Jennifer Ojilere is a senior and health sciences major.
Growing up in the age of social media sharing, today’s generation is feeling immense pressure to portray picture-perfect lives. Now, one app is attempting to change all of that.
For those who are out of the loop, BeReal, developed by French techies Alexis Barreyat and Kevin Perreau, is the photo-sharing app that allows users to post one photo per day to show their followers what they are doing in real-time. The app sends out alerts when “it’s time to BeReal,” in which you have a two-minute window to, well, be real. If you post a BeReal late, your BeReal post will have a “late” timestamp on it, and your friends will get notified that you just posted late.
But, does BeReal accomplish what other apps have failed to do for many years? With the excessive usage of filters with facially altering features, is BeReal the app that takes away the pressure to “BeFake?”
I would argue yes.
Nowadays, posts are heavily weighted by the amount of likes they get. Social media culture continues to perpetuate the message that the most-liked post is the best post. Just look at the annual sharing of Instagram’s Top Nine posts.
TikTok is merely another one of the many social media platforms that competes for likes. Whether it is sharing a “day in the life” vlog or a clip of someone’s wedding, there is this constant need to win over the attention of passive online followers. And, if a post has less likes than another, users are more inclined to ignore the less-liked post and be drawn to its counterpart.
BeReal defeats that purpose with its simple concept.
By having a social media platform that allows people to post whatever they want at a universal time, there is less pressure to compose that perfect post for your friends. Also, a user cannot see their friends’ BeReals until they post their own. So, students can post something as simple as their laptop at the cafe, accompanied with a naturally tuned selfie without the need for hearts-induced competition and comparison.
Additionally, there are no posted follower counts, hashtags or anything else that promotes influencer culture in the same way as other social media platforms. This distinguishes BeReal while influencer culture gains prominence in social media platforms.
TikTok stars and Instagram influencers strive to cultivate growth in their follower trends by creating posts that promote lavish sponsorships and garner the most comments and likes. Many of these posts are designed meticulously for attention, whether it is highlighting certain body types, luxurious skincare or top-tier fashion brands. Seeing this as a constant reminder of what to strive for when using Instagram can be very intimidating, ultimately ruining the experience of just sharing photos that make someone happy.
Also, influencers tend to broadcast the best parts of their lives, leaving out most, if not all, of their reality. Their presences on social media are harshly edited, and this may lead young impressionable people into comparing themselves to influencers and their fabricated lives.
With the complete absence of influencer culture on BeReal, there is no need to feel overwhelmed by other social media stars, nor pressured to post something that is lavish and popular. Instead, the only limit to posting what is real to the user is the user.
All in all, BeReal stands for authenticity for young people. Living in the ever-changing and constantly trending generation, young people are among peers that live fulfilling and creative lives. Unfortunately, over time, social media platforms have lost the spark that allows their users to freely express themselves and all of their wonderfully weird experiences.
For one, Instagram has attracted a sea of content creators who felt directed to make more reels, or 15-second edited videos, than actual posts. It was this mode of content that ultimately enticed more viewers and, in relation, more registration to the platform.
Plus, many users have reported not even seeing their friends’ posts on their feed, with the change in algorithm granting less of a spotlight to their peers and more so other influencers.
Because of the toxic environment generated by app developers seeking gratifying popularity, the regular user feels pressure to lose their motivation to post wholesome pictures, with the yearn for more likes and attention. So, they turn to reels, merely an odd video of an odd trend.
With the rise of BeReal, social media is becoming what it was supposed to be all along: a place where people can be people.
Now, will updates to the app merely decline its quality and pressure-free features?
Instagram has fallen victim to such evolution, losing the main attraction of why one would create an account. With popularity surrounding influencers and not the everyday user, Instagram has become a mere cesspool of contentious content.
Snapchat was the big boom of the ‘stories’ concept, where a user can tell their peers all about their day within a 24-hour window, accompanied by fun filters and cute captions. Now, it is rare to find a college student still holding an account, with negative testimonials from Rihanna and Kylie Jenner. Its overall redesign and horrible compatibility with Android users led to the app’s untimely demise.
So, will the same happen to BeReal? Who’s to say?
All we know is, BeReal is giving other social media platforms a run for their money.