You have heard of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Tiktok. Now enters the next major bombshell, BeReal. The most downloaded app on the app store over the past month, as of September 2022, BeReal is changing the future of social media. Its authentic, unfiltered and intimate experience gives it the potential to dominate the social media market for gen Z.
What is BeReal? How BeReal works?
⚠️ Time to BeReal. ⚠️- The notification that starts everything. At random times of the day, the notification is sent out to all users. People have two minutes to take a picture of what they are doing at that moment, simultaneously using the front and back lens. When the user misses the notification, they cannot view their friends’ BeReals until they post one themselves of what they are doing when they open the app. Once posted, users can comment on BeReals and react using a ‘RealMoji’, where other users can can a tiny picture using the front lens depicting their reaction to the BeReal.
Why BeReal is good – What is the appeal of BeReal?
The main appeal of BeReal is in its name; it forces users to ‘be real’, which is a fresh change of pace for social media. In a world that sets unrealistic beauty and body standards, perpetuated even further on social media, BeReal captures a more honest representation of one’s appearance. Many image-central social media apps, such as instagram, are able to be edited and manipulated. Obviously, such standards can have incredibly detrimental mental health effects on the viewers of this type of media, even leading to issues such as eating disorders and body dysmorphia. BeReal forces the user to take the image, without any editing and filtering, and post it for all their friends to see. Often, these images can be unflattering or highlight potential insecurities that no one would unveil on apps such as instagram. This authentic and intimate experience helps dismantle such toxic beauty standards, which makes the app all the more enjoyable.
The app does an amazing job at deconstructing another idea that has been pushed for over a decade on social media – the need to romanticise how dramatic and eventful our lives are. In a similar way that BeReal displays a candid version of our appearance, it exhibits a more faithful representation of our lives. Many BeReal posts consist of relatable, monotonous, day-to-day activities that do not warrant a post on any other social media app. On BeReal, the intrigue is less about the eventful peaks of your life and more about what you are doing, specifically, at that time. As such, Bereal equalises the mundane moments to the extravagant and memorable ones.
Furthermore, BeReal forcing users to mutually add each other restricts it to a more genuine social experience rather than a dopamine chase. As it states on the app store “BeReal won’t make you famous. If you want to become an influencer you can stay on TikTok and Instagram” and “BeReal doesn’t care if you have millions of followers or if you’re verified on other platforms”. The app has intentionally made it a more guarded and private app compared to other social media apps. It capitalises on the original motive for many people who initially download the app; the desire to stay connected with valued friends. There is a level of convenience with knowing what is going on in people’s lives without having to directly ask or reach out. This was the appeal of apps such as instagram, but with it leaning towards the creative and performative part of social media, there is a niche in the market for BeReal.
BeReal also capitalises on the growing concerns with instagram that the app is overly saturated with sponsored posts, advertisements and corporate marketing. Unlike other social media apps, BeReal has no advertising or marketing of any kind. As a result, scrolling through BeReal feels more about socialising and less about being a consumer. By forcing people to mutually add each other, people are not able to mindlessly follow influencers, meaning that sponsored posts won’t reach a worthwhile audience. It is also hard to coordinate a sponsored post in two minutes, as it does not allow for much creative display. As a result, BeReal is more content-filled, with the content being more desirable.
Why BeReal is bad – Why doesn’t BeReal work?
In its current form, BeReal is far from perfect. The main issue with the app currently is that it can be very buggy. When attempting to take the BeReal and and post it, the app can take beyond a minute to load. This issue is partially due to the app design; not many servers can handle all of their users simultaneously being on the app all at once, hence the speed time may suffer. It is also due to the fact the app is still in its early stages and hasn’t developed the technology to host all of its users at once yet.
Another issue with the app is the discovery page. The discovery tab is a place where you endlessly scroll through random people’s BeReals from all over the world. The app has stated that their platform is not designed for influencers, therefore the discovery tab serves no purpose. The discovery page is unnecessary and does not provide any worthwhile content to the user. Most social media apps, such as instagram and tiktok, have endless scrolling mediums to keep people on their app as it allows them to show more advertising and get more data on their users. As BeReal does not have advertising on the app, there is not great use for an endless scrolling medium. Part of the appeal for BeReal is that the app goes off once and it doesn’t consume much time. By having this feature, it goes against part of the draw to the app. As such, the discovery feature serves no real purpose and is not necessary.
Verdict- Will BeReal last?
BeReal is not without its flaws. However, BeReal signals a new era of social media. Gen Z seems to be moving away from persona moulding social media and is pushing towards real, authentic depictions of life. BeReal accentuates many of the great features from other platforms while ensuring friends and family are staying connected in the most honest ways possible. BeReal is an app that will dominate social media for years to come and is certainly worth the download.
Jesse is a student at the University of Melbourne, studying a Bachelor of Commerce. Majoring in economics and marketing, Jesse has a specific interest in both digital marketing and public policy. He is looking to use his knowledge and insight to help spread understanding on these topics. You can find more of Jesse on Instagram and Linkedin.