The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday May 27th

Column: BeReal — the app that’s even realer than real life

DTH Photo Illustration. The BeReal App encourages users to "be real" and take a selfie within two minutes, even when it may be inconvenient.
Buy Photos DTH Photo Illustration. The BeReal App encourages users to "be real" and take a selfie within two minutes, even when it may be inconvenient.

Tired of taking a stroll in the park? Inhaling a breath of fresh air on a cool spring day? Sharing a meaningful hug with a friend? Well, you’re in luck — we’ve found a brand-new app that can replace these core life moments with a more honest, social and memorable portrayal of your reality: BeReal.

BeReal is a social app that sends all users a daily alert at the same time — but it changes every day. The time could be anything from 7:37 a.m. to 2:34 p.m., so you have to be ready for action 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

In most senses, BeReal acts like a regular social media app. There’s a friend feed, discovery page, location sharing, comment section, “realmoji” reactions (where you react to photos with a distinct facial expression that emulates an emoji) and personal memories section that contains a calendar filled with your daily selfies (think 1 Second Every Day).

However, the daily alerts are what truly make this app unique. The moment you see that adrenaline-raising notification pop up on your screen, you have two minutes to take a selfie — but the catch is, you can’t actually see yourself. 

The user takes a picture of whatever’s in front of them, but while capturing your perspective with the front cam, the app also inadvertently takes a selfie with the back cam, giving viewers a holistically “real” look into your life. Only once you post your BeReal can you get access to your friend’s posts from that day, with timestamps to show whether or not they made it in time. 

(Full transparency: Even if you do post late, you still get to see your friend’s photos. However, with those two minutes ticking down, your hands shaking, palms sweating and sporting the most natural facial expression you can muster — it feels like life or death.)

You may be thinking: Two minutes is plenty of time! If I don’t like my photo, I can just retake it!

That’s where you’re wrong. The app has a feature that shows your friends how many retakes you took — and if that number is higher than one, you will have to endure public humiliation and immeasurable feelings of shame. Also, if you post late, your friends will judge you for not being as real as them.

All of these measures are in place to ensure the realest social media experience possible — so real, in fact, that many teenagers have started to prefer the app over reality.

At 5:32 p.m. today, a user posted their daily picture with the caption: “BeReal is the only way I feel like myself😭.” (I tried to follow up with this source in person, but they explained that BeReal is now the only way they communicate with others — I guess we’ll have to wait for tomorrow’s post for more.)

Some have noted that this app has a "Black Mirror"-esque feel to it, but with Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta and VR platforms taking over the internet, how bad can one harmless social media app really be? 

Just remember that no matter what situation you’re in, your friends deserve to see the real you.

Shaving your knee pits in the shower? Time to BeReal.

Crying because your pet rabbit just got diagnosed with a rare blood condition? Time to BeReal.

At the edge of the Grand Canyon and accidentally slipped? It’s still Time to BeReal — two minutes should be more than enough time to take a selfie before you hit the ground.

And furthermore, I’ve also noticed th — Oh no, I just got my alert! Give me two minutes … I can’t be late today.

Oh, you’re still here? I’m sorry to cut the article short — I’m just trying to be real.


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