BeReal’s rising popularity creates new space, new problems

⚠️Time To BeReal: 2 min left to read about the new hottest app!⚠️


Graphic by Alexa Waser

Linganore students post their photos to BeReal to show friends what they are doing. (From top left to right, Ella Pritchett, Alex Pietanza, Maddie Madariaga, Mark Sunkel, Nolan Lizmi, Josh Player, Joey Looper, Mitchell Maher, Nathaniel Zarate, Kevin Lloyd, and the Linganore Band.)

by Alexa Waser, Editor

“Guys, it’s time to be real!” is heard across classrooms everyday.

Students rush to grab their phones and snap a photo before the timer goes off. A single notification causes students to pause their learning for a moment everyday.

This pause is the effect of the most popular new social media craze, BeReal.

BeReal has been gaining major popularity over the last several months for its innovative way of connecting users. It was released in 2020 but only exploded in popularity over this past summer. In August, the application reached 10 million users.  

The way BeReal works is through a notification from the app that is sent once a day to users. It gives everyone two minutes to take a picture of what they are doing and upload it to their feed. The app has access to the front and back camera, showing both views of what someone is doing.

This feature is one of the reasons BeReal is so unique. Capturing both angles at once makes it hard to hide the truth about a user’s surroundings. 

The app has become so popular that TikTok has taken BeReal’s format to create “TikTok Now.” The new feature is exactly like BeReal and has its own feed that one can find next to the posting button. 

In BeReal, there is a friends feed and a public feed, and users have the option to post their photos to both feeds or only to friends.

BeReal is big on privacy. Everything posted onto the app is private and only seen by friends if one deliberately changes the settings. 

Though privacy seems to be a priority for the app, some users believe it is not very safe. 

“I feel like the privacy on the app is not the best … I’ve also heard that there are some people on discover, basically like a “for you page” on Tik Tok, that post some strange and inappropriate things on there. In my opinion, I don’t think it’s a safe app for teens,” said senior Ashlyn Martin. 

In addition to the discover page, there are other aspects of the app that are potentially unsafe. The app displays users’ approximate location and allows others to screenshot anything that is posted.

Many students downloaded BeReal to keep in touch with friends. Some students going off to college like the idea of being able to see what their friends from high school are up to at any given time. 

Other students heard about the app and were excited to explore a new and different platform.

Linganore junior Maddie Madariaga is an avid user. 

“I thought it was cool to try out a new app, and I was seeing so much about it,” said Madariaga. 

Due to its unique format, BeReal has been described as an “alternative” social media platform. It gives more of an inside look into people’s lives and does not allow editing like other social media apps.

The app displays the amount of times someone retakes their picture, and how long it took for them to upload the BeReal after the notification. This may not be a big deal to some users, but the late notification does make it seem like the person posting did not want people seeing what they were doing at the time of the notification. 

“There’s not really likes or anything, so you just post what you’re doing, and you don’t have to worry about it,” said Madariaga. 

The absence of the need for “likes” may be one low-pressure postive for this social media platform.

The purpose of BeReal is to share the unfiltered and candid parts of one´s day. The app prides itself on being a real alternative to what is often seen as artificial lifestyles projected on other social media platforms.

In the app store, the app states “Warning: BeReal won’t make you waste time, BeReal is real life, Bereal is your chance to show your friends who you really are for once.” 

While this is not a lofty aspiration for a social media app, some students believe that the app has a hard time reaching its objective, and particularly not in the way it is structured.

For example, some users do not really show what they are doing and show minimal surroundings in their posts. 

“You don’t get to see who people really are because people mostly just post the floor or their wall,” said senior Haley Lewis. 

As uninteresting as these posts can be, they do achieve the app’s objective of honesty. It demonstates that not everyone is out having fun all the time. Many times, teens are just sitting around at home, and seeing that on social media could help others feel less guilty about doing the same. 

On the other hand, some students believe that BeReal’s set-up works well in order to connect with other people in a more transparent manner.

“You just get to see what they’re doing; you cant hide anything … with other apps it’s easy to hide stuff that you don’t want people to see,” said Madariaga. 

With the app’s intention for users to post unfiltered images, it would be reasonable to assume that it would be much less stressful to users attempting to curate their online persona. Though this may be true, there are aspects of the app that do create more stress for some. 

Martin argues that BeReal stops “real life.”

“The fact that it goes off once a day and people go crazy about it seems kinda weird to me. It’s like an obsession for some people–mostly teens–just waiting for it to go off … It also has a countdown on the timer which makes some people try to make the BeReal ‘picture perfect,'” said Martin. 

Since BeReal has created a new way to share photos, it is expected to grow in popularity as people grow tired of other apps they have been posting to for years, such as Instagram and Snapchat.

BeReal´s current popularity is only the beginning. It is still fairly new, growing in users everyday, and people are excited for its original format.

“A lot of social media [platforms] now are trying to replicate [it] …  I think it will definitely become more popular,” said Madariaga. 


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