GenZ does it again: hyping up a social media app that was founded in 2020 but only recently went viral on TikTok. BeReal exists for the sole purpose of being authentic on social media. It’s a unique and intimate take on seeing what you’re friends are really up to.
With no filters and no time to edit your photo, BeReal gives you no chance to overthink. The notification that arrives randomly each day instructs you to document your day through your lens, it allows you to share a moment with your friends, and see what everyone is up to at the same time.
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The more popular social media app, Instagram, initially felt like a medium in which one could share moments with family and friends. However, the Instagram that we know today has developed into a world of advertising, strangers and posts that take many formats. Instagram can seem like a social media platform in which the ‘media’ has been pushed far higher on the scale of importance than the ‘social’.
And so, BeReal was born, becoming what some call the ‘anti-Instagram’.
With no indication of when the notification might come, you cannot really prepare what you want to post. You might be cuddled up with your teddy, crying over work, or out with friends. The uncertainty of what you, and everyone else, will be sharing is part of the thrill.
As with most social media apps, you can choose to make your BeReal account private or public. This means that, as well as your friends, you are able to see what strangers around the world are up to at the exact same time on the public ‘Discovery’ page. So, not only can you feel ‘real’ with your friends, the app encourages a connection with a greater community, without the usual layers of pre-thinking and illusion.
How it works:
Upon joining the app you’re given a few ground rules. At an unknown and different time each day, you will get a notification saying ‘Time to BeReal.’ You then have two minutes to capture what you are doing. The app uses both the front and back camera, meaning the full scene is set: where you are, what you are doing, and who you might be with.
Only once your BeReal is posted can you see what everyone else has posted. If you miss the notification, you are still given the chance to post late. All of your friends, however, get a notification of your late post, and can see exactly how late it was posted. It is all in the spirit of encouraging ‘being real’.
Engagement on posts is an encouraged feature on the app. You can comment on both your friends’ and your own posts, as well as post live reaction photos.
BeReal includes no follower counts or likes. After seeing what your friends are up to and interacting with them, there is not much more to do, limiting the time you spend on the app, and therefore your screen time.
BeReal is a great platform to participate in social media when the social media you are used to leaves you feeling overwhelmed. It won’t steal more than five minutes from your day and is a useful way to stay in touch with the friends who you do not chat with regularly, or even the ones you do.