To Be or Not To BeReal?


Noelle Waterman, Opinions Editor

A quiet chime escapes the backpack of an unsuspecting high school student. Seconds pass and a crescendo sneaks up into the air, the room buzzing and humming with a melody of notifications. Phones, once dormant, suddenly light up one by one like a chain of dominoes. The minds of students wander away to fantastical possibilities. Perhaps there was a nuclear mutation, setting off the zombie apocalypse. Maybe a UFO was spotted hovering above the Eiffel Tower, but one glance at the screen silences the murmurs; it’s BeReal. As the app opens, displaying a 2:00 countdown, fingers fly in a frenzied attempt to disable the “ticking time bomb”.

Debuting in 2020, BeReal, developed by French creators Alexis Barreyat and Kevin Perreau, is the new social media app taking the world by storm. With the exclusion of filters and editing tools, the app strives to promote authenticity and transparency as opposed to the disillusionment scrollers often find themselves susceptible to on various platforms. 

At Hinsdale South, the app is receiving mixed reviews. Wesley Davis, a junior, is particularly intrigued by “the aspect of posting daily at a random time” which makes the app “different and unique”.  While a handful of students like Davis are mesmerized by the structure of the app, others remain indifferent to the platform.

Simple features like the dual-camera have allowed the software to generate an inclusive, virtual environment. MJ Hashim, a sophomore, explains how she has the capability to shoot a greater range of friends in photographs by “getting everyone on each side of the camera”. Presently, it may just be a “fun trend to pass time with”, but it is also a way she can cherish her teenage years in the future. With the calendar option, which serves as a digital memory book, users have the ability to look back at their daily posts and relive past experiences.

Over the years, your eyes have skimmed over thousands, if not millions, of deceiving photographs flooding your Instagram feeds; you have mindlessly swiped through pictures of friends, family members, and acquaintances. Without your knowledge, a majority of these posts were most likely filtered through popular editing programs, like Facetune and Photoshop, to erase pesky blemishes or transform a body altogether. When it comes to BeReal, however, the dual-camera also ensures a pain-stakingly accurate image of your real-time position. The colossal mountain of unfolded clothes towering over your bedroom accompanied by an angled selfie of your forehead may not be the most flattering, but it is who you are. Isn’t it? Maybe not quite.

One flaw students have encountered is that the app struggles to capture the user’s identity and embrace their overall interests. BeReal has a tendency to go off at monotonous periods of the day. Davis points out that it normally sends out a notification “during class or when [he is] busy”. Know that the app is sure to catch you in the act of performing tedious teenage actions like burying your nose in a school textbook or chowing down on McDonald’s leftovers. Rarely do users receive the opportunity to showcase unforgettable moments in their lives like seeing their favorite artist in concert, which apps like Instagram and VSCO appeal to.

Teenagers embolden the notion of being “present day romantics,” the very own Friedrichs and Goyas of this period. The implications of this app illustrate the growing value of humanity in its raw form for younger generations. Unfortunately, as Hashim puts it simply, “it’s not revolutionary.” As new apps like GAS, which focus on anonymous opinions, circulate around the school, it is questionable as to whether we’ll ever anticipate a permanent shift in social media trends.

No, it is not quantum physics time travel. Neither is it photographic evidence of the Lochness Monster, sorry MythBusters! It is BeReal: the beginning of a new social phenomenon and a step towards eliminating unachievable standards and stereotypes.