Be Real

Chipotle with Morgan Gove

I’ve been hearing college students talk about the Be Real app for months now. It’s supposed to function as something of the “anti-Instagram.” Instead of carefully-curated images depicting the perfect circumstances of the perfect life, it’s supposed to be more, well, real. Content is supposed to be generated within a two-minute window at some point during the day when all users get a presumably-random notification. Users are supposed to capture their current reality with pictures taken from both sides of their smart phone. And then these images are uploaded with very little context.

My friend Morgan pushed me over the edge, in a dinner conversation earlier this week. I’m not sure I’m going to love it. But it seems like a worthy experiment. I signed up for an account on the spot and recorded my first moment of Be(ing) Real right there, with her.

There are supposed to be (social) penalties for posting at more convenient times (the app adds a notice saying that a post is, for instance, “5 hours late”). Or for taking multiple attempts to capture an image “just right” (the app adds a notice for saying how many times the picture has been edited). And I actually really like these features. I don’t know how effective they are. Pretense is still possible. But it’s designed to be minimized. And my first few days of anecdotal evidence suggests that Be Real is indeed far more real than other social media platforms I’ve used.

So, anyway: I’m giving it a try. A link has been added to the right sidebar on this website (==>). I’m hoping to keep learning about Be Real as I use it. If you have pointers for me, though, please feel free to let me know.

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