Brewers on Be(ing for)Real

Yaksha Gummadapu/The Miscellany News.

Recently, I was at a birthday dinner when a boy I was sitting near squinted at me and asked, “Do you have a BeReal?” “Excuse me?” I replied hesitantly, feeling as though I would be judged heavily on my response. He pulled out his phone and showed me the app, BeReal. For the first time in my life, a man taught me something about the online world that actually made me feel better about humanity. By the time dessert came out, I had made a BeReal account. 

BeReal is a social media platform that encourages all its users to, in keeping with its name, be real. The concept is that everyday users are given two minutes to post a picture from their front and back cameras, capturing exactly what they are doing and how they look at that moment. If you don’t post a “BeReal”, you can’t view other people’s posts. Posting after the allotted two minutes will tell your followers exactly how late you posted. Most daunting of all, if you retake a photo once or multiple times (because you aren’t Zendaya), the app will let your followers see how many times you retook the pictures. 

It was ironic that this app came into my life right after I had ended up Marie Kondo-ing my social media accounts. Anything or anyone that didn’t “spark joy” was blocked, unfollowed, unadded or restricted. With most social media platforms, the pressure of being someone online takes from the ease of just being someone online. Watching YouTube or liking a post about how “Percy Jackson” is better than “Harry Potter” made me happy, but it wasn’t enough to combat how horrible I felt realizing I’ll never look like Kendall Jenner. Thankfully, I learned the truth: Social media is fake, and comparison is the thief of joy.

Initially, I was a fan of BeReal. But my need to stand behind any attempt for authenticity online might have blinded me to a lot of aspects of the app. After talking to several Brewers, I realized that BeReal had elicited interesting and sometimes opposing opinions and reactions. 

My primary question for my interviewees was if they think BeReal is achieving its titular purpose.  And the consensus was that not everyone on BeReal is keeping it 100 percent real. “I only post when I’m doing something interesting,” Kaiden Torcher ’26 shared. When I asked him if that defeated the purpose of the app, he shrugged and said yes. And this isn’t the only way users avoid being real. The tiny text that indicates if someone failed to meet the two minute deadline isn’t as incentivizing as the people at BeReal HQ hope it is, and users who want to be real find it frustrating. “[No] one cares what you are doing 24 hours later,” Ananya Krishnan ’26 frustratedly explained. 

With all these caveats and exceptions in its mission of being a novel form of social media, can BeReal become Brewers’ go-to social media platform?  “I don’t consider it social media, I don’t know why,” Krishnan continued. And this is a sentiment shared by many. Out of all the time chronically-online Vassar students spend on their phones, it appears as though they spend only a couple minutes on BeReal. “It’s not as addictive, you can’t just scroll instantly, it’s a once-a-day thing,” Eli Schair-Rigoletti ’26 said. And this might be exactly why BeReal is not the next Instagram or TikTok. You can’t scroll endlessly without participating. The lurking and stalking from the e-shadows that we are all guilty of cease to exist on BeReal. You can’t consume if you don’t contribute, and who wants to be themselves on the Iinternet?

But, for all its flaws, the sweet sentiment does not go unnoticed. There is something personal aboutto the app that you do not get from seeing someone’s Instagram story. Kalina Sloat ’‘26, uses the app to glimpse into the lives of her friends back home:. “I like keeping in touch with my friends from home and seeing them at their respective little colleges and it’s so cute seeing everyone in their little classes… … I feel more updated with people I don’t get to talk to often.” 

Octavia Cordes ’26 used the buzzwords “niche” and “quirky” to describe the app while Deecing with me. And she hit the nail on the head. BeReal isn’t and will never be the app you procrastinate or spiral on for hours. It’s the app you go to to see your friend watching a movie with their dad or your cousin on a date at the local mall. BeReal is perfect for our generation because it isn’t like the other apps. It’s familiar and comforting. It’s for real, or at least it really tries.

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