by Kristi Rolf
You’re sitting in a crowded room when suddenly you hear vibrations and everyone is reaching for their phones. What the heck just happened? It could be an emergency weather alert. Or it could be the impact of the latest social media craze, an app called BeReal.
This app sends a notification to all users at one randomly selected time of day, prompting you to “be real” and take a picture to show you friends exactly what you’re doing at that moment. The app uses the front and back camera simultaneously so you capture a snapshot of both you and what you’re looking at.
It’s designed to subvert the deluge of highly staged, posed, and filtered posts that dominate platforms like Instagram. BeReal encourages candid posts by giving users a two-minute timer before the post is marked as “late” and displaying the number of times you retook your pictures to your friends. This way it’s easy to tell who is being real, and who is not.
Another unique feature of the app is that it does not create a profile full of pictures of each user. Instead, BeReal saves each image you take in an archive visible to only you. This is another way in which it discourages you from curating an image on the app. Your friends can only see your post until the notification tells you to take another the following day.
I downloaded BeReal in May and it quickly became my favorite form of social media because it’s refreshing to let go of the pressure to pose. I also love that I have four months of memories stored in my private profile so I can see what I was doing each day.
I love BeReal for promoting candid social media use while also indulging my nosy side. It’s fun to see what my friends are doing at a random moment of the day and makes me feel connected to people who I don’t get to see as often as I’d like.
Is this app just a fad? Who knows. Perhaps other platforms will start imitating BeReal until it loses its novelty. But for now, I love being real.