Keeping up with Kincaid: Why do I love the BeReal?

Managing+Editor%2C+Laken+Kincaid%2C+reflects+on+their+thoughts+from+the+past+weeks.

Laken Kincaid

Managing Editor, Laken Kincaid, reflects on their thoughts from the past weeks.

Laken Kincaid, Managing Editor

The sum of one’s daily rituals inevitably dictates the nature of a person. If you make your bed at the beginning of each day, you are typically perceived as organized and pompous. If you always go to Dunkin’ Donuts for a large iced coffee come daybreak, someone may say you have insomnia and/or money to blow. If you actually read the assigned textbooks for your classes everyday, I think you are a liar either to yourself or all of society.

However, since early May, I have a new habit that has kept me on the edge of my seat day in and day out. Let me start by saying that I assure you that you have not experienced your heart skip a beat, you have not experienced an immediate rise in blood pressure and body temperature as immense as this new phenomenon causes. You have not seen a crowd of young adults scramble more fervently (unless you count watching a swath of college students scramble on to the poor JCU wifi for Taylor Swift tickets as the internet servers omit a death rattle). Sometimes, it even feels like the lottery numbers are being called.

Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best feelings of genuine euphoria that I receive throughout my day is the notification that appears at the top of my screen telling me that it is “⚠️Time to BeReal⚠️.” 

For those living under a rock, BeReal is a new social media app that its founders describe as “the simplest photo sharing app to share once a day your real life in photos with friends.” At one random minute in a twenty four hour period, your cell phone will buzz and you will have two minutes to take a picture of whatever you are doing at the moment (if you wait to post your BeReal for when you are doing something quirky or off the wall, you are the enemy). 

Each BeReal post features two photos, one taken by your front facing camera and the other is captured from the opposite side of the device. If you do not take the picture in time, you are publicly shamed with a status update and all of your friends are informed of your failure via notification. Yet, if you do miss the BeReal, do not panic! Everyday (unless the developers forget) you have a chance to capture yourself living in the moment once again from two different angles with a myriad of possibilities.

Now, if you can not tell by my fantastical description of the platform, I adore BeReal. Whether it disrupts my day in the early hours of the morning while my eyes go crossed staring at an Excel sheet or when I am listening to my music full blast on duty as an RA, I always am ecstatic when it is time to post on the app. Scrolling through others’ posts also provides a sense of bonding with my closest friends. However, I am just as equally obsessed with scrolling back through my past BeReals as I am with engaging with the forum in real time.

While no one else can see my previous posts on the app, I cannot help but waft through the long line of pictures every other week. Starting on May 10, 2022, I have taken a BeReal every single day and mostly on time (the latest I have been is approximately two hours because I am against distracted driving). 

The program is effectively a catalog of memories, whether they be monumental or minimal, from the past seven months of my life. I see random months and dates and know exactly what I did and where I went during that time. Different eras are visible in the catalog whether that be the summer when I finally felt content for the first time in my twenty years or when I got my first taste of true career success ironically at O’Reilly’s Pub with Jen Ziemke’s class. I hope that, if I become historically memorable, AP tests will use these photos as first person sources for their DBQs. 

Nevertheless, as I flip through the memories, one thing is certain: I have changed so much since May. I do not see the same person in my BeReal history as I see looking back at me in the reflection of the screen. 

The person who took their first BeReal on May 10, 2022 had no clue what the next seven months would bring them. They had no idea they would go to a Pitbull concert or Washington D.C. twice over. If I told them that they were going to be an RA again in Millor Hall they would probably laugh and say that President Miciak promised the building would fall back in January. I think they would be impressed that I not only cut my hair but made it blue with Splat Box Dye; they always clung to the known in situations out of fear. They would look at the connections I have built and restored and be surprised that I took control, knowing good and well how much I was horrified by the thought of disappointing those around me. They would probably be terrified by the challenges I faced but impressed that we surmounted them relatively unscathed. Maybe they would even be inspired? 

I think the person in those BeReals would be so proud of how far they have come. Just like in those cheesy documentaries where an adult “interviews” their younger self, I wish I could tell the person downloading that app in the library basement to hold on tight to what they have and prepare for the wild ride ahead. 

Life undoubtedly moves fast; it is already my last Keeping up with Kincaid of the semester when it felt like I just wrote about the huge JCU snow storm or Saxbys coming to campus yesterday. Sometimes, I still wake up thinking I need to go to German class or I can go to the first floor of Millor and see Ray Flannery ‘22. Whether we enjoy it or not, time is fleeting and it molds us as it passes. We are left with its scars, shaping how we connect and cope with our environment. For that reason, I always say that time is fickle and bittersweet no matter the eyes of its beholder. Yet, for all it mars, it creates memories that are irreplaceable and forever unattainable again, no matter how far back you scroll. 

In the gallery attached to this article are some of my favorite BeReals I have taken. I hope that as you peruse through some of my favorite moments, you think about your own makeshift highlight reel, remembering how far you have come since May 10, 2022 and cherish your seven months properly.