BeReal is the shot of reality we needed from social media.
What is BeReal?
Released in 2020 by French developer Alexis Barreyat, BeReal shot to fame in mid-2022 after being featured in several TikTok videos. The concept is simple – once a day, the app sends out a notification to everyone, at the same time, to take a photo of what they are doing in that moment.
It captures an image with both the front- and rear-facing camera. It then posts the image to an Instagram-like feed along with all of the user’s friends. Of course, people can re-take the BeReal, or post late if they are away from their phone, but what’s the fun in that?
Why is BeReal unique?
It has been compared to Wordle, with the once-a-day use opposing social media addiction and contradicting Facebook & co’s mission of maximum screen time. This minimal, yet daily usage, keeps just enough engagement. As with most social media, the more traction it gains, the more friends join the app, and the more entertainment everyone gets.
As the name suggests, BeReal also injects a shot of reality into social media, by omitting filters and editing.
1. It highlights what we do the most
With the app popping up at random times throughout the waking day, it is not guaranteed to catch you doing something fun. In fact, it seems to always ping the moment I sit down on the couch or turn the TV on. This random sample of moments, over time, shows what we actually spend most of our time doing.
For example, you might be by the beach for 2 hours on a morning, but spend 6 hours on a video game, computer, or phone in your bedroom. That’s why it always feels like it’s photographing the most mundane parts of your day, because that’s what you spend most of your time doing.
2. It makes us want to get out more
For fear of being caught in bed at lunch time with nothing interesting to show, BeReal motivates us to get out more. To be caught in more interesting places, doing more interesting activities.
3. It forces some creativity
When BeReal catches us at home, doing nothing, it at least encourages users to get creative with their shots. While most of us aren’t accomplished photographers, when the app pops up while making a cup of tea, it encourages us to find an interesting angle. Capturing a photo of everyday life from a different perspective, getting creative with framing, or even making it funny, makes us see more joy in the small parts of daily life.
In a world of fake lives online, the developer found a gap in the market for authentic social media. Whether it sticks around, abandons its mission, or fades away, BeReal has been a refreshing, positive influence.