BeReal showcases facetune-free photos to friends in real time


Isabella Dallas

Using BeReal, friends are able to show real unedited versions of themselves to friends. No facetuning allowed!

by Isabella Dallas, Staff Writer

“Life is not a highlight reel of someone’s best moments. Life is whatever I’m doing at 5:47 p.m. on Sunday.” 

With social media’s recent attempts to reject highly curated, essentially perfect, posts with “casual photo dumping,”  the pressure to engage in something casual on Instagram now comes with an additional secret level of performance. Everything has become about capturing and romanticizing the effortless aesthetic of everyday life; it’s a filtered, unfiltered lifestyle. 

BeReal, however, is a newer social media app developed in France by Alexis Barreyat in 2020 that contradicts everything Instagram and other similar platforms require. 

All BeReal users receive a daily notification sent at a random time where they are given two minutes to take a photo of themselves and their surroundings. The time limit paired with the unexpected timing of the notification forces users to be real (literally). There’s no time to find the perfect pose or background, you simply have two minutes to capture a snapshot of your life with both the front and back cameras of your phone. It’s thrillingly mundane. The photos are supposed to be a realistic representation of your everyday activities which makes it remarkably authentic.  

There’s really little romanticizing with BeReal. The description on the app store writes:

“BeReal is life, Real life, and this life is without filters. BeReal is your chance to show your friends who you really are, for once. BeReal can be addictive. BeReal might piss you off. BeReal won’t make you famous, if you want to become an influencer you can stay on TikTok and Instagram.” 

There are no filters, no likes, or followers on BeReal. After requesting friends, users are welcomed by a feed filled with casual uploads, comments, and “RealMoji” reaction pictures below everyone’s posts. Users also have to upload first in order to see their friends’ uploads, which makes lurking impossible and provides another enticing incentive to ‘be real.’ While you can retake a picture, the app does tell your friends how many retakes it took (finding this out was embarrassing, so you’re welcome for the warning). If you miss a BeReal there are no penalties, but in order to see real you must be real. It will, however, disclose how late you were, and in case you were wondering, yes, you can be 27 hours late. 

BeReal is now quickly taking over college campuses across the United States, and San Diego State is no exception. Why does it appeal to so many different people? 

Freshman marketing major, Claire MacDonald, talks about her experience with the app and how it has transformed her idea of social media’s potential. 

“I first downloaded BeReal in mid-February, after one of my friends texted me the invite. For the first month, I probably had no more than four friends on the app. Slowly, everyone I knew at SDSU started to join and now it feels just as popular as any other platform.” MacDonald said. “It’s fun because I only really have my super close friends on it so there’s no pressure. I get to take a quick peek into my friends’ day to day lives without it being this big deal. As someone who has struggled with the influx of social media pressure, this is such a great way to stay connected with my real friends. It’s freeing.”

It’s refreshing to be real. This app accepts people for their “worst case scenario,” and what can be better than that? With nothing to lose and only real connections to gain, BeReal is definitely worth the download, and MacDonald thinks it’s an accurate representation of life, with boring and exciting moments equally on display. 

“Life is not a highlight reel of someone’s best moments. Life is whatever I’m doing at 5:47 p.m. on Sunday,” MacDonald said. “Sure, sometimes you get lucky and you’re at the beach or with a group of friends. Other times you’re not so lucky, but it is what it is. It’s real.”