Wednesday, October 12, 2022

#286 / Be Real?


There is, in case you haven't yet been informed, a social media application, awaiting download on your cellphone, that is entitled, "BeReal." A New York Times article, published on Sunday, August 28, 2022, will tell you all about it:

Every day, 20 of my friends and I are supposed to post a picture at the same time. Really, it’s two pictures, taken simultaneously. One is a selfie, our faces angled toward the camera. The other shows whatever is in front of us. In one, I might see a friend’s face, in miniature, overlaid onto a photo of her laptop, on which I can see her trading Slack messages with colleagues, none of whose names I know, about a situation that doesn’t mean anything to me. Below this, another friend’s face will appear atop a photo of a subway platform — she’s coming home late, taking the G train. Someone else is lying on a plaid bedspread, eyes closed in exaggerated exhaustion. Someone is walking across a crosswalk, AirPods in. Someone is shopping for clothes online. Someone is eating a watermelon with a spoon. 
These images of us and our surroundings, and those posted by millions of others, are the core of an app called BeReal, which by mid-August had become the No. 1 free iPhone app. The rules are simple: We receive a single notification each day that tells us all, simultaneously, “Time to BeReal: 2 min left to capture a BeReal and see what your friends are up to!” We take the picture. We post. We scroll.
What is supposed to be "real" about postings on BeReal, as opposed to other postings to social media, is the idea that these image-reports are not "curated," or artificially enhanced, or selectively chosen to present a picture, or "image" of reality, that is different from reality itself. 

If you are convinced, by all means download that BeReal app (and maybe you already have). 

Let me reiterate my own position (mentioned on this blog, in various contexts, on numerous occasions). What we need, what we really need, is to understand that communications and human interactions mediated by huge, capitalist business platforms that promise us an online world much better than the dusty and dirty facts of our IRL existence, are all duplicitous, and a sham. 

Be real, I'm telling you (I am for that), and start talking to strangers (and friends) person-to-person, in conversations located in the earthly reality into which is has been such a privilege for us all to have been born!

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