By D’Asia Grain | Staff Writer
Have you heard of BeReal? Unless you aren’t involved in social media, you may not have heard of this new, interactive app.
BeReal is a social media platform available on both iOS and Android, released in 2020. Like most business proposals made during the COVID-19 peak year, the app didn’t gain much traction during this time. It wasn’t until the middle of 2020 that BeReal started to gain popularity, especially among the younger generations.
So, how does BeReal work? Unlike other social media platforms, this app follows a very different algorithm for driving engagement. Once every day a notification is sent out that prompts users to take two pictures, one with their front camera and one with the back camera. Users then have 2 minutes to capture whatever they are presently doing.
Dr. Nichole Bogarosh, a communication professor at Whitworth, thinks that one of the main reasons that the app gained popularity is the unfiltered view into friends’ lives that it offers. “It is still probably more ‘real’ than many social media apps,” she said.
Even though the app encourages the posting of authentic and informal content the app allows users to post late and retake pictures.
Bogarosh thinks that portraying an authentic point of view on life is admirable, but she remains skeptical about the impact BeReal and other social media platforms will have on users. “We all take part in impression management as we present ourselves, but this management has become rather extreme with technological advancements and the rise of social media,” she said.
For the most part, younger generations report positive experiences with BeReal.
Whitworth student Maddy Tofte, a junior with a criminal justice major, is an active user of the app. Tofte expressed how using the app is something to look forward to and she would recommend the usage to others. “I enjoy seeing what my friends are up to. BeReal makes me feel included,” she said.
Unlike other social media platforms, such as Instagram and Snapchat, that place emphasis on likes and filters, BeReal focuses on users’ engagement with friends and their broader community. As Bogarosh said, social media does promote an unhealthy culture of impression management and self-gratification. However, it appears BeReal is breaking barriers by affording users a sense of inclusivity.