Photo courtesy of BeReal.

Arts and Entertainment

A step back to the age of authenticity: The rise of BeReal

BeReal is a social networking app initially released in 2020
<a href="" target="_self">Anne Chen</a>

Anne Chen

June 14, 2022
Influencer Emma Chamberlain predicts in her podcast: “We’re on the brink of a massive cultural shift.”

The notable 21-year-old internet personality isn’t the only individual foreseeing this cultural shift. But, to understand this said “shift,” the current culture ought to be defined — Instagram models, filters, endless scrolling, the birth of “internet influencers,” highlight reels and luring inauthenticities that drain the minds of younger generations.

Yep, what a step up from MySpace. 

Yet, while these toxic traits of social media continue to permeate society, many social media users resist the Kardashian-like mannerisms of curated glamor by shamelessly posting themselves in bed on a lazy Monday afternoon or flaunting their food babies after a big, greasy meal.

Especially with popular community-based platforms such as Tik Tok, the emphasis of being real radiates more than ever before in an effort to reverse the social media effect. Enter, BeReal. 

BeReal is a social networking app initially released in 2020, but it has recently been granted the viral crown among millions of teens. It isn’t exactly avant-garde, but it is a fresh take on a social media app.

Everyday at a randomly designated time, users receive a notification that gives them two minutes to capture their lives in that exact moment before the app marks the post as late. Within those two minutes, the front camera captures a selfie and the back camera captures whatever the user is doing; this could be a snapshot of them watching the new “Stranger Things” release, eating fruit or walking their dog. Then, the post uploads for added friends to see — filterless and candid. 

The popularity of BeReal is attributed to its authentic aims of giving friends a window into each others’ unedited lives. It eliminates the urge to perfect a carefully selected photo and instead encourages honest, random glimpses of an individual’s day.

It lacks, but rightfully so, manipulative algorithms and endless streams of content that elevate addiction and exacerbate mental health. Seems like Gen Z’s savior — if it has enough momentum to surpass media giants like Instagram and Snapchat, of course. 

The fight against Instagram is one rarely won, if ever. Other newer social-networking apps such as Poparazzi have had their share of the spotlight, but no newbie has gained as much or more attention as Instagram, except Tik Tok.

The question remains — how long until BeReal’s flame goes out, its smoke disappearing into the abyss of short lived apps designed to combat a toxic culture?

Thus, it’s unlikely society will experience an exorcism of these media giants, despite the continuing development of apps like BeReal. But, initiatives as such remain testaments to the effort of restoring the age of authenticity.

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