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The Beacon

The news of today reported by the journalists of tomorrow

The Beacon

The news of today reported by the journalists of tomorrow

The Beacon

BeReal app poses threat to traditional social media platforms

BeReal+app+poses+threat+to+traditional+social+media+platforms

Over the last few months, the social media app BeReal has rapidly increased in popularity. Although the platform is marketed as “not another social network,” it is currently the top social networking app on the App Store.

Each day at a different time, all BeReal users simultaneously receive a notification to post a photo within two minutes. The back and front camera simultaneously capture an image, and it is shared with friends or publicly across the platform. Other users can commentor send a “RealMoji,” essentially a selfie, under the creator’s post in real time.

With such a simple premise, one may wonder what separates BeReal from the competition to promote such widespread approval. Unlike other modern social media platforms, BeReal promotes authenticity—even if it maybe mundane—and genuine human connection.

Over the years, other social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become convoluted with influencers, likes, political feuds, photoshop, advertisements, and bullying. My Twitter feed is filled with heated takes, while my Instagram and Facebook feeds have more tailored advertisements than posts from friends. Overwhelmingly toxic and disingenuous online spaces are something most are aware of and have grown tired of.

Even platforms like Snapchat that were created to connect users with friends have become insincere. Users have unlimited access to appearance-altering filters, or they can upload edited photos from their camera roll to stories. Many strategically choose what and when to post to create a certain public image—even if that image may not be genuine.

BeReal abandons the social pressures, marketing gimmicks, and complex features. There are no likes or followers. There are no edits. There is no fame.

As stated in the BeReal App Store description, “BeReal is life, real life and this life is without filters.”

In contrast with other platforms where users show the idealized versions of their identities, BeReal users embrace and share more uneventful moments of their day. I typically get a notification to post while doing my homework, walking into work, or eating dinner. When scrolling through my friends’ posts, I typically see similar posts of them lying in bed, playing video games, or sitting with friends.

BeReal critics may see this style of content as boring, but that is exactly the point. These mundane aspects of our lives are something seldom shared with friends online. Seeing this abundance of regularity daily serves as a reminder that most of us are not living grandiose lives as depicted on other platforms like Instagram.

Additionally, daily notifications to post also serve as regular reminders to engage with friends. Many of my friends are away at college or have busy schedules, so seeing moments of their lives daily allows me to stay in the loop and strengthen our connection.

Mass support of this new platform highlights changing preferences in social media platforms among young adults. According to polls by Pew Research Center, young adults are straying from traditional multi-use platforms like Facebook that have home feed posts, streaming, stories and a marketplace.

Instead, young social media users are embracing platforms with a single defined purpose like BeReal. This move towards simplicity is innovative in a modern social media climate. Per usual, larger social media platforms have been attempting to copy this innovative concept to gain or maintain a youth audience.

TikTok, a platform supported and used mostly by young adults, recently announced a nearly exact copy of BeReal called TikTok Now. Just like BeReal, TikTok Now users will simultaneously receive a notification to post a dual camera picture or short video at a random time to “share (their) most authentic moments with the people who matter the most.”

Instagram, a platform that has already been competing with TikTok, has also been testing an exact BeReal rip-off feature called Candid Challenges.

What these platforms fail to realize is that their attempts to emulate BeReal’s success is ironic and insincere in the eyes of young consumers. BeReal was created to combat the toxic identity management most found on Instagram and the desire for Internet fame most found on TikTok.

BeReal is about the genuine authenticity that Instagram and TikTok lack, not the dual camera feature or synchronous posts. As we move towards genuineness online, we have the potential to deconstruct the harmful social media norms.

Many young people, including myself, have grown up comparing themselves to edited online personalities, striving for validation through Internet fame, or doomscrolling through terrible news and gimmicky advertisements. BeReal’s massive success and copycats exemplify that it does not have to be that way.

One may wonder what effect the BeReal trend will have on social media platforms going forward. Will we stray from our idealized online personas, or will this push towards authenticity be short-lived?

Only time will tell, but for now, BeReal users will continue to be real.

About the Contributor
Sydney Allabaugh
Sydney Allabaugh, Opinion Editor
Sydney Allabaugh is the opinion editor of The Beacon. Allabaugh got her start with The Beacon as a contributing writer in the fall of 2021, became the opinion staff writer in the fall of 2022, worked as the assistant opinion editor in the spring of 2023, and was promoted to her current role in the fall of 2023. Allabaugh will be graduating in May of 2025 with a major in Communication Studies with concentrations in Media Production and Strategic Communication, as well as a minor in Women's and Gender Studies. Outside of The Beacon, Allabaugh is the director of Wilkes Now!, Wilkes' student-run television program. She joined Wilkes Now! in the fall of 2021, became a production assistant in the fall of 2022, and began directing in the fall of 2023.  Allabaugh is striving to work in television or public relations in her future.