You get the notification, and the pressure is on. There’s only two minutes to take your BeReal, so drop whatever you’re doing and say cheese. And be careful! There better not be any retakes.
BeReal was first created in 2020 by a former GoPro employee, Alexis Barreyata, and Kevin Perrau. The app gives you two minutes to post one picture a day at various times depending when the notification is released. The front and back cameras are used to capture whatever you’re doing in that given moment. You can only post your BeReal picture once a day- if you delete it, the app gives you one final opportunity to upload your BeReal. There’s no filters, followers, or likes. You can see if someone screenshotted your post and how many times someone took their BeReal, highlighting how the app lives to its name. The social media app quickly gained traction in 2022 for its ability to capture authenticity in a way that other platforms hadn’t before.
The intended use of the app is to upload your BeReal right there and then when the notification goes off. Whether you’re in the shower, at a concert or hanging out with your current situationship, the point of the app is to be your most authentic self. BeReal’s popularity is credited to its casual approach to social media, a concept that many users have been yearning to return to.
BeReal’s growing success is reflected in its 67 million downloads worldwide. It has become so widely accepted that it’s even been used in an SNL skit which pokes fun at how people will drop everything because it’s time to “be real.”
Today, other social media platforms are implementing similar features to grab a glimpse of the excitement that’s surrounded by BeReal. Instagram is developing a feature known as IG Candid Challenges, which gives users two minutes to take a picture using the front and back camera, according to app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi. TikTok has already released its Now feature, which operates in the same way as BeReal. However, TikTok’s Now feature also allows you to record a ten second video using the front and back camera, a feature that differs from BeReal. Social media is starting to become more casual and BeReal is at the forefront of this effort. The pressure of trying to look perfect online can be tiring, and frankly, it’s becoming outdated. People are looking to make their experience on the internet exciting and effortless. The concept of infinite scrolling and seeing hundreds of people post content has made social media a draining, mundane experience. With BeReal, users are getting a taste of how platforms can be a fun place without the edits and the filters- it’s as raw as the digital world can get.