The creation and rapidly developing popularity of BeReal, an app that seeks to embody the idea of authentic social media, proves that authentic social media is an oxymoron. BeReal sends users a notification once a day at a random time, prompting them to take both a front-facing and back-facing photo of whatever they’re doing at that moment. The mission statement is: “Your friends for real. A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.” What started out as a new concept for social media that heavily nudges users to be genuine soon became another highlight reel under the guise of authenticity.
When BeReal first began to get popular in early 2022, it was mostly within very small circles. Back then, it was much easier to comply with the concept by taking the photo on time, rather than repeatedly deleting and retaking it.