BeReal facilitates authentic connections

App offers unique social media dynamic


Ayelet Prottas

Photo illustration by Ayelet Prottas.

Danny Shope

When I opened my social media feed, the first post was a selfie of my friend inside a bathroom stall. As I scrolled down, the next post was a picture of a stack of biology homework and another one was a gas pump. These all had a couple things in common: they were pictures of everyday activities we all engage in, and they were things you would never normally see on social media. But that’s because this wasn’t a normal social media app: it was BeReal. 

Just like Instagram or Facebook, BeReal helps people connect with their friends. However, the app is designed to encourage people to be more, well, real. Here’s how it works: once per day, at a random time, there is a two-minute window in which everyone is encouraged to make a post. In reality, though, I usually end up missing that window — so I just post as soon as I see the notification and I’m not driving.

Unsurprisingly, this usually leads to a relatively mundane social media feed. But it’s fun to be able to keep up with friends without having to worry about making my life seem especially interesting. Nearly every day, I find myself laughing about a funny conversation amongst my friends in a comment section, or a goofy reaction emoji added to one of my posts.

Studies have indicated that some social media sites may be harmful to self-esteem. On platforms like Instagram, where people often post the best parts of their lives, it’s hard not to feel like I’m having less fun than everyone else. I think apps like BeReal can help combat this problem by encouraging people to focus more on connection and less on comparison. While it certainly won’t fix all of the deeper societal issues that are causing mental health problems and loneliness among teens, moving towards apps like BeReal might help us feel a little bit better about ourselves.

Some might criticize the app for being just another time-suck that keeps people glued to their phones. But while it is true that I make many more posts on BeReal than other social media platforms, I actually spend significantly less time on it. With no celebrities or meme pages to follow, there are fewer things on the app to distract from the real purpose of social media: to connect with one another. Also, one of my favorite parts of BeReal is that there is much less pressure to spend a lot of time making the “perfect” post. In fact, once you take a picture for BeReal, you can’t retake it — you either have to post it or wait until the next day to try again. 

I’ll be honest— I sometimes find it very uncomfortable to post an unflattering selfie or an especially boring or negative part of my life, but it’s reassuring to know that there are essentially no posts on the app which show people at their absolute best. And that’s kind of the whole point: when we can be more vulnerable with each other about how our lives really are, we can build more meaningful connections with others and feel less alone.