Rebecca Richard shares her view on the most recent app to crash (and crash, and crash) the party.
It’s 2.47pm on a typical Tuesday and I, like most other BeReal users at this exact moment, am watching the endless spinning circle on my latest post as it competes for upload with the millions of other users across the platform.
With the intention of encouraging more “unfiltered” posting, BeReal is a social media app which sends out a notification at random once a day, and you are supposed to take a photo of yourself and your surroundings straight away, no matter how exciting or menial your current position is, and share it with your contacts.
Whether you’re a hater who thinks BeReal is simply reborn Snapchat “streaks” from our youth, or a lover who enjoys it as a live version of the “1 Second Every Day” app, BeReal’s popularity has skyrocketed, amassing over ten million users in the last year. With its growing user base, the question arises of how “real” the app truly is, whether it’s just another platform pressuring us to show how fun and busy we are, or “should” be, every single day.
Reminiscent of the Instagram phenomenon the “photo dump”, BeReal definitely runs the risk of being an illusion of authenticity. I reckon that many a “photo dump”, or BeReal post, is not always as carefree as the user truly wants their audience to think.
However, I do love that BeReal isn’t influencer heavy. There is a discovery page, so perhaps the potential for influencer content remains but personally, I’ve never used it. There are no ads (yet) and no in-app subscriptions, so it already feels markedly different from having TikTok Shop livestreams forced down our throats. I love seeing what my friends are doing on a normal evening, as opposed to carefully curated Instagram stories which push influencer ads towards us before the people we actually know in real life.
BeReal is fun if you take it for what it is. No social media app is one hundred percent “real” and it’s up to us to remember that. I’m sure we’ve all been a little guilty of dropping our daily BeReals at a more “convenient” time. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t held off on the odd post until I just so happened to be sipping on an Aperol spritz in a bar with friends later that day. But compared to the toxicity and, sometimes, professionalism of Twitter, or unrealistic, filtered Instagram posts, where new algorithms mean we don’t actually see our friends’ posts anymore, BeReal can be a nice dose of reality. My feed tends to be a nice reminder that we’re all spending our days tearing our hair out in the library, in bed or in Lidl.
And if we’re being honest, I am a BeReal lover because I am incredibly nosy. If you post your laptop screen, I will read it. Sharing your dinner in front of you? I am taking inspiration. In the pub? I am intrigued by your drinks order.
Given that we’re notified when people are hours late to post and we can see the number of photo retakes, and there are no options for filters or editing, there are far worse apps to use in terms of social pressure and unrealistic images. No matter what your post is, if you’re in bed, studying hard or stacking cups in Beer Bar, please drop the post because you’ll get a react from me.