bereal sketch on snl showing a person holding up the bereal app feed


Some people just don’t want to BeReal

'I don’t want to BeReal' is a whole vibe now.


Tiffany Kelly

Internet Culture

Posted on Oct 15, 2022   Updated on Oct 17, 2022, 8:21 am CDT

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BeReal, the social app that invites users to post once a day at a random time, is getting a lot of attention lately. It was the subject of memes over the summer, as well as an SNL sketch a couple of weeks ago.

BeReal is the newest shiny toy that everyone is trying out. But not everyone wants to BeReal—the app’s name encourages people to be authentic and candid on the internet.

A new meme trend is all about wanting to be something else besides being real. “I don’t want to BeReal,” the text on one TikTok video reads. “I want to BeDrinkingWineAndListeningtoMidnights.”

“I need to BeWorkingFromHome,” another video reads.

People are also using the trend to talk about wanting to be in a relationship, wanting to take a nap, and wanting to be done with school.

“I don’t want to BeReal” is a whole vibe now.

Maybe it’s the name that is turning people off. BeReal sounds like a command. Act authentic, right now! Can you really be real in any app?

I’ve been using BeReal the last couple of months, and while I like it, I worry that it will soon grow too big for people to be completely genuine. I post more candid photos on the app than I would on, say, Instagram. And I like looking at my friends’ posts. But I feel pressure to be authentic yet not boring on the app. (Example: Me posting myself looking at my laptop all day? Probably boring, especially compared to people taking vacation photos.)

I still like using the app because it’s an escape from other apps that have now become commercialized (ahem, Instagram). And it forces you to show others where you are by simultaneously taking photos with the front and back cameras on your phone.

Why it matters

Since it became popular in the middle of this year, the idea behind BeReal is shifting. People share their BeReal snaps on other social apps, and there is now such a thing as “winning” BeReal by having the best photo—usually a term used by people who want to show off that they were at a cool event when they got the notification.

When I went to a Harry Styles show recently, I saw posters in the audience that asked the singer to take the fans’ BeReal photos. It kind of defeats the whole purpose of the app to plan BeReal photos or to aim to beat your friends in having the coolest post. Being real means your life doesn’t always look exciting; it means it looks realistic. To me, that means posting weird photos of myself with my dogs, or simply lying on my couch watching a movie.

I’ll still continue to use BeReal as long as the app interests me, but I understand why some people simply don’t want to… BeReal.

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*First Published: Oct 15, 2022, 6:00 am CDT