What Is the New “BeReal” Social Media App (and Do You Really Want to Be Real)?

New social media platforms are always emerging, but few have the staying power of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, Truth Social, WhatsApp, and Telegram. Every day seems to promise us some new platform, most of which we ignore or perhaps use for a short time before ultimately ignoring; others have their time to shine but eventually fizzle out. (Pour one each for Bebo, MySpace, Friendster, Google+ and Parler.)

However, one new app is getting some positive attention right now: BeReal has been steadily gaining downloads since December according to Apptopia and is Gen Z’s “new favorite app” according to Axios . Okay, but what the hell is it, and is it going to be your “new favorite app” anytime soon?

What is Bereal?

BeReal, according to its website , is “a new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily lives.” It officially launched in December 2019, but its growth has skyrocketed in recent months.

It works like this: every day at different times, users receive a push notification from the application. They have exactly two minutes to open BeReal and take a picture of what they are doing. The app activates the front and rear cameras on the user’s phone, so that the person actually takes two photos that are uploaded at the same time. The daily mail itself is, unfortunately, called “BeReal”.

You can scroll through BeReals posted by your friends to see their mostly mundane activities, which is very different from scrolling through Instagram where users tend to upload the very best photos of themselves in the coolest moments of their lives. .

I’m field testing BeReal for you (no thanks needed) and can share this, I’ve seen selfies at the gym, selfies at work, and selfies that show my friends are watching TV. So far, no one has done anything particularly cool, which is refreshing but could eventually take me away from the app. At the heart of this scrolling feed is the question: who cares?

A Few More Things to Know About BeReal

In addition to its dodgy two-minute message permission, there are three main features – or lack of them – to be aware of. First, BeReal doesn’t give you any photo editing options. You’re using a camera, you can’t access VR filters, and you can’t spice up a post in any way before or after it’s posted. If you look exhausted one day, that’s too damn bad. You must be real . However, you can retake a set of images before showing it to your friends (and, if you choose, to a wider audience via the Discover tab, but enabling this option is completely optional). However, keep in mind that the app tells your friends how many times you have retouched photos. Is this real enough for you?

The second notable feature of BeReal is that you can’t see your friends’ BeReal until you post your own. You cannot hide or sneak up and instead must actively participate. In fact, this may be the app’s biggest departure from Instagram, even if you don’t count the lack of photo editing and curation. Think about how many gram followers you have who never post and rarely interact with your content but somehow always watch your stories. At BeReal, spectators essentially have to pay to play.

Finally, you can react to friends’ BeReals with something called “RealMoji”. There is an option for a thumbs up, grinning face, shocked face, indifferent face, excited face and laughing-crying face. However, the point is that you need to take a photo of yourself with the appropriate facial expression in order to use it to reply to a message. You can also choose RealMoji in real time, which captures your facial expression at the moment. Similar to how you add an emoji to someone’s Facebook status, your RealMoji will appear at the bottom of your friend’s post, but again, it’s literally a small photo of your face.

What happens if you don’t post your BeReal within the allotted two-minute window?

If you get a daily alert that it’s time to publish your BeReal and don’t do it… nothing happens. There are no losing streaks, no penalties, no real noticeable events caused by your laziness or disinterest. However, your BeReal will note that you wrote “late”. It will even show you how late you are, whether it be by one minute or 17 hours.

You also receive push notifications when your friends share their BeReals. Those who do not post within the two-minute period are triggered by the push notifications themselves, which tell you that the person in question did not complete the requirements on time. It’s a little stressful.

According to Google, “What happens if you skip BeReal?” is one of the most frequently asked questions about the app. Others include “What is BeReal?” and “What’s the point of BeReal?” It’s a little sad, but their Google search probably led you to this explainer; while you’re here, that’s the answer to another question that gets asked the most on Google, which is whether BeReal is available on Android: yes, it is.

Who is this app for?

Axios says Generation Z is enjoying the app, and according to Apptopia, active users are up 315% year-to-date. In 2022, the app had a 65% all-time download rate, according to Apptopia, which the data company attributes to word of mouth on college campuses as well as press coverage.

Citing data.ai data, Axios also noted that BeReal had the fourth-highest number of downloads in the US, UK and France in the first quarter of this year behind Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest. Based on this data, Generation Z is “most likely” to use the app, but the “majority” of the user base is millennials. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, your parents haven’t stolen it from you yet, but we all know how it will inevitably end up, which is your precious mom spamming your comments and RealMojis.

Do you need BeReal on your phone?

Of course, why not? BeReal is the Wordle of social networking apps, as you really only need to interact with it for a short while once a day, so you don’t get drawn into it the same way you would, say, Twitter or Instagram. It’s also nice (for now) to see your friends in rags, which is a personal perk usually reserved for those who see each other from the comfort of their own home.

If it’s helpful, you can remove Dispo to make room for BeReal. This app, which also launched in December 2019, was also meant to give users the ability to share one real-time snapshot per day with friends, but unlike the App Store’s BeReal unicorn, it’s no longer cool.

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