Utah Valley University students are taking part in a new social media trend by posting on BeReal: one of the world’s newest social media platforms that is focused on filter-less authenticity online. As pictured in the featured collage, students are taking pictures everywhere – even on campus, where students may spend a lot of their time.
For those who haven’t downloaded the viral BeReal app, every day at a random time, anyone who has downloaded the app will get a notification saying, “Time to BeReal: 2 min left to capture a BeReal and see what your friends are up to!”
When that notification goes off, 15 million people take a photo and are subsequently able to see their friends’ photos. The app takes a photo of the scene in front of you, as well as a “selfie-style” picture, and the two are combined to create what is known as your “BeReal” for the day.
The app was originally created in 2020 and has since become one of the fastest-growing social media platforms this year.
“BeReal is a fun way to keep social media real and catch people in what they are doing in real life instead of putting up a fake front. It’s way more fun to see,” said Emily Foster, a student at UVU.
It also helps students connect with our loved ones who live far away, as students travel from all over the world to come to UVU. Student Abby Skousen said, “I have enjoyed the app because it’s a fun way to connect with family and friends I don’t often see. I also love that it’s real and can’t be edited to show a life that is fake and looks glorious to everyone. It just shows the good ole everyday life.”
While some students view it as a really fun app, others have somewhat negative views of it. When asked if she has the app, UVU student Elizabeth Hoover responded that she did not, saying, “It’s not as big of a thing as people think it is. I think it’s more for older people like my older brother has it.”
According to a report by data.ai, around 80% of BeReal’s user base in the United States is split 60/40 across Millenials and Gen Z, respectively. However, this isn’t reflected worldwide, where most Bereal users in other countries are a part of Gen Z, aged 16-24.
Student Annika Skelton also said when asked for her perspective, “It’s great to be able to keep up with my friends on and off campus in a more personal way then other social medias. Although, I can’t say how honest that is because I literally don’t use it.”
While some students may not necessarily be a fan of BeReal, , there are many other students who disagree, stating that they enjoy the features the app has to offer.
“I feel like BeReal has all the positive features of social media and removes some of the more problematic features,” said Jordan Farnsworth, a student at UVU. “It gives me a way to share what’s going on in my day and connect with my friends, but I don’t feel the need to scroll it endlessly so it’s not as addicting as other apps. And it takes away the “filtered highlight” aspect of other social media platforms, where the posts people share aren’t necessarily an accurate representation of their lives.”
The app was also said by students to be more helpful in promoting better mental health on social media.
“Lately I’ve been focusing on my mental health and having a positive view of my own self image and I used to avoid pictures being taken of me all the time, but now I just expect to take one every single day and every day I feel a little less self conscious about how I look,” said Anakin Winder, another UVU student. “I feel that overall it’s had a positive impact on my mental health, regardless of how carelessly I take the pictures.”
Willie the Wolverine also said that he has enjoyed his time using the app. “BeReal has been super fun for me to play around with! It has been a great resource to help the students of UVU know about all of the events and has been a very effective way for me to connect with the community at large.” Students can add Willy on BeReal at @uvu_wolverine.
Whether or not you favor the app, it has become increasingly more popular over the past few months. Within the app you’ll find endless pictures of peoples’ lives, taken authentically, wherever they are and whatever they’re doing. As student David Fitch said, “I think it’s a fun way to feel connected since everyone responds around the same time generally, and it’s kind of like all of your friends saying hi at the same time even during a busy day.”