Two minutes on the clock. It’s time to BeReal


Photo courtesy of Agata Dolinska

WCHS junior Agata Dolinska poses with her friends in the student section at the Blake vs. WCHS football game on September 9.

By Kalena Yee, Arts Editor

The crushing crowd packed the stands under the bright Friday night lights on September 9. At exactly 8:19 p.m., the WCHS student section erupted with cheer. Did the football team score a touchdown? No, it was time to “BeReal.”

“The entire student section was yelling ‘It’s BeReal time!’” WCHS junior Agata Dolinska said. “Everyone was smiling and taking pictures together at the game all at the same time.”

With 22.8 million active users since August 2022, according to TIME, the trending social media app BeReal has taken the world by storm. What makes the app unique is its goal: to embody the idea of  “casual” social media through snapshots of people’s unfiltered daily lives. Once the BeReal notification goes off – at any random time of the day – users have exactly two minutes to take a picture of what they are currently doing using both their front and back cameras. 

“Nothing beats the satisfying feeling of capturing a Bereal, especially if it’s while I am doing something exciting,” WCHS sophomore Kai Zou said. “My BeReals usually consist of me with friends, doing homework, after tennis practice, in the car, anything really.” 

BeReal relieves the arguably draining pressure of social media in numerous ways. Similar to Instagram and Snapchat stories, posts disappear once the next day’s BeReal timer goes off. 

“Posting a temporary photo about your day is a lot less stressful than posting a picture that will be on your feed forever,” Dolinska said. “Also, you don’t have to worry about the numbers since there are no likes or followers.”

However, this does not mean that there is no interaction on the platform. While scrolling through their friend’s posts, users can comment and take Realmojis, a live picture of themselves reacting to a BeReal. 

“It’s fun to react to your friends’ BeReal with a funny face,” Zou said. “It’s also amusing to see everyone’s reactions to your BeReal, especially when you post something that surprises them.”

Another special feature of BeReal is the monthly memory collection. BeReal saves everything users post into a memory collection sorted by month. This is seen exclusively by the user to look back on what they did every day. 

“Seeing all the BeReals I took with my friends or during the summer makes me nostalgic,” Dolinska said. “My favorite BeReal is a selfie I took in San Francisco. The back camera had a pretty background of the city sky.”

Along with the unique features of the app, various ongoing trends motivate users to actively post on BeReal. However, these trends are different from typical trends on other social media platforms. 

“Trends on BeReal are more fun and genuine than other apps since you don’t have to try as hard to perfectly execute them,” Zou said. “My favorite trend is when people have strangers take their BeReals because the stranger usually thinks they’re taking a regular photo when in fact, they’re actually in it.”

BeReal not only promotes authenticity among its users, but also a sense of community. Something about knowing that people are living their everyday lives alongside them creates a comforting feeling for BeReal users, whether they personally know each other or not. 

“One time BeReal went off when I was in New York. Random people all around me got their phones out to post,” Zou said. “I felt connected to them because we all shared something in common.”

With all of these aspects of BeReal, one question remains: how real is BeReal? Different features of BeReal have the potential for users to somewhat alter the integrity of their posts, for example, the ability to post late.

“Sometimes I’m busy and can’t post on time,” Dolinska said. “The good thing is people don’t really care whether you post late or not, as long as you don’t consistently wait 17 hours until you are doing something interesting.”

To counteract users taking advantage of this feature, one cannot see other people’s posts until they have taken their daily BeReal. In addition, if posted late, BeReal displays how much later the photo was posted after the timer went off. 

“There’s also the problem where people retake photos until they look good,” Zou said. “However, BeReal will show how many takes a post took so you can see how genuine someone is being.”

Despite the debate of exactly how real BeReal is, it may be the closest platform yet that attempts to remedy the toxicity of social media. Until then, users enjoy having fun with the app while perhaps reflecting on how real they are portraying themselves in the moment.  

“On BeReal, no one is trying to impress or show people how great their life is or how good they look,” Dolinska said. “BeReal is a refreshing change, and I hope there will be more apps like it in the future.”