BeReal it’s the new one emerging social network, intended to defeat the giants that today obscure our mind by immersing it in an ocean of falsehood and minimum attention span. The younger generations who are fleeing Facebook (indeed, haven’t even entered it) are all already here according to the narrative surrounding the app. As a lover of the world of social media and technology, as well as a curious by nature, I could not dive into this world. Yet after weeks of activity, I still have my doubts.
BeReal is a small social network
Before leaving, a moment of recap for those who don’t know exactly what it is. BeReal is a social network extremely simple and essential, which has photos in its “central unit”, taken simultaneously between the front and rear cameras. Basically you see what you have in front of you and your face, unless you opt for particularly creative solutions.
Unlike other social networks though you can’t post as much as you want and when you want. Once a day you will receive a notification telling you it’s time to post your BeReal and from there you will only have two minutes to take the picture and upload it. At the same time they will all other users – or at least those in your own geographical macro-area – and you will be able to see their contents only after publishing yours too. Then the day ended they all cancel (as with Instagram Stories, only their original author can review them) and start over.
And let’s say that the story ends quite here. There is a friend request system to keep track of our closest contacts. There is currently no internal chat. There are due Feed where to see the contents: one is that of Amici precisely, the other is the Discovery, with a continuous flow of shots from all over the world. We can add a caption to the photos and comment on them.
We can also put a RealMoji, which is a very nice feature of the app: we can associate a photo of ourselves with each reaction emoji. So basically a like instead of being a yellow thumb becomes our big smiley face. Not revolutionary, but friendly.
And I think that’s really all.
Yes, but what am I supposed to do with it?
The whole discussion behind BeReal is also interesting: social networks have now become an obsession, a jumble of fake contents, unreal and harmful lifestyles, the quintessence of the performance society. So let’s go back to a more spontaneous and free version of these services, without prepared content, without thinking about the frequency of posts and the time of day, without social media managers and maybe even without influencers.
And there’s something interesting about all of this, because we actually need a moment to reflect on our relationship with these services. Remodulate their importance, learn to use them better to reward who it actually does something, overcome prejudices such as “On TikTok there are only ballets” and so on. Maybe avoiding starting from a perspective from “Oh my lady what are you going to do, it was better when it was worse”, here.
All this to say that there is some truth to it in the reasoning behind this Next Big Thing of social networks. But exactly how can BeReal be the answer? How can we think that the emptiness of these services is to be contrasted with contents even more empty?
When I say I’ve tried using this social network, I don’t just mean that I’ve posted on it a few times. I made an effort to check it frequently, to be active, to take a few more steps to get into the spirit. But every time I opened it and scrolled through my feed, the thought was like: “Wow, my friend was watching TV two hours ago, while five minutes ago a girl I don’t know in Croatia was at the supermarket. Now my life is complete.”
BeReal is the social network of contradictions…
There is one point then that really seems to me bring down the house of cards built around BeReal. If the goal of this platform is to create a more balanced relationship with social media, online and offline life, “being real” in fact, the idea of the timer to publish goes totally in the opposite direction.
From the moment the notification arrives every user has note only two minutes to take his picture and post it. That yes, it is undoubtedly an effective way to have as much unprepared content as possible on the platform, but on the other hand “forces” to always be with the phone in handto be ready to shoot (literally and metaphorically) as soon as the social network has decided it’s time.
Which then, also on this, exactly what is the risk What if you don’t post by the scheduled time? Nothing, except the wording “tot min/h late” above your photo. Nothing particularly uncomfortable, but above all nothing that prevents me from calmly preparing my daily Be Real when the notification arrives. With many regards to the idea of avoiding unspontaneous contents.
…but we live in a society built on contradictions
However, even on BeReal the rule that the web loves cats is true
In light of all my doubts about BeReal therefore, will I continue to use this social network? The answer is – against all logic – Yes. On the one hand because the idea of being in this inner circle of “enlightened people” who are already active in the next evolutionary step of the web is bread for the ego. On the other hand, because the feeling of “having done my duty” for my social presence with a photo taken quickly, without thinking, without commitment, is equally satisfying. Indeed, if you are curious, you can follow me here.
But I’m still confused though. He is convinced that the greatest utility of BeReal is not as a social network per se, but as a feature. A nice part of another platform that offers much more inside. And it is very probable that this will be the future that the idea will face…