A French company media platform launched by Alexis Barreyat in 2020, Be real recently topped the free download charts on iOS, surpassing ICT Tac. The app first gained popularity overseas, then attracted dedicated posters on US college campuses. The Americans are now his main user base. The recent increase in BeReal downloads can be partially attributed to a series of Viral TikToks referring to social media app.
BeReal sends users a prompt at a random time each day, asking them to take a photo and send it to their friends. You only have two minutes to respond and a collage of two images is captured from your front and back cameras.
The pristine and curated Instagram aesthetic has been declared dead multiple times, and BeReal is capitalizing on an ongoing quest for authenticity on social media, whatever that means. The company has received millions of dollars from investors like Andreessen Horowitza top Silicon Valley player that has been throwing money at Clubhouse, OpenSea, and Substack in recent years.
In February, Harvard student Mariah Norman said photo dumps on Instagram, an outdated company so mainstream that the president does. She was wowed by the unfiltered stream on BeReal and wrote, “Because you don’t have time to find the perfect pose or background, the content you engage with on the app is delightfully banal but extraordinarily authentic and creative.” Norman also mentioned that BeReal sponsored a party with free admission for Harvard students who interacted with the app.
Jules Kourelakos, student at Duke University, underline that even though BeReal appears to perform worse than other social media options, users still capture a posed version of themselves. Although searching for authenticity online can be fruitless, the app is well-designed and easy to pick up.
You need an account to get started on BeReal, which is available for iPhone and Android. Once you’ve downloaded the app, it will request access to your contacts to connect with friends who may already be using the service (you can decline, if you wish). Unless your Rolodex is full of trend setters, many of your friends may not be using the platform yet. The app will ask for your name, birthday, and phone number. It is crucial to leave urgent notifications enabled if you aim to post within two minutes daily.
When creating an account, BeReal encourages new users to take their first message right away. Your daily post is the toll to view posts from friends on the discovery feed. Don’t want to post? Well, you’ll have to spend some time on a different app because everyone’s photos will be inaccessible on BeReal until you make a contribution for the day. Users are allowed to share timestamped photos after the window has passed, but all images are treated as overdue assignments with a “15 minutes late” disclaimer displayed at the top.
To create a post, the app must have access to your smartphone’s cameras. After flipping the camera to view both sides with the reverse button and activating the flash, if necessary, by tapping the lightning bolt, tap the circle at the bottom middle of the screen to capture your photos. Even for late BeReals, there’s a two-minute timer on screen that counts down as you take (or retake) photos.