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Sunday, March 3, 2024
The Observer

BeReal

A while ago, all of my friends started downloading the app BeReal and would ask me on a daily basis if I had finally downloaded it yet. My answer was always no, until a few months ago. I had finally decided to join the trend. The app encourages you to live in the moment, and for those who don’t know, according to their website, “Every day at a different time, everyone is notified simultaneously to capture and share a photo in 2 minutes. A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.”

I always thought this was such an interesting concept and truly an innovative addition to the social media world. Our generation is so used to looking and acting a certain way on social media, trying to adhere to a “societal standard.” Generally speaking, people aren’t going to post about the day they spent doing nothing or the hours they spent with their friends working on homework. Rather, people tend to post things that make their social media look like a highlight reel. 

With the creation of BeReal, however, people were able to challenge the “highlight reel” narrative…to some extent. While it encourages you to take a photo in the moment, it also encourages this idea that you have to post everything you’re doing to social media. You can also retake the photo as many times as you want and don’t have to post at the exact moment the BeReal notification goes off. A lot of people will wait to post their BeReal until they are doing something interesting or fun, which, in a way, defeats the purpose of the app entirely.

A lot of people tend to get caught up in the belief that, if you didn’t post it on social media, it didn’t happen. Sometimes we tend to forget that we live in a world where we can BeReal outside of social media without all of the filters to match a certain aesthetic. We don’t need an app to validate that we enjoyed doing something with our friends when we can just recognize it ourselves in the moment instead.

Last week, I was looking at my average screen time and noticed that it was almost eight hours, which seems like a lot. To no surprise of mine, my most used apps were TikTok, Safari, Instagram, iMessages and Snapchat. This checks out. After a long day of classes, I often find myself scrolling endlessly through TikTok and Instagram before going to bed. What was once intended to only be 30 minutes of going on my phone before calling it a night turned into two hours, more often than not. And what was once intended to be a phone free walk from my dorm to my class at the other end of campus turned into replying to Snapchats, catching up on any missed emails and then, if time, scrolling through Instagram and BeReal to see what my friends were up to. 

As much as I appreciate the connection that social media brings people, I also recognize that with this connection comes a disconnection. We are so focused on what other people are doing that oftentimes we forget to stop and look around at what’s happening right in front of us. And sometimes, it’s the little things that get overlooked the most. In an effort to notice the little things a little more, I’ve made the decision to go on my phone less, to enjoy the freezing ten minute walk to class without feeling the pressure to post my daily BeReal. That’s not to say that I might not still have nights where I find myself on my phone for a few extra hours. I just want to notice the little things a lot more. 

To me, being real has nothing to do with the app BeReal. Being real is about living in the moment and enjoying the people you are with. Oftentimes, we don’t realize what we have until we no longer have it. To me, being real is about creating memories with your friends without necessarily feeling the pressure to post about it on social media. Being real is about noticing the things that are right in front of you and not taking them for granted. In the process of it all, if you end up with a cute picture you want to post, that’s great. Ultimately though, what matters the most is that you are able to have fun and enjoy the people you spend your time with and that you are able to look back and not wish you had been more present. Personally, I’d rather look back and realize that I was able to BeReal in the moment, instead of focusing so much on when an app told me I had to. 

Isabelle Kause is a sophomore at Notre Dame studying sociology and minoring in journalism. When she’s not busy, you can find her listening to country music or Taylor Swift or trying out new makeup/skincare products. She can be reached at ikause@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.