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Can social media ever be truly unfiltered: A comment on BeReal

Marketed as the carefree alternative to inauthentic social media apps such as Instagram and tiktok, BeReal has over 20 million users to date, and counting.

With the rise in popularity of “casual Instagram” and photo-dumps, it is evident that there is a general move away from filters and poses, in favour of unedited snapshots from everyday life. The idea behind BeReal is exactly this, an app that forces one to be completely unfiltered, unenhanced and honest. The structure of the app is user-friendly and easy to comprehend. Every day, users receive a notification which gives them two minutes to take two photos of the current moment (one with each camera). No consequence comes with late uploads, and users can retake pictures as many times as they would like. This seems to be the first downfall of the app. By allowing users to upload their “BeReal” late, there is a natural tendency for people to wait until they are doing something fun or social, before sharing.

Furthermore, allowing one to retake their photos can only lead to posed results, the very thing that this social media was hoping to avoid. The eager cry, “get in my BeReal, quick!” is all too frequent, as people rush to surround themselves with people before taking the esteemed pictures. Perhaps what initially made BeReal so popular also signifies its downfall. The “antidote to FOMO” seems to instead intensify it, as users scroll through masses of perfectly spontaneous snapshots, none of which are truly real. Our growing desire to see the mundane, unexciting aspects of people’s lives provides an interesting perspective into the mass insecurity that the digital generation faces. We crave an insight into the everyday of others to satisfy ourselves that we are not the only ones doing “nothing”, and the very fact that we require social media for this demonstrates how far gone “being real” truly is.

Tina, VI