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What is BeReal?

There’s a new kid on the social media block and authenticity is the name of the game. BeReal is a new app that prides itself on its simplicity - just photos, no videos. No followers/followings, just friends. Post once a day, that’s it. Filters, messaging, engagement metrics, and the whole concept of “content creation” has been stripped away in favour of returning social media to something it’s arguably lost along the way - its social-ness

What is BeReal, and why has it become so popular?

BeReal has, for many, substituted as a “finsta” or private second Instagram account due to its focus on reality-based content. As the name suggests, the aim is to simply be real - once a day, at a different and random time every day, you’ll receive a notification to “be real”. Upon opening the notification, you have exactly 2 minutes on the clock to take your BeReal and post it. Your BeReal is a photo taken from your front camera and your back camera, about a second or so apart and is meant to capture your exact surroundings right that second. Exactly what you’re doing, exactly what you look like - you, just as you are, in all your “realness”. 

How does it work?

BeReal is all about placing the emphasis on honest content and you need to post to participate. That means that you won’t be able to see your friends’ BeReals until you post your own and you can’t see someone’s BeReals without being friends with them first. By removing the follower/following dynamic, BeReal dismantles the influencer ecosystem, meaning that if you want to see someone's content then they also get to see yours and vice versa. The idea is that you only have actual friends on your BeReal and don’t have to worry about sponsored or suggested posts clogging up your feed.

When it comes to engaging with posts, you can comment on them and tag friends, but ‘reacts’ are limited to something unique - RealMojis. RealMojis are selfies that you take of yourself, and assign to traditional emoji reactions like the laughter emoji or heart emoji. It’s another way for users to feel connected with their friends, seeing their real-life reactions to posts, instead of the generic smileys we use elsewhere on social media.

 Who is using BeReal?

Gen Z has taken up the mantle of BeReal with enthusiasm, with some millennials also jumping on the craze. The intimacy of having only your real-life friends and being able to see what their real-life days consist of is unique and somewhat nostalgic of older iterations of social media, when it was novel to share your life online and not so polished or performative.

How long do you think BeReal will stay intimate and “real” - do you think it will, or even should, be co-opted by businesses and brands?

Do you think you might try BeReal?

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