Remember when Instagram used to be fun? Users would post silly duck-faces and heavily filtered images off the cuff. Before the filters, the curated aesthetic and the concern for analytics, Instagram used to be a way to capture a quick moment in time and share it with friends.
But those times are long past us. Now, Instagram is full of perfectly placed images (and creepily intuitive ads) that capture the highest highlights of the fakest parts of our lives. Instead of simply living life, many of us are thinking about capturing the right angle and pairing it with the perfect caption to get the most likes. Even users who post against the grain, known as “casual Instagram,” still use filters to clean up a bit of their “authentic” (but “messy!”) (but not too messy) lives.
To put it frankly, the current social media landscape is frustrating. Instead of keeping up with one another, it’s become a place to casual-brag about how amazing your life is. With some simple hacks, you can turn your mundane life into something that looks extravagant and makes everyone else jealous. This landscape has led to a rise in negative self-image and insecurities, particularly among teens and young adults who feel like their lives don’t compare to the ones they see on the small screen.
That’s where BeReal comes in.
French entrepreneur Alexis Barreyat founded the new social media app way back in 2019, but it didn’t really take off until earlier this year thanks to the help of fellow social media newcomer TikTok. BeReal is what “casual Instagram” wants to be. Each day, users receive a notification that gives them a two-minute window to post one photo (it’s easier than it sounds). When you post, the app uses your front and rear-facing camera to capture a full picture of what you’re actually doing. No faking. No curating.
There’s no filters, no uploads and no way to lie or manipulate your image. It gives an honest depiction of your life, instead of only a highlight real. Best of all, it’s not about approval. There’s no way to track analytics. You don’t have a follower count or even visible likes or comments. Only friends that you’ve added can see your BeReal.
Scrolling through your friends’ posts on BeReal, you see that more often than not, most of our lives look …kind of boring. It’s pretty rare that we’re on the top of a mountain, lounging by a pool or sporting a full face of perfectly contoured makeup. Instead, we’re often sitting at a desk or watching a movie on our couch. And that’s OK. It’s not super exciting, but it is real. The pressure to perform is absent from the app.
And in an era where there’s so much emphasis on capturing the right image or saying the right thing, it’s refreshing to see people as their authentic selves. There’s no photoshopping yourself to look thinner or taller, or glamorizing your life to look better than it really is.
Will this take away every users insecurity and need to compare our lives? Of course not. But it is a reminder that there’s a different way to live than we’ve grown accustomed to. For all the positive ways Instagram can keep us informed and connected with one another, the damage might outweigh the perks. We don’t need to accept the negative sides of it. BeReal may fade away, but it’s a healthy reminder that being human is not always about the highest or even lowest points of our lives. Instead, it’s all about the relatable yet mundane moments that connect us.