Formatting the Real
J.D. Swerzenski and Brendan McCauley/ University of Mary Washington and University of Massachusetts-Amherst

J.D. Swerzenski and Brendan McCauley examine how BeReal creates discursive boundaries of reality through its format and platform design. The authors argue BeReal shows how our contemporary conception of “real” is always already produced by and for screens.

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Everyone Stop What You’re Doing, And be Real: Conceptualizing BeReal as a Live Public
Zari Taylor / University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

You’re working remotely at a local coffee shop. Waiting at the baggage carousel for your suitcase to arrive at the airport. Attending the funeral of a loved one. Standing in line at the bank. Suddenly, your phone pings with an all too familiar notification. It’s time to BeReal.

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Profiles without Agency? BeReal and the Future of Profile-Building
Gabriel Wisnewski-Parks / WEstern Carolina University 

What exactly should we be anxious about when it comes to BeReal? Wisnewski-Parks’ claim is that we need to pay attention to what BeReal reveals about attitudes towards authenticity, identity, and agency, particularly as they relate to the vital social process of profile-building.

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Over*Flow: “It’s not dark humor if it’s not your trauma – you’re just bad people”: The exploitative nature of TikTok meme cultures
Moa Eriksson Krutrök / UmeA University, Sweden

Moa Eriksson Krutrök explores the ways social media like TikTok can offer individuals social support to process grief and trauma. Unfortunately, meme culture can radically recontextualize the personal and exploit already vulnerable people.

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