Sunday, May 19Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

The Be Real App: The Next Big Thing? 

It’s deadline season, and for the third day in a row, the ‘Be Real’ notification goes off while you’re in the library. You take the picture, capturing your front and back camera views: an exhausted face in one corner, an empty coffee cup, and a computer with God only knows how many tabs open. This isn’t the life you wanted to portray online. 

Be Real, a new social media app, sets itself apart by going for pure authenticity. With the tagline “Your friends for real”, the app sends out a notification everyday at a different time to capture and share a photo in two minutes. The only problem? It’s exposing how mundane our lives really are. 

It should be refreshing; isn’t this what social media was supposed to be? After all, isn’t there beauty in the everyday? Without the potential for influencers to emerge, or an option to edit, filter, or alter your pictures, BeReal is rooted in a return to the genuine. This move away from the carefully curated image created on Instagram has been due for a while. With the rise of the ‘finsta’ or ‘spam account’ on Instagram, social media users have long since been looking for more genuine ways to document their day to day lives. Sure, Instagram and Snapchat stories fill that gap, but Be Real has what they don’t: a time limit.

The app says two minutes to capture, but it’s lenient – you can post late with the consequence that other users will know. So if you’ve got plans with friends, why not wait to post? Added bonus, you’re not a goody-two-shoes who plays by the rules. But your friends already knew that, right? 

Though Be Real’s motto, “Your friends for real”, adds to the air of authenticity around the brand, are you really learning that much about “your friends”? This just in, shocking news, they also eat pasta and binge tv shows in bed! A whole new side of them has been revealed! Without Be Real I never would have known! 

But maybe this sparks something in you, a desire to become someone with a vivid daily life worth capturing. So you have a picnic or travel to London or have a night out and…the two minute timer starts the second you’re back to the ordinary. Because isn’t that just how it goes? 

So, the big question: is Be Real the next big thing? Unlikely. While Be Real seems like it brings something new to the table, it really doesn’t. The only difference being it forces your hand, not only to reveal yourself, but the mundanity of everyday life too (in both front and back camera angles).

By Hannah Armour

Photo by Robin Worrall on Unsplash