In 2022, authenticity was the main theme and this will carry on through 2023.
We’re all bored of the influencer lifestyle, those doctored images on Instagram that were likely taken by a professional photographer.
Real life doesn’t work like that (e.g., the posed shots, bright sunlight, and high-end camera gear), and we all know the reports about how social media leads to depression as we compare ourselves to that perfectly toned millionaire on a beach.
I’ve been saying this for a while, but the real danger with social media is not that we scan through influencer photos or compare ourselves to friends and family Every once in awhile. The sheer number of posts and photos we are consuming has been the main reason for living with social media over the last decade. If you expose anyone to thousands of photos of expensive clothing and a luxurious apartment, eventually your self-esteem will suffer.
I’m reminded of a comment I read once about police dramas (it was a passing reference, so I can’t recall the source). It might not matter if you enjoy police dramas with a lot violence the 100th time you see them. You might find it irrelevant after just a few years. Do they stay up for 10 years? You might experience a psychological effect.
It’s the same with social media. It’s not like Instagram can change your psychological outlook after flipping through a few glossy photos in one sitting. The impact of these apps being used for more than a decade is something I’m curious to see. One solution is to skip the apps altogether, but then we lose the value they provide — e.g., social connections, product discovery, or pure entertainment.
BeReal, an app that aims to help social media become more enjoyable in the future of 2022 was a great idea. BeReal launched in 2020 and gained in popularity over the past year. To promote BeReal in their network of influence, the company collaborated with local business leaders. App encourages authenticity. The app allows you to see notifications at specific times of the day that allow you to snap photos and share what’s happening real-life, with no need for staged events.
I like the idea, although I’ve noticed there’s also a way to circumvent that process. Although you can post staged photos later, the rules for notification must be followed immediately. My case was different. I uploaded a couple of photos at predetermined times. I took a picture of the spaghetti and my torn shoes. Mundane, sure. Yet Realität.
I wasn’t a fan of doing that, which is interesting. It was a mystery to me why boring photos were being posted. My subconscious thought was, Why would people care about my pasta or shoes? It dawned on me that I was conditioned by social media platforms like Instagram to share only the best moments. I wanted people to care, to click “like” — I wanted some sort of esteem and recognition.
What about you? One quick glance at my Instagram feed shows me staged photos of family meals, another of brightly lit scenes in winter, and a smiling face looking directly into the camera. I didn’t see a single “bad” photo.
Facebook is like rats that have spent their lives eating cheese and navigating mazes. We are conditioned to only post the most memorable moments. This feeds the algorithm which adds revenue to advertisers. Amazingly good photos get more engagement and comments. Eyeballs. The algorithm does not need authenticity.
BeReal doesn’t have ads. This is an important fact to remember. So, in a way, there isn’t a vanity algorithm. When we upload stunning photos, there isn’t a machine that will send us ads. There is no social competition; BeReal also won’t appeal to influencers trying to make money. The vanity element is missing, which means high traffic won’t lead to ad revenue.
I’m curious if BeReal can somehow attract more attention. It had approximately a million active users per day in 2021. But, those numbers increased to 20 million by August 2022.
That’s impressive, but still nowhere near the dominance of Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. If vanity is missing, and the ads never arrive, I’m not sure how BeReal will ever turn a profit. It’s possible to pay money for apps such as this. There’s a novel concept: paying an app not to show us ads.
Although authenticity may be temporary, I believe it will last.
BeReal is my pick for the top app of 2022, mainly because it’s breaking my habit of posting only the perfect moments. As a means to inspire more authenticity, I intend to continue using it. Are you willing to join me?