In sixth grade, I wasn’t allowed to have an Instagram account. Looking back, I completely understand why my parents made that decision, but in my 11-year-old mind, it was absolutely crushing.
I can’t remember how old I was when they finally allowed me to download the app and create my own account, but I was unbelievably ecstatic to be part of the social media world I felt I had completely missed out on.
At this young age, I had no idea what kind of impact social media would have on me, but now I understand why my mom was so hesitant to allow me to join.
Social media drives us to believe that everyone is perfect based on a small glimpse into their lives. Of course, people usually only post their life’s highlight reels, but it is difficult to remember that peoples’ posts don’t typically reflect their lives as accurately as we think they do.
I can’t pick out a specific post I’ve seen that made me feel bad about myself, but I am sure there are plenty I have aimlessly scrolled past and thought, “Wow, I wish I was her.” I have often desired to be just like the social media influencers I see online, living a seemingly perfect life in beautiful weather with no worries.
It is easy to forget that people usually only post fabricated bits of their lives online. Social media is not a reflection of reality. Before posting a picture on Instagram, most people look through the hundreds of pictures taken to find the perfect one—even then, they still find something to edit.
Some influencers have tried to break this pattern and remind followers that no one lives such extravagant lives 24/7. Although these efforts go a long way, they don’t eliminate the problem.
There is one social media app, however, that does not allow you to lie about what you are doing or how you look. There is no way to edit your picture, gain followers or even pick when or what you are going to post.
BeReal is an app that launched in the beginning of 2021. I didn’t hear about it until winter break when one of my friends told us we should all download it.
Once you download and sign up for BeReal, you will be prompted to take a picture of yourself at a random time every day. Once you open the notification, you have just two minutes to take a picture of yourself with both the front and back cameras.
These two minutes prohibit you from being able to change anything about your appearance and location. Instead, it forces you to post exactly how you look in that moment, completely eliminating the posed and fake parts of social media.
At first, I didn’t really understand what was so special about BeReal, but now I look forward to the notification to take my daily picture.
It is so special to see exactly what your friends are doing the moment they receive a notification without having to worry about impressing anyone. You are able to just enjoy funny pictures of your friends doing something as basic as walking to class or picking up their package from the mail center.
One of my favorite parts about the app is how it keeps me connected to my friends who don’t go to Lehigh. I can see exactly what they are doing when the notification pops up on their phone even though we are in two completely different places.
No one is posting anything extravagant on BeReal; rather, it is demonstrating that social media should not be used purely to show the fabulous parts of your life. By only showing off certain aspects in traditional social media, it can make our peers feel insufficient or as if their lives do not compare. But with BeReal, you are able to just enjoy the beauty and genuineness of one another’s lives.