Let’s ‘BeReal’ for a Moment

Nowadays, Generation Z (or simply ‘zoomers’) has a wide selection of social media platforms to choose from: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat, Reddit, and who knows what. (Some even go into the whole 🎶 Pokémon! Gotta catch ’em all! 🎶 mode.) And as of recently, there is one particular addition to the family of positive intermittent reinforcers that is slowly but surely taking over giants like Instagram and TikTok thanks to its funky twist.

Please welcome ‘BeReal’ – a French app I would like to focus on in today’s post.

Ground Rules

‘BeReal’ is an app that, essentially, allows you to be your true #authentic self. So, in a way it positions itself as anti-Instagram – it does not stan like or follower counts. Neither does it let you post filtered photos or have faultless feeds. The app even said au revoir to you finding yourself endlessly scrolling at 3 a.m. Why? Well, there is no such thing as a timeline to begin with, at least not of the permanent kind. Wait, what? Yes, the photo you post disappears from the timeline once the 24 hours are up (*insert dramatic music*) BUT you can still access the photos you took in the ‘Memories’ section. On top of that, the number of posts you can make per day is limited to one. Outrageous! But that is not all – ‘BeReal’ only allows you to post the photo when the time is deemed right, which happens when the algorithm sends out a notification like this[1]:

BeReal; William Antonelli/Insider

The notification itself is sent out within a reasonable timeframe for all TimeZones: anywhere from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., but the exact time is still at random (there are some predictions, however).

As you can see from the notification, ‘BeReal’ sets further restrictions on how to use the app via its ‘two-minute rule’. Once you open the app, a countdown starts for you to take a photo. Luckily, within those two minutes, ‘BeReal’ allows its users to retake their photos as many times as needed. The only downside – you have to post a photo of your own to see what others are doing. So, if the timer runs down and you still have not taken a single snapshot, bummer, you have just missed out on your only chance to post and snoop at other people’s business[2].

‘Yes, But’

Yes, ‘BeReal’ gained its popularity due to its funky twist – the inability to become famous or viral. Instead, the app is encouraging you to connect/re-connect with your closest friends without having to be judged or feel embarrassed. But there is an idiom, “two sides of the same coin” and it perfectly applies to this French app. While it does not promote the idea of putting on a show to get more views and clicks, ‘BeReal’ messes with the concept of productivity, resulting in distorted self-esteem. There are always a few influencers who post their ‘ToDo Lists’ on Instagram Stories or who upload vlogs filled with tips on how to become ‘That Girl’.

One perfect example of such a bold claim comes from a recent scandal in the middle of which an influencer Tara Lynn, @taraswrld, has found herself after having quoted Kim Kardashian’s, “nobody wants to work these days”:

(original TikTok was deleted due to the backlash it was getting)

Viewers were going off on Tara, saying how dare she even have the audacity to say people are lazy in bed. They are probably tired because they are working hard unlike her – a privileged influencer who can do whatever she wants whenever she wants. At the end of the day, she just has to post online[3]:

@gabriellawithouttroy

#stitch with @taraswrld #greenscreen You have to be joking.

♬ original sound – GB
(response to @taraswrld)

However, instead of addressing the backlash, Tara has just added fuel to the fire by posting a video of herself doing a TikTok dance with a caption:

my job isnt easy u guys see 🥺🥺 LMAO too soon?

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

It does seem like there is no such thing as ‘friendly’ social media, regardless of the original intentions, as in one way or another the things we post are perceived to be a subconscious race to be the most productive, the funniest and the [any other superlative adjective].

Let’s admit: social media is a scary place with toxic trends, but we should not put the entire blame on it. We ourselves set unrealistic standards, always trying to put our best foot forward and punishing ourselves for eating an extra cracker or for not waking up at the same time as Jeff Bazos or Tim Cook. It is a wild-goose chase.

As Oscar Wild once put to words:

Be yourself, everyone else is taken. In order to be oneself, one has to take risks, to accept that one is not perfect and to be courageous enough to say what one really thinks.

So, let’s stay true to ourselves no matter what.

References:

[1] https://stealthoptional.com/apps/what-is-bereal/

[2] https://www.businessinsider.com/guides/tech/how-to-post-on-bereal?international=true&r=US&IR=T

[3] https://www.insider.com/tiktok-flak-influencer-onlyfans-complaining-nobody-works-anymore-2022-9