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Culture > Digital

Social Media in College: What’s “Real”?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Holy Cross chapter.

Back in February, one of my friends told me to download this new app, BeReal. I laughed at the thought of there somehow being another new platform for social media, but I proceeded to download the app. For that month, I only had three BeReal friends. I really felt like I had found a nontoxic and easy form of social media, but as I have added more friends on BeReal, I am still facing the same issues of finding authenticity that I have found on other platforms.

 Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a daily social media user. Especially as a new freshman who’s trying to stay in touch with my old friends amidst meeting new ones, it feels practically necessary to take my BeReals, keep snap streaks, and scroll through Instagram and TikTok. I feel closer to the new people that I have met because I can see a glimpse into their lives. On the flip side, I feel like social media has made my first two weeks of college feel less authentic. Through social media, it really appears that every freshman at Holy Cross has totally solidified their lifelong friends and are having the time of their lives every second of the day. From a logical perspective though, I know that is not the case. Despite that, it’s hard to take the constant content flowing through my feed and decide what I want to believe as “real” or not. Seeing people curate their “content” in real time has given me the perspective that it’s very natural to become engulfed in someone’s highlight reel.

BeReal has pointed out to me that people’s lives are slightly more boring than they give themselves credit for. Even people who consistently post during the two minute window BeReal gives you stage it in some way. Some people unapologetically always post late, understanding that they are showing their highlight reel rather than being authentic. I must remind myself to take everything I see on BeReal and other apps with a grain of salt. For every post I see, there will always be a side of the story that I cannot. With this mindset at hand, more and more I attempt to approach social media with a new and realistic outlook.

Ann O'Malley

Holy Cross '26

Ann is a current sophomore at Holy Cross from Milton, Massachusetts. She enjoys spending time with friends, listening to music, and writing!