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

Picture this, you are in your 5 p.m. lecture class and a phone alert which can only be described as the “sound sparkles would make” rings from your neighbors iPhone and yours. Suddenly, students are sticking their arms out to take a selfie, or looking down to do the same but a little less conspicuously so the professor does not question it. 

Meet Gen-Z’s current obsession, BeReal. It is a social media app that releases a single notification once a day to all its users, who then have two minutes to upload a photo from their front and back cameras of their phones. The purpose is for users to share unfiltered photos of their real lives, contrary to the heavily photoshopped or filtered flicks that might be posted to Instagram or Snapchat. 

Users can retake their photo, however, their friends can see how many times they have retaken it. You also cannot see other people’s BeReal until you have taken one of your own. Friends can then add “RealMojis” to react to your post. 

Despite being very popular, the major complaint users have is that those who post “late” BeReals should have some kind of repercussion or punishment. Some I’ve heard from mutual users is not being allowed to post the following day or not being allowed to post at all after a the 2 minute time restriction each day. I disagree, as this takes away from the authenticity the app is trying to promote. I will be honest, I am often being fake on BeReal, but it is not for the faint of heart. I am busy throughout the day, and especially during the school year, I am off my phone for many hours. I do not mind have the words “late” appear on the top of my photo. Sometimes, being real is just not accessible in certain situations. 

I think this repercussion would only deter people from using the app. BeReal tries very hard to keep its users authentic and by forcing a rule where people must bring out their phones to snap a picture would be the opposite of that. While BeReals taken during court cases, funerals, weddings, exams, and more all stir up a laugh; sometimes, it would be better to be respectful of the situation you are in and, well, be fake. 

Whatever the complaint, BeReal possesses the ability to get every user to take a photo and post it. Whether they waited four hours to take their photo when they knew they would be attending a Harry Styles concert (guilty!) or they rolled out of bed at 1 p.m. on the weekend to the alert “Time to BeReal: 2 minutes left to capture a BeReal and see what your friends are up to!” and snapped a shot then, it serves as a photo diary to each user. My favorite part of the app is its feature to see all of your past BeReals. I am proud to say I have not missed a day. Have I been late? Absolutely. But the app has been a way for me to remember the days as they go, even when I am not doing anything exciting or important. 

I have had the app since May, but BeReal was released near the beginning of 2020. Imagine what everyone’s BeReals during quarantine would have looked like! I enjoy the simplicity of the app, especially for its users, who may be more used to the sounds and flashy videos of TikTok. 

At the end of the line, BeReal remains a really down-to-earth app. No follower count, no like count, just raw, unfiltered photos. They disappear when the next day’s BeReal notification is released. Especially being away from all my hometown friends at college, it is fun to see a small snippet of all my friends’ lives, whether they were “real” or not.

Annabel Park

Rutgers '25

Annabel is a sophomore at Rutgers University majoring in Marketing and minoring in Health Administration. Besides writing, she enjoys baking, going to the gym, Harry Styles, and walking around NYC hoping to run into celebrities! IG: @annabelpark3