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Using the BeReal App to Advocate for Your Library

by Amanda Hunt
Featured image with screenshots of a librarian's BeReal posts and the title "BeReal: Show the world what you're doing in your library."

When new apps for social media come out, generally I get all the tea about them from my students. This year’s hot new app that is taking the tween/teen crowd by storm is called BeReal, and we can use it in the library.

What Is BeReal?

BeReal is an app that is available for download across platforms to “show your friends who you really are, for once.” It removes filters and opportunities to stage, overthink, or edit photos. The app notifies users that it’s “time to Be Real” at a random time throughout the day, so in order to be successful, you must have notifications enabled. A two-minute timer starts when the user opens the app, giving them a limited amount of time to take a picture of whatever they’re doing at that moment.

How Does BeReal Work?

Throughout the day BeReal will send you a notification to post your BeReal photos. Be aware! The app will take two photos: 1) a picture of what’s in front of you and 2) a selfie. The purpose is to keep everything 100% authentic. It’s meant to capture where you are, what you’re doing, and what you look like (no filters!) at the moment the notification goes off. When you sign up, the app is going to almost immediately ask you to take your first BeReal photo. Get ready! You will have two minutes to complete this activity. This app is not a big-time waster. You can click on Discover to view others’ posts, but basically, you wait for your notification, take your selfie/photo within the two-minute time frame, and move on with your life.

Features in BeReal

Posting Late: If you don’t post within the two-minute time period, you can still post your photos. Friends will get a notification if you post late.

Deleting and Retaking Posts: While you can retake your BeReal as many times as you like during the two-minute countdown, once you’ve pressed “post,” you can only delete and retake it once.

Creating Content: Don’t try and create content on your own — you won’t be able to. The point of this app isn’t to capture the perfect picture. It’s meant to BE a REAL reflection of what’s happening in your daily life. 

“Realmojis:” You can react to friends’ posts in BeReal, but you can actually selfie the emoji yourself! When I went to put a heart-eyes emoji on a friend’s post, it asked me to take a selfie of what I think that emoji looks like on a human. BeReal saved the selfie, so I can continue to use my version of the heart-eyes emoji on anyone’s post.

Comments and Descriptions: Like with other social media apps, you can comment on others’ posts and write a description for your post to explain what you’re doing, where you are, etc. 

Digital Scrapbook: Like the app 1 Second Everyday, BeReal creates a digital scrapbook of all your posts that only you can see. I like that feature so I can have a memory photo roll to look back on.

How Can You Use BeReal As a Librarian?

I believe that a lot of what’s happening in the library community with book challenges stems from a lack of awareness about our profession. Many people don’t know what it takes to become a librarian, what librarians do on a daily basis, how much detail is involved in the job, how much professional development is involved, or how we choose books for our inventory. If we create an “open door policy,” so to speak, it gives the public a look into our lives in the library. Perhaps we can reach more citizens if we show what a day in the life of a librarian looks like? As my friend and fellow school librarian, Amanda Jones, says, “It’s not bragging; it’s advocacy.” 

With this app, I’m able to take real-time photos of what I’m doing, whether it be inventory, weeding, shelving, processing, curating, research, teaching lessons, working with library aides, clubs, professional development, meetings, hallway duty, creating displays, and more.

See some examples below of what BeReal “caught” me doing both in and out of my school work day.

Here, I was attending the Middle Grade Magic Conference.

I was setting up for our 7th grade Gifted and Talented (GT) Competition.

I was designing and writing questions for our Battle of the Books.

Organizing and taking inventory of our literacy library with my library aides.

I was reading graphic novels all spring break for the Texas Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List committee through TLA.

I was working on book recommendation graphics for the Apple TV in our library one weekend. 

When new apps come out, I am always thinking of ways librarians can use them to their advantage. So many people don’t know what library media specialists do on a daily basis. BeReal is a great way to spread awareness, especially since librarians are under attack not only on the books we’re choosing for our libraries but also for what we do throughout the school day. BeReal allows me to take snapshots of my day so that I can share these with my stakeholders and advocate for my library. How will you use BeReal?

Did you know that April is School Library Month? TCEA will feature a guest article written by a member librarian once a week throughout the month! April also includes:

How will you show appreciation for your librarian, media specialist, and library staff?

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