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BeReal- one of the internet’s latest viral social media platforms. I, like many, was quick to jump on the train when the platform first began to gain traction last summer. Staying true to its namesake, it is heavily promoted as a more authentic form of social media but, after seven months of using the app, I have a different take. To me, Be Real is first and foremost about connection. Of course, this isn’t different to many of the other social media platforms out there, connection and community are the glue that holds social media together as a whole, but BeReal brings the capability to do it on a much more personal level.
What is BeReal?
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First things first, what actually is BeReal anyways? The 2022 winner of iPhone App of the Year, the premise is, that with BeReal, each day everyone with the app gets a notification at the same, random time. From there, you open the app and take a picture with your front camera and back camera simultaneously, so your friends can see what you’re up to at that exact moment, no filters, no setup… except that’s not entirely true. Nothing can stop you from retaking your BeReal as many times as you’d like (though the number will be displayed with your post to discourage this), or you can ignore the notification altogether and come back to do it whenever you’d like. If you’re dedicated to sticking to the “rules”, this is not a problem, of course.
I stuck to these so-called “rules” very intensely for the first while. However, I soon found that I would constantly be hoping my BeReal would go off at the right moment, something interesting, and the premise of “authenticity” went out the window. It was a sort of pressure that took the fun out of it. Since then, I have instead treated it simply as a way to document each day through a photo. I’m someone that loves reminiscing and looking back at my days, as well as documenting my life through photography, and so treating it as a way of capturing the most memorable part of my day has totally re-shifted my perspective back to one of enjoyment. For this reason, I am of the opinion that the platform is completely overlooked for its potential as a “digital diary” of sorts. From speaking to friends who use this social media platform as well, I have gathered that I am not alone in this opinion. Pictures are sentimental to so many, so having a platform that allows you to take one photo per day which is then compiled into a calendar format, is the perfect way to document each day to look back on.
Keeping Conversations Flowing
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I don’t just enjoy BeReal for the photos alone. As mentioned, first and foremost, when I think of the platform, I think of connection. While BeReal has the option the share your images with everyone on the app, I much prefer the feature to share it with people of your choosing alone. I share mine only with my close group of friends, and as a result each day the app doubles as a hub for us to chat and catch up. We’re all at different places in our life, busy with school, work, and other commitments. As the times when we see get to see each other grow fewer and farther in between, this is one of the ways I can still feel connected to them. Even when we can’t see each other in person, BeReal is a great way to stay in the loop and keep up with what each of us are getting up to, and makes it easy for us to take the time to connect everyday. This is also a contributing factor to why I prefer to share more memorable moments through my photos on the app. Particularly when you post about a more memorable part of the day, the interactions that come from it feel much more meaningful. Through posting that photo and potential caption, we have already set out a topic of conversation in a way that feels natural and organic, in a way that we may not have been able to over simple text messaging. BeReal is a wonderful way to get meaningful conversations flowing, in a way that does feel closer to authentic, in the moment conversations as well because none of the comments are saved once the app resets the next day. For these reasons, it makes for a platform that opens up to potential to remain connected with friend digitally, but in a way that still feels intimate.
A Great New Feature
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More recently, and much to my excitement, BeReal has made a clever partnership with Spotify. This is not only a great move in terms of trying to reignite online conversations surrounding the platform, but perfectly plays into the digital scrapbook, sharing-with-friends component, that I personally love. The platform now gives users the ability to link their Spotify account to their BeReal account. Making it so that when you take your BeReal for the day, if you’re listening to a song or podcast, it will be shared alongside it. It adds an extra component to your documentation of your day, and allows you to share your favourite music with others everyday, and maybe even get a new suggestion for your own listening too. I tried the feature out for the first time today, and my best friend was quick to comment expressing her shared love of the song, sparking a conversation about the playlists we’ve been listening to as of late. This is a great new collaboration that clearly amplifies the benefits the platform already provides.
At the end of the day, the truth behind BeReal remains highly subjective. To “be real” means different things to each user of this popular platform. It is an app that is still evolving in its more newfound popularity, so there is not doubt that what it means will also continue to change as the platform itself changes. While it has cemented itself as a favourite of mine for documenting my life and connecting with my close friends, you may love it for a completely different reason.
So, what do you think? Are you a user of this platform, and if so, how do you feel about it?
How do you #BeReal? Read more about the platform that took the world by storm here: https://tinyurl.com/3bfva745
Are you using the viral platform BeReal? Discover what the app could mean to you: https://tinyurl.com/3bfva745
I love that you wrote about this… my stepdaughter talks about this app sometimes and I literally had no idea what it was. I think my millennial is showing…
This app sounds great! I like that you’re choosing to use it authentically rather than falling into the typical pattern of making everything look perfect on social media.
Glad you enjoyed! As I discussed I think it can still fall into the pattern of inauthenticity just the same as any other social media platform, but this is the only one where I’ve ever actively posted myself so it was kind of like experiencing that environment in that way for the first time and I kind of had to learn and unlearn that feeling of pressure and self-consciousness of posting even though it’s only my friends seeing it.
I actually never got into BeReal (although I did use TikTok Now for a bit) so this is very interesting. I did always wonder if it made people be really in the moment or when someone was doing something more unique or interesting if they would just constantly be hoping the notification would go off. It does seem like it could be a great tool to help break that “perfect” image often perpetuated on social media.
I do think it’s a great app that’s worth a try, but at the same time it is definitely easy to get into that mindset of hoping for the notification and I still find myself feeling that way at certain times. It’s a fun concept but at the same time I wouldn’t go so far as to say that anyone without it is missing out!