Art by Autumn Hardwick
BeReal is the new social media app catching Gen Z’s attention. The company’s goal is to provide a spontaneous, filterless place for people to share their real lives without the pressures of likes and followers, according to their LinkedIn.
In July, BeReal became the No. 1 app on the App Store, and, as of August, it has 10 million active users, according to PetaPixel. With the growth of the app, Pepperdine students share their positive opinions on BeReal, how they use it and their favorite parts of it.
Junior Amanda Siy said she would describe BeReal in three words— spontaneous, authentic and casual.
“It feels like what social media in the first place was intended to be— a way to keep up with people, but more real,” Siy said.
“My friend back home in New Jersey told me about it and I thought ‘Oh my gosh, I’m getting that right away,” junior Elija Gatling said. “I got it immediately.”
Every day, BeReal users receive the notification: “It’s Time to BeReal”— giving them 2 minutes to post. Sophomore Emma Lake said it utilizes the front and back-facing camera to showcase what the person is doing at that moment, and users cannot see others’ posts until they complete their own.
“Everyone does it at the same time, which is what makes it interesting,” Lake said. “Everyone’s supposed to show what they’re doing at that same second.”
When junior Mariah Macias first got the app, she said she was confused about its features and how to use it. Over time, she said she figured it out and loves using the app daily.
“I remember taking one of my first ones — literally didn’t even know how to work the app,” Macias said. “I was so confused. I knew it took a picture of both sides but I didn’t even know that you could flip the camera.”
Although the alert says there are two minutes to take the post, people can still take it at any point afterward. The consequence of not posting on time is a notification to followers saying the user just posted, including how many hours or minutes late they were. Lake said those who fail to adhere to the two-minute time space for the purpose of staging their post are defeating the purpose of the app — to be real.
“The purpose of it isn’t to show how luxurious and fun your life is,” Lake said. “It’s to show the boring side that we all experience and the embarrassing parts of it too.”
Posting on time is something Siy said she tries her best to do, but due to the unpredictability of the app’s timing, there are times when she prioritizes other things.
“There are lines I draw,” Siy said. “I won’t do it if I’m in class or if I’m having a serious conversation with my friend.”
After posting, BeReal provides certain features for users to have fun with. Followers can react to the BeReal with a preset or real-time selfie “Realmoji” and comments, according to Wired. Gatling said he enjoys the 0.5 camera zoom from the back-facing camera.
“One of the funniest features about BeReal that I just figured out — you can see how many times people retake their BeReal,” Gatling said.
Once the day’s BeReal notification goes off, the user’s post from the day before is no longer viewable to others. The user themselves can still view them utilizing the “Your Memories” section where all their past posts are stored on a calendar. Gatling said he loves this part of the app.
“Looking back on my memories throughout the summer, I remember what I did throughout that day and what I did after that, what I was wearing and the people I was with,” Gatling said.
As the app encourages everyone to post every day, Siy said it makes it easier to connect with her friends and family back in her hometown.
“During the summer I was like, ‘This is good to see what everyone’s doing back home,'” Siy said.
Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter still remain some of the most popular social media apps today, according to social media analytic software, Buffer. However, Siy said she feels a positive change in her attitude posting on BeReal rather than on other social media apps.
“For Instagram and Snapchat, I’m more self-conscious of what I’m posting, and I want to portray a certain image,” Siy said. “I feel like on BeReal I don’t have many apprehensions.”
Since trends and apps die down as quickly as they started, the future of BeReal is unpredictable, according to The Drum. Macias said she holds an optimistic outlook for the app and its popularity.
“I feel like it’ll continue to stay decently popular for a good amount of time,” Macias said. “I don’t really see it dying out because I feel like most people are pretty consistent about doing it. And there’s such a big community of people doing it — let’s be real together.”
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