Poly Keeping It Real


Jess Dosik, Deputy News Editor

The app BeReal is attempting to introduce a more authentic version of social media. The app asks its users to “be real” and deliver a realistic image of their lives, unlike many other social media platforms.

At a randomized time each day, a notification is sent to every BeReal user indicating that it is “Time to BeReal,” meaning that it is time to post their daily picture to the platform. Each user has exactly two minutes to take their BeReal of the day. This picture takes a snapshot with both the front and back camera, capturing the reality of what a user is doing at that exact moment in time, and how they look doing it.

Users can then react to their friends’ BeReal posts with their own picture response. All they have to do is click the RealMoji icon, get in the frame of the camera, and release their finger. Immediately the picture they captured is sent and attached to the post as a “reaction” to their friends’ picture. Everybody that views the friends’ BeReal can now see their RealMoji photo reaction. Along with RealMoji, there is also the traditional comment feature where you can type out responses to your friends BeReal’s or write your own captions on your posts.

Students across grades at Poly have BeReal installed and can be seen taking out their phones throughout the day to capture their BeReal. However, the app wasn’t always so popular. BeReal has exponentially grown in popularity since its release in 2020. According to Social Media Today, a news publication that “provides original analysis on the latest happenings in the social media industry,” BeReal has been installed over 53 million times worldwide and “the app [is] now reportedly up to 10 million daily active users, rising from just 10,000 a little over a year ago.” The app also hit the number one spot on the IOS App store in July of 2020.

This worldwide growth of users is evident in day-to-day life. All around Poly, when the BeReal notification goes off on phones,students everywhere open it, snap a picture, and continue on with their day. It was at Friday Night Lights I think… but when BeReal went off every single person went on their phones. I think it’s a good way of bringing everyone together on one common app,” said sophomore Amber Dosik.

Junior Khari Freeman noticed BeReal’s popularity as well, saying, “BeReal has certainly had an influence on the Poly Prep student community, when one person got it they showed their friends and so on… it just suddenly boomed in school. It seems like everybody has it now.” said. Junior Lizze Perry (the photography editor for the Polygon) agreed, saying, “I love it. I’ve been on it since April 4th. My friend… convinced me to get BeReal… we told her it would be a waste of time…but all of a sudden two months later everyone got obsessed with it and we realized it was so much fun.”

According to BeReal’s Terms of Use and Mission Statement, one of the biggest reasons why BeReal has grown so much is that it is “an alternative to addictive social networks,” such as Instagram and Snapchat, and it is “your chance to show your friends who you really are.” However, some Poly students are torn on whether or not the app actually provides a way to be authentic on social media. 

“When you know that there’s a party happening or something and people wait to take their BeReal and then they all come in at the same time you know that isn’t real. Since it’s just one snippet each day I want to make it seem like I’m doing something interesting,” said sophomore Fiona Spillane. “But it’s definitely more real than a platform like Instagram.”

“Every single person I know waits for a good moment during the day and poses for the picture,” said Perry.

Alternatively, some students think that posing and waiting for a good moment is still being authentic based simply on the “realistic” features of the app itself. “I think that posing is still being real. You’re still taking it in the moment. Unless you are going out of your way and changing how you look for the picture I don’t really think it’s fake. You’re in the moment no matter what time you post… It’s not changing what you’re doing,” said Dosik.

BeReal’s rise to popularity has changed what social media means for society. Whether you are in math class, doing homework, or cozily watching a show in bed, BeReal can go off at any moment, ready for you to showcase to your friends what you are doing at the moment.