BeReal or BeWare?

Right+before+the+bell+rings%2C+the+CavsConnect+quickly+poses+together+to+post+their+BeReal.+

Isabel Donner

Right before the bell rings, the CavsConnect quickly poses together to post their BeReal.

The clock reads 5 PM, your phone has a notification saying it is “Time to BeReal” and you have been waiting all day for this very moment. But what exactly does it mean to “BeReal” and is it a good thing?

BeReal is a photo-sharing application that has grown exponentially in the last months, despite existing for some years now. With the app, all users are sent a notification at a random time during the day. The unique part of it is that everyone receives the notification at the same time, starting a two-minute timer to take an ideally unposed snap. A “BeReal” consists of taking two pictures within seconds of each other: a selfie, and one of whatever is in the rear camera with the goal of being authentic: hence BeReal. The photos are then posted for all of your friends to see and react to. While the app has its allure, its innocent appearance disguises its underlying dangers.

Cavaliers being real in the 9000 building courtyard. (Courtesy of Armando Camejo)

The app attempts to connect its users on a level rarely seen elsewhere, as they are meant to assemble on the app at the same time and post their BeReal. This form of communication is intuitive and works well. With this concept, the app should only be accessed once a day and remove the urge to constantly check for what is new. Should users be late to the party, the worst that will happen is that others will see just how late they were. Scary right?

“I wouldn’t say I am worried about being late because most of my friends post late anyway so it doesn’t really matter when you post your BeReal,” senior Julio Bonjoch said.

However, there are times when one would rather disconnect from their phones and simply enjoy the moment. Encouraging people to check what their friends are up to is a double-edged sword. In a perfect world, the app would be utilized to connect its user base, but in reality, it may enable the FOMO, or fear of missing out, response as individuals see others hanging out and having fun while they are cooped up at home. BeReal has only added another app to the social media pile. 

Senior Edgar Perez (right) takes his BeReal in IB History. (Edgar Perez)

The daily notification gimmick of the app is fun and intriguing for the first few days, but this may spell the end for the app and its popularity in the long run. How long will it take before users get bored doing the same thing every day? How long will it take before it loses its nuance? Clearly, the app needs something to hold its audience if it has any hopes of sticking around and standing out. After only a few days of use, the app becomes just another social media platform to check periodically. 

“I feel like the app can go either way. BeReal has gained a lot of popularity and it might not be as popular to the later generations, but as young teenagers, we love the app. I see it being a big thing for a long while,” senior Armando Camejo said.

Other social apps have survived the test of time because they are constantly flooded with excitement, color and information. On the other hand, BeReal is designed to display the mundanity of life. While charming, it does not help its success in the long term.

Ready to cheer on their team, these seniors captured the moment they were headed to the Cavalier football game. (Courtesy of Helena Macedo)

As consumers of these apps, we experience enough emotional unsteadiness without needing to feed the flame further. The app could prove to be too real for some and cause more harm than good. Perhaps this app is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, snapping everyone out of their zombified, vertical-scrolling trances once and for all.

Ultimately, BeReal and its current fascination stand as brief trends. Trends come and go and BeReal seems to be on its way out, for the better.