SENZON | Put the Phone Down?

It feels surreal to live in an age where everyone has access to the internet, allowing us to create a narrative of who we are, and what we stand for from the touch of our phone screens. The technological advancements in the past century have created unspoken interconnectedness, resulting in people giving their two cents where unneeded.

Or perhaps, people have become more out of touch than ever before. There is growing concern that we are living in a world where empathy is not prioritized, and people’s devices have become extensions of themselves. As someone who has grown up always having had access to the internet, it feels like second nature to pick up my phone upon the next buzz or ding. While it isn’t news that my generation has become increasingly reliant on technology to complete schoolwork, network and search for jobs, I feel this disconnect all the more in recent weeks.

BeReal Reveals the Impossibility of Authentic Social Media

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.

FRIEDMAN | Social Media: The Thief of Joy

Coming into college, we are conditioned to curate our profiles to provide a solid first impression to the friends we make in the first weeks. However, as the months pass and the rest of our lives come into focus, those old memories are replaced with new ones, and the only thing that actually seems to matter becomes our core relationships and times spent with others — not superficial perceptions.

KUBINEC | BeReal is Saving Gen-Z

BeReal walks a middle road between throwing your phone into Beebe Lake and spending your vacation obsessively taking selfies. It’s what I like to call dumb social media — apps whose entire appeal is their limitations. BeReal does not allow users to see follower counts, filter their pictures or post more than once a day. The app exists more or less as an elaborate inside joke between its users, a meme turned to reality. And it’s not alone in the dumb social media category. 

Cornell Scientist Uses TikTok to Battle ‘Infodemic’

A year and a half filled with uncertainty has left Cornellians and Americans nationwide grasping at the straws of capricious public health advisory in search of information to protect their communities from COVID-19. Cornell Tech experts note that social media has played an irrevocable role in allowing avenues for disputing the science surrounding COVID-19, straining pandemic response globally.

YANG | The Romance of Substack and the Illusion of Meritocracy

Against this backdrop of the illusion of meritocracy, contrary to what Best said in the interview, I argue that Substack does not free journalists from the need to game the social media algorithms. Instead, Substack primarily serves those who have already successfully “gamed” the algorithms — those that have already been rewarded with attention, fame and popularity on existing social media platforms, particularly Twitter.