Being Realer Than Ever

The app BeReal is a new sensation! But is there more to it?

 ‘BeReal just went off!’: a yelp that can be heard every day, whether at Berkeley or outside of school. This new app sends out a notification at a random time each day, saying that it’s “time to Be Real.” After the notification, users are given a two-minute window to post a photo of what they are doing at that moment. The app takes a picture from both the front and back cameras simultaneously to show what you look like and where you are at the moment. And if you don’t post within two minutes, well, you’re not being very real. 

AN ORIGINAL APP: BeReal prides itself on its users’ genuineness. (Photo Credit: Isabella Loparco ’26.)

Though launched in December 2019, the app recently gained popularity among high schoolers. As for why it’s such a hit, BeReal forces authenticity from its users, unlike Instagram or TikTok where filters and highlight reels are the norms. The app warns in its app store description, “BeReal is life, real life, and this is life without filters.” A nice promotion, but the truth is that photo editing is so customary these days that filters have become a part of everyday life.


 “I know a lot of people who love to use BeReal, though I don’t really use it myself,” said Elizabeth Lai ’26. Teenagers seem to really appreciate BeReal’s lack of editing opportunities, as shown in the app’s high ratings and widespread use. 


Now, a viable question is whether the app is here to stay or just a fleeting trend. Although the app is currently ranked number six in social networking, its popularity is entirely dependent on whether users have grown tired of the social-media culture of likes and perfectionism. And some might say that they have, especially Gen-Z, a group known for flaunting their real selves on platforms such as TikTok. Connection over content is a quality that is emphasized on BeReal, and it could be exactly what teenagers want at the moment. 

HEADS UP, INSTA: BeReal could soon overshadow other popular social media platforms, depending on its popularity. (Photo Credit: Unsplash.)

Most high schoolers today haven’t lived in a world without social media, meaning they are used to the idea of highlight reels for their whole lives. So for us, BeReal seems extremely authentic and genuine. But for older generations that grew up without the pressure of social media, this could just be seen as one more addictive app designed to draw in teenagers and young adults. Yes, BeReal could be a wonderful platform created to help teenagers be more real in a world of filters and fakes, or it could be a convenient channel constructed at exactly the time teenagers decided they wanted a way to escape social media without really escaping social media. Either way, we teens are the ones who can make it a blinding success or a total failure.