By The Lion’s Roar Editorial Staff
Once a day, perhaps at 9:14 A.M., 2:56 P.M., or even 4:00 A.M., many TLS students receive a notification:
“⚠️Time to BeReal – 2 min left to capture a BeReal and see what your friends are up to! ⚠️”
These students, along with about another two million users around the world, proceed to take a picture of themselves, the ceiling, their friends, or the view. Many simply photograph their moment, which is “real”, and share these images with their friends, who can comment, screenshot, or send their real time response with a “RealMoji.”
This may seem like another immaterial app, or too similar to other image-based social media such as Snapchat or Instagram. Yet, by regulating content and forcing users to post only what is real, BeReal is in fact an extremely grounding app. It is not only better than other social media platforms, it is beneficial and recommended for mental health improvement.
BeReal does not allow filters, and has a limited number of retakes per day. This feature ensures that users are posting their real face, body, and surroundings. There is no way to edit or manipulate your photos to better them, which creates a truthful environment on the app, which is almost impossible on other platforms. Rather than scrolling through a perfect feed that only leads to jealousy, using BeReal feels as if you are simply seeing updates from your friends – not highlights, just the truth.
Furthermore, BeReal implements various methods that promote healthy app use. The app is less addictive than other social media that have endless amounts of content. There is no “for you page” or “explore” feature on BeReal, limiting content consumption to only the number of people you have added. This aspect prohibits the addictive scrolling that often characterizes social media. Once you have looked through the new content for the day and posted your own, there is little else to do on BeReal. This presents a social media that barely impacts your schedule and makes sure users are not wasting too much time on the app.
In addition, by setting a time limit for content production, BeReal guarantees that users are not spending hours on the perfect post. Once that daily notification goes off, users have two minutes to take a picture of what they are doing. If they miss that deadline, the app shows how late they are to post. This makes it clear that if someone is five hours late to “be real” every day and seems to post only when they are out with friends, it is safe to assume that these posts are not a reflection of that person’s real life. These features help facilitate a community on the app that is as sincere as possible.
As BeReal gains popularity, it seems to fall back into similar problems that other social media platforms have. People are not posting realistic images. Instead, they are adding many people that they may not even know that well, and they are simply posting black screens while looking at others’ posts.
The solution to this problem relies mainly in the hands of users of the app. In order to maintain BeReal’s status as a healthy social media app, people have to use it in a healthy way. Users must try to limit their friends on the app to those who are actually their friends, post realistic pictures, and use the communication features on the app appropriately.
Overall, as long as users contribute to a healthy online community, BeReal is an extremely beneficial app with many smart features. BeReal is a great example of social media that is not harmful, and any TLS students who wish should download the app.