Being Real: Viral App Leaves Us Questioning the Authenticity of Social Media in 2022


Phoebe Aldrich, Contributor

BeReal is a photo-sharing social media platform that allows users to share one photo a day at a randomly selected time. Users have two minutes to share what they are doing at that specific time with a front and back camera shot. If one misses that two-minute window, the photo is labeled as “late”. Users who don’t post their BeReal can’t see their friend’s posts, encouraging participation and user activity. 

The inspiration behind BeReal is to create a social media platform that focuses on authenticity and discourages heavily filtered and posed photos. The app was founded in January 2020 by Alexis Barreyat but became wildly popular in early to mid-2022. 

Coming back onto the O’Dowd campus for the 2022-2023 school year, BeReal integrated itself into the school day. Students posted BeReals with their friends on the quad and in class. Some of the most memorable were taken by beloved staff members such as Father Jim, Coach K, and Mr. Mason.  

O’Dowd students share their thoughts on BeReal. Sophomore Evan Garrison states, “Just like every social media app, the newness of it makes it exciting.” Significant discussion on the change in user culture over time was brought up. Sophomore Eliza Van de Water remarks, “User authenticity was more apparent at the beginning of the app’s fame, but as it’s grown more normalized it’s become more similar to other social media platforms.” Sophomore Issa Bonner Papazian adds, “The app calls people to be real but in a way, the user culture ruined it because people still use the app in a fake way nonetheless.” Sophomore Maya Udkow says, “I think that while the app’s goal is to promote authenticity, people are taking advantage and using it as a place to almost “brag” about their social life.” Overall, although BeReal is formatted to promote user authenticity, the culture of any social media app is somewhat up to the users. Issues prevalent across social media cannot be solved through yet another new platform. 

Nevertheless, seeing snapshots of friends’ and classmates’ days at random gives a new and relatable insight into O’Dowd’s life. Although BeReal isn’t perfect, it still remains a fun excuse to feature different moments throughout one’s day that otherwise wouldn’t be seen on the internet.