New social media app based on authenticity takes younger generation by storm

Margaret Metz, Online Editor-In-Chief

Alexis Barreyat designed an app in 2020 that changed the perception of Generation Z towards social media: BeReal. Released in 2020, BeReal has had a spike in popularity in 2022 with a 350 percent increase in downloads from January to April 2022. 

   The preface of the app is that users post once per day when BeReal sends a notification to them at a random hour. 

   There are options to add captions to posts, comments, and Realmojis to other BeReals. There is even a feature to take a “lightning” Realmoji which utilizes the user’s face as the reaction.

   The purpose of the app is to defeat the stigma around fake and posed social media and to just be real. Teenagers watching others go about their daily lives may make them feel more included in a world where social media is put on a pedestal. There is no Photoshop or FaceTune on BeReal, no way to edit photos, no filters, and nothing to distract from reality. The app is embracing a new way of perceiving casual social media. 

   Newsome High School students are supportive of BeReal. Senior Erin McGinn says, “I love it, a more ‘realistic’ social media for sure”, and senior AnaGrace Boock says, “It’s a fun way of sharing and seeing what your friends are up to at random times of the day”.

   Out of 104 Newsome students asked, 62 percent of them use BeReal and 38 percent do not. A majority of Newsome patiently waits for BeReal on the daily. 

   Students have begun to use BeReal for mischievous reasons; they have teachers, strangers, or staff take their BeReal and pretend like it is a normal photo. What the unsuspecting teacher does not know is that the BeReal takes a forward facing photo as well as a traditional photo. Teachers and strangers are captured at awkward, comical angles that are typically unflattering.

   The authenticity of BeReal juxtaposed against that of Instagram where users spend hours planning, editing, and coordinating photos is a breath of fresh air. However, there have been recent arguments that BeReal is turning into an app where users are engineering their personas. The available option to “post late” has created a stigma that some teens may wait to post their BeReal on purpose if they know they are doing something fun later in the day. Some argue this is the way BeReal is flexible, others argue it defeats the premise of the app.

   BeReal is changing social media daily. Teenagers everywhere are laughing and smiling at one another while doing homework, walking their dog, or if the timing is right doing something different and cool.