Keeping it Real
Every day at a different time, the BeReal app simultaneously notifies users to capture and share a photo within two minutes. The app calls itself “A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.”
For those who are unfamiliar, the app captures an image on both your front and back cameras, giving the viewer a selfie and a picture of what you’re up to. Visible for 24 hours, these photos cannot be edited and users cannot ‘like’ them, but they can comment and respond with their own selfie.
What’s the point?
The point is people value authentic interactions. This is supported by BeReal’s surging popularity, and a 315% increase in the number of people downloading the app.
We agree it’s refreshing to see unedited, natural photos of friends and colleagues having fun out and about, as well as seeing the mundane reality of people’s lives, sat at their messy work desks, their bored faces pouting, or watching tv in their pjs.
Getting an insight to their day-to-day life gives us a feeling of intimacy. Rather than making us feel we must look better, be more successful, or more popular, it takes the pressure off, so that we feel comfortable posting ‘real’ images which, let’s face it do include those ‘boring’ moments where we might not be looking our best.
When it comes to professional social media, this same authenticity is sought out and is proving vital in a progressively tech savvy and media literate world. Maintaining a real feel for your social media presence, while positively representing your brand and keeping content interesting and engaging is a difficult balancing act. This is even more challenging where brands and individuals alike are increasingly scrutinised and held accountable for their content.
Being genuine is an essential aspect of connecting with followers – not everything has to be perfect. Discussing challenges and struggles in a transparent and constructive manner is vital in being honest with followers. Letting a brand speak for itself through real moments cultivates respect through honest content, while releasing it from the quagmire of unattainable perfection, comparison and one-upmanship.
On a Real Note
The same can be said for the workplace. We don’t think our employees need to wear a full suit to work, and if they feel they work best in a hoodie and trackies then go for it. It’s important for us that our employees are confident in their identities and have the space to be themselves in a work culture that encourages expression and visibility. People are most productive when they’re happy and comfortable being their authentic selves.
Of course, finding the best way to work for each of us has been a learning curve, one that we’re all still navigating. Adapting to working at home or on the go has been interesting at times. Gracie found out that attending a training call from a busy café in Paris meant the background noise prevented her from asking questions and caused food envy (it was French onion soup). I discovered that mistiming going through security during an internal meeting resulted in the kind of stress and sweating that doesn’t look great in an airport.
Honesty is the Best Policy
While hiccups like these have happened, and sometimes still do, we’ve worked to learn from them. More than that, we value sharing them, giving our colleagues the opportunity to provide us with advice and learn from our mistakes. Transparency and open communication in an organisation are the oil that ensures the engine runs smoothly.
Removing judgement also allows growth, especially in a dispersed, remote working environment. It’s vital that everyone can flag any slip ups so we can work as a team to resolve them as quickly as possible. We should not be judging each other for being human, and when people hide their mistakes from fear, they snowball. It also means they don’t get proper support and training in how to solve and prevent the same mistakes. In the same strain, we also encourage picking up the phone and asking for help or clarification on a task without feeling as though we’re bothering each other.
IRL (in real life)
The BeReal app aims to challenge the curation that other social media offer, and replace it with a more personal, unfiltered view of each other’s lives. The candid content and style of engagement removes the overanalysing or overthinking that comes hand-in-hand with other social media platforms.
The growing success of the app reflects the value that we place on authenticity in our personal and professional lives, both online and IRL. We believe it is vital to champion colleagues to have the freedom and trust to be their genuine selves, warts and all, in order to improve from mistakes and maximise productivity.