Let’s BeReal: Is The Rising Platform A Healthier Social Media?

A student observes posts of the Denmark vs. Harrison football game on Instagram.

Natalie Colon

A student observes posts of the Denmark vs. Harrison football game on Instagram.

Teens scroll for hours on social media, from liking videos on Tiktok to vivid galleries on Instagram. Social media is the tasteful eye candy one craves when life feels bland. Yet, it’s evident that social media doesn’t show real life, and viewers are simply looking through the stained glass. Many photos are refined and filtered to appear more attractive. People, food, landscapes— it’s all fake. Recently, however, the talk of the town has been about a new app, BeReal. It’s possibly the solution to this generation’s editing eruption.

BeReal is a French app launched in 2020, but gained tremendous popularity around the summer of 2022. The purpose of the app is to capture and share candid moments of life. Every day, at a random time, a notification sets off, starting a two minute countdown. In that time, the user has to use the app’s double-sided camera to take a picture of themselves and what they’re doing. When a user consecutively gets their photos on time, they build streaks, but if they are late, they lose it.

The DeSana Middle School band instructor visits his former students as they perform on the Denmark football field for the first time. (Lily Hewitt)

Unlike other social media apps, BeReal doesn’t have filters or editing. While there’s nothing wrong with minor amendments for things like lighting and glare, it can be excessive to the point where people cannot perceive what’s real or fake. 

Photos of vacant landscapes, for instance, aren’t left pristine. The colors and lighting exposure are revised. Unattractive objects such as signs and lights are removed. Everything has a veil draped over top, making it enthralling, yet deceiving. Notice when someone posts their vacation, they usually display photos of nice scenery, popular tourist spots, and food? The selection is particular, because people want their lives to appear fascinating. That’s another way BeReal contrasts other platforms: The app focuses on catching what’s happening now. Devanshi Bohra claims, “It gives a better understanding of what people are doing. Social media is always when and what you want to post but, for BeReal, it’s at a random time.”

Most people know what it’s like to stop at an image of an Instagram model and gaze in astonishment as their perfect features, carved from the finest marble adorn the screen. Bright eyes, radiant white smiles, they glow all around. There’s no denying their beauty, but what if none of it is true? It’s easy to forget that with technology, polishing little details in photos can be done effortlessly: Blemishes on skin smoothed to silk, bodies twisted to hourglasses, lips enlarged to plump berries. No matter the intentions, they set toxic beauty standards for those viewing. 

By disabling the ability to submit refined shots, BeReal is helping to eliminate some of those harmful ideas. McKayla Team expresses, “I think that it’s way healthier because there’s no filters and you get to see how people’s lives really are.” Teens are vulnerable to insecurities because they spend a surprising amount of time surfing through arrays of ingenuine content. Normalizing raw faces can help eradicate those feelings.

Students use BeReal to capture a silly photo, taken by their teacher. (Devanshi Bohra)

Some may argue that it’s not completely random though, because users can purposefully delay their BeReal capture until a later time. Nivriti Balaji says, “Sometimes I actually do it on time, but sometimes I just wait until I’m doing something fun.” Like Balaji, some people suspend their BeReals to set up a funnier post. 

Years from now, social media may continue to be the most effective way to share information. Whether it be a remarkable announcement or a simple photo dump, it’s important to have a platform that can reach a wide audience of people. That being said, keeping those networks genuine is crucial for the well-being of everyone. People depend on social media to fulfill their cravings for engaging content, but they do not want to drown in a pit of deception. With its absence of filters and spontaneous notifications, BeReal is a step in the right direction for a healthier social media.