Unlike other social media apps, the app BeReal captures people in real time, without time for perfectionist editing.

Be Real

Unlike other social media apps, the app BeReal captures people in real time, without time for perfectionist editing.

Zoom in on the red puss mountain on my left cheek. Blur-blur-blur- zoom in on the pimple on top of my right eyebrow, blur-blur-blur. My waist is sticking out too much, was I sucking in enough? Edit-warp-warp, it’s believable—hopefully. Oh gosh, my teeth are a little yellow… whiten. Okay, now my face looks fat. Warp left cheek, warp right cheek. Are guys going to judge my figure? Yeah, probably. Butt warped. Boobs warped. Okay, I’m done. Oh, wait, the background, brighten, hues, sharpen. 

Finally, my picture made it through its rounds on VSCO, FaceTune, and Photoshop—ready for Instagram. My last post’s analysis showed me that 30 people shared it—what were they saying about me? Maybe I shouldn’t even post.

I did it. Posted. Hopefully, it’s believable. It’s out of my hands now. Anyone can criticize. I threw my phone across the room and buried my face in my blankets to hide from the likes, comments, and shares. I tossed and turned all night, checking my phone every minute, making sure my like to comment ratio was perfect.

Social Media has created a need to curate posts that depict users’ lives to be perfect. The rising rates of perfectionism, synonymous with increased social media usage, raise concerns about perfectionism being the underlying cause of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and poor physical health. Launched in 2020, the app BeReal is on the mission to counter this phenomenon, with its motto being “no bullshit.”

Likes on Social Media haven’t been for people to share their enjoyment for the post. Instead, likes had become a way for users to distinguish their internet worth from someone else’s. Instagram, in particular, has been linked to increased levels of anxiety, depression, loneliness, bullying, and fear of missing out. In an effort to create a safer space for users, the app has been banning filters that change facial features and restricting posts that promote weight-loss products and cosmetic surgery.

Senior Kaitlyn Garza in Statistics 2 while Rosie Vanunu is also taking her BeReal.
Courtesy of Kaitlyn Garza

BeReal sends a notification each day at a random time with a two-minute countdown to take a picture of whatever you are doing right then. The app takes a picture from both the front and back-facing camera. The unexpected notification fosters a social media that is genuine and raw—refreshing, compared to the carefully curated posts on apps like Instagram and Snapchat. 

Founder Alexis Barreyat created BeReal to solve social media users’ disdain towards monetization on apps such as Instagram that have been squeezing out the realness of their feeds. Although, after its launch in 2020, the French company didn’t see exponential growth until COVID-19 restrictions lightened in the summer of 2021. The app’s exponential success with 10,000 downloads per day in July, claiming more than 400,000 daily users. The rave about the app is making its rounds through universities such as Georgetown and Drexel and is now made its way into the daily routines of CVHS students. 

Zander Alt’s BeReal at the end of Carnegie Snowco on the parking garage.
Courtesy of Zander Alt

BeReal has no way of editing or overlaying filters. The pictures posted are all real and, for once: unedited. Tik Tok and Snapchat’s built-in “beauty filters” essentially set a standard for your skin to always be perfectly clear, narrow face, strong features, a small nose, big eyes, long eyelashes… almost impossible to attain them all without the filters.

Influencers have taken over the rawness of social media, constantly posting pictures that make them marketable for brand deals. Because their posts are professionally photographed and edited, users on the other side of the screen are met with what seem to be flawless people, adding to the unrealistic internal standards set by your average social media user. 

BeReal has done what every other social media has been scared to do: remove likes. Although Instagram has introduced its hidden-like count feature, users can still see who likes what. The social capital aspect of social media is entirely eliminated on BeReal. In order to see what your friends have posted, you have to upload your BeReal for the day- otherwise, the entire feed is blurred out. Users just post to get a glimpse at the lives of their friends when they are apart—unedited. The app has also removed follower counts. Users can’t compare the number of followers they are attaining. 

Unlike posting on Instagram, BeReal is actually fun to post on. There is no stress about comparing likes, comments, and shares. They have created a platform where you can acceptably post a picture laying down in bed with day-old mascara still crusted under your eyes or while you’re in the dairy aisle in Whole Foods picking what cheese you want in your pj’s—even sitting on the toilet is acceptable.