Staged vs. Sincere: BeReal incorporates authenticity into social media


Kaden Moubayed

When the notification goes off at a random time each day, many U-High students are quick to capture their BeReal within the two minute window.

Audrey Matei, Arts Editor

Buzz Buzz. “⚠️Time to BeReal. ⚠️” 

At a random time each day, this notification lands onto millions of phones across the globe, prompting users to take two simultaneous images within 120 seconds and “be real” in an era of hyper-curated online presences.

BeReal has become the newest social media obsession for many U-High students because of its intimate and authentic nature, but some have concerns over how genuine a social media platform can really be.

The app is centered on the idea of being an “anti-social media” social media platform. The random timing of the daily notification allows users to take a realistic snapshot of their day. There are no likes on BeReal. Instead it has the “reaction” feature, which is used to take a tiny circular photo that is displayed next to the original post. In lieu of public follower counts, users must mutually “friend” each other to view posts. 

These features lead to an intimate online experience limited to small clusters of users and supposedly removes the pressure present on other online platforms.

Junior Adam Cheema joined the app in January, months before it garnered mainstream attention. He appreciates the app’s unconventional nature.

”My impression was that it’s a very fun solution to the social media problem of unreal expectations,” Adam said.

Sophomore Millie Norton has been using BeReal for a few months and said she loves how low-stakes posting is.

“It’s really personal because you don’t have to have a bunch of people seeing your posts,” she said, “and it’s not so much pressure.”

“It’s really personal because you don’t have to have a bunch of people seeing your posts, and it’s not so much pressure.”

— Millie Norton

Although the app allows users to post after the two-minute window and retake photos after the original snapshot, this information is displayed above the post to remain consistent with the philosophy of authenticity. These features lead some to criticize the app as it still allows users to somewhat curate their online presence.  

Adam said that BeReal has become more contradictory to its original message since its growth in popularity. 

“I’ve seen the BeReal culture change. When I first had it, I used to post exactly as it came out and react to everyone’s post because I only had three friends, but now people say that there are social norms,” he said. “BeReal has presented us as consumers with a problem, and that is too much social media, but here’s the thing: BeReal offers a solution in more social media.”

Senior Lauren Tapper downloaded the app in mid-September, and says that even though the app has flaws, it’s up to the individuals to use the app as intended. 

“Because it is an online platform, of course people are going to curate what they’re doing, but it really depends on the user,” she said. “On Instagram, it’s so much easier to overthink what you’re posting, but if you embrace BeReal, I don’t think it’s hard to use it in the intended way.”

Love it or hate it, BeReal is a platform that offers something new at the buzz of a daily notification.