BeReal: an app for authenticity or just another platform to waste time?

BeReal message from Life & Style journalist Lyric Wawiri-Smith.

Waiwiri-Smith/Stuff lyrics

BeReal message from Life & Style journalist Lyric Wawiri-Smith.

OPINION: For many of us, posting on social media is an opportunity to engage in a facade.

As Gen Z started to defy societal expectations of Instagrama new social media platform has emerged: BeReal.

The app promises “a new and unique way to find out who your friends really are in their daily lives” by sending notifications at random times of the day and giving you two minutes to take a picture of everything you’re up to. that time. time.

While you’re taking a photo with your phone’s back camera, the app will then take a few seconds to snap a photo of the user with its front camera – supposedly catching a totally candid moment.

Back cam and front cam: being real by showing my friends that I too do mundane tasks like potting plants in my pajamas

Waiwiri-Smith/Stuff lyrics

Back cam and front cam: being real by showing my friends that I too do mundane tasks like potting plants in my pajamas

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So, is BeReal worth taking time out of your day to be real?

For someone who is overwhelmed by the social media platforms they already own, I say no.

Sure, I found it fun at first – it’s less effort than creating a Tweet or getting the perfect Instagram story – but after a while the pressure of having another app on my phone wanting attention and content from me was too stressful to handle.

It was fun watching my friends share normal times in their lives (taking the bus, having lunch, or sitting at their desks), but I started to wonder if I really wanted or needed this. kind of view on their life.

I love my friends, and BeReal allows you to have a more carefully selected circle of followers than many other apps, but I didn’t think it was necessary to engage in that level of connection with them, and I wasn’t sure I wanted my friends to have that piece of me too.

I started to dread the moment my phone would light up with the “Time to BeReal” notification – it started to look more like a threat than an opportunity.

The stressful alert.

Be real

The stressful alert.

These random alerts also often appeared at difficult times of the night, as the app puts New Zealand users in the same time zone as East Asian users.

I was waking up in the morning after missing my BeReal notification which came around 1am, I was quickly taking a picture of my breakfast and the app was scolding me for being 8 hours late like we both agreed I would be available in the early hours of the morning.

As the app became more popular I noticed TikTok users making videos of themselves trying to create the perfect BeReal moment and I even found myself deleting and resuming my photo if I didn’t quite like the way it turned out – wasn’t the point of being authentic?

On the plus side of getting late night notifications - at least my friends can see that I go out every once in a while.

Waiwiri-Smith/Stuff lyrics

On the plus side of getting late night notifications – at least my friends can see that I go out every once in a while.

It quickly started to feel pretty fake.

Before downloading BeReal, I already had eight other social media platforms on my phone – Tumblr, Reddit, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Letterboxd, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Does that seem a bit too much? I agree with you

I don’t know if I could necessarily say that I like or even appreciate social media – most of the time when I open one of these apps on my phone, it’s out of habit.

Being real making delicious homemade soup.

Waiwiri-Smith/Stuff lyrics

Being real making delicious homemade soup.

During our first lockdown, when there didn’t seem like much to do except scroll till your eyes bleed, I started to feel like I’d rather throw my phone in the ocean instead than having to watch it every day.

But, like a moth to a flame, I shamelessly continued my quest to receive quick and easy dopamine hits by spending too much of my life watching content online.

Most of the time the dopamine hit is quickly replaced by a feeling of regret that instead of doing something good for my mental health like reading or meditating I fried some of my brain cells by choosing to watch a hour of TikTok in one sitting.

Was I really going to eliminate that feeling of phone drain by adding more stuff to my phone? Definitely not.

When in doubt, include your pets in your daily post on BeReal.

Waiwiri-Smith/Stuff lyrics

When in doubt, include your pets in your daily BeReal post.

I realized that what I wanted from my social media experience was to feel like I wasn’t actually on social media, which no matter how hard these apps try, is pretty unachievable.

It seems obvious in hindsight, but a social media app that promises an authentic experience can leave you as unsatisfied as any other app.

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