom that comes with less exposure and social norms of publication maintain this.

However, I think another important feature that contributes to the potential longevity of BeReal is the timed notification. Not only is it unique, but it can lead to fun messages and memories as well as create a sense of anticipation and excitement.

I complain that my BeReals are boring, but a personal highlight that illustrates my point is the week after exams when I was in bed every time BeReal sent their notification. It’s funny in retrospect, so I like using the time limit feature.

That being said, I reaffirm that no one should feel pressured to post exactly what they do all the time, so my advice is basically to do what works for you without worrying too much about others. After all, being real doesn’t necessarily mean being on time.

BeReal’s element of time sensitivity isn’t its only defining characteristic. The fact that it requires less effort than other social media will also help maintain its popularity. For years, it felt like people were trying to create a separate social media presence for friends only, with the second Instagram account being the main example that comes to mind.

The popularity of the “Finsta” or “spam account” has declined, perhaps because social media platforms now have private stories features for use on public accounts, but also because it takes a lot of efforts to maintain a public and private presence across (on average) 3 social media platforms.

I personally removed my followers from my private Instagram because I was starting to feel insecure when I moved to college, which is a whole other conversation, but overall I couldn’t worry about maintaining it. On the other hand, BeReal requires you to post once a day, with an image, regardless of the context.

The fun element is not lost as it requires minimal effort and has relatively little room for performance even if you post late. Apart from being less effort, it takes less time due to the low amount of content to consume, which makes it less addictive. Therefore, I would always say that the positive impact of BeReal persists even without time sensitivity.

My favorite part of BeReal is how it keeps you in touch with people. I enjoyed seeing what friends from college did on Easter and the same for friends from home during term. One of the main differences between BeReal and other apps is that you have to post every day if you want to see everyone’s posts, so naturally you keep up to date with people.

I read online (on a TikTok) how adorable “Realmojis”, i.e. reactions to posts, are, and I agree. My appreciation for BeReal outweighs any social comparison I’ve been subjected to, which is why I love the app and will defend it to complainers.

Although I questioned it, I also believe that BeReal can achieve its goal of countering social media perfectionism and finding out what people are really like if that’s what its users decide to share. The refreshing lack of features would make it extremely difficult to communicate a “perfect” life on BeReal, but, as I said, is it also important to break the habit of associating social media with real life and to understand that people will always control what they post.

Whether this means people aren’t “real” is up for debate. For now, however, I can safely say that a lasting enjoyment and popularity of BeReal requires a healthy mindset, detached from the habits of other social media, which can only be sustained if the developers of the application are kept simple.

Internet trends come and go, and I already find myself interacting less with BeReal than I did a month ago, but my friends and I have been posting daily for months and it doesn’t seem likely to stop for the moment. I think a balance needs to be struck between keeping the app simple and engaging, and I really hope the developers find that.

About Sandra A. Powell

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