BeReal: the social network that wants to change the world

Self-made screenshot. Image showing the main display of BeReal when a new post is shared.
Self-made picture of my BeReal account.

Lately, one app has been steadily occupying the first position by downloads in both IOS and Android, making headlines virtually in every newspaper and being the latest buzzword.

Can you recall?

It is called BeReal.

BeReal, which promotes itself as a spontaneous and low-fuss social media platform that offers users greater authenticity, is taking Gen Z by storm after topping the charts for the most downloaded free app on Apple’s App Store for three months in a row.

Let’s discover what’s about this latest trend together 👇🏻

Image by BeReal.In the ultra-saturated social media market, BeReal unique selling proposition seems to be authenticity. The social media landscape is witnessing a growing refusal to conform. More and more young people do not share the values of the old-guard social networks — and consequently are leaving the platforms to move elsewhere.

BeReal wants to incentivize authenticity and eliminate FOMO — that feeling of missing out on something. This gen Z social media app BeReal encourages its users to take a photo every day.

Users are randomly pinged once a day to take a photo of whatever they are doing, whether it be patting a sleepy cat or dancing at a music festival, within two minutes.

BeReal logo and slogan.
Image by BeReal.

It takes a simultaneous shot of whatever is in front of you as well as a selfie, with all posts made outside the two minutes window marked as late.

BeReal is the brainchild of Kévin Perreau and Alexis Barreyat. For work, Perreau has often been in contact with influencers and was baffled to see the multitude of perfect images in their feeds. So, after a short time, he introduced BeReal with a post on LinkedIn in these words:

“After being tired and annoyed with all the bullshit on social media, I decided to launch my own. No like, No followers, No ads, No filters, just what my Friends are doing, in the most authentic way possible.”

Labeled as the anti-Instagram, BeReal is spreading like wildfire on college campuses thanks to its college ambassadors and high school reps.

Furthermore, BeReal is already a success — it has been the most downloaded social media app for iPhone during 2022. Its growth has been exponential ever since it was first launched in 2020, as it can be observed in the following chart.

BeReal monthly growth of daily active users.
Image by OnlineOptimism

According to research from Sensor Tower, BeReal is demonstrating significant traction across some metrics and has already topped 20 million daily active users — making it one of the most successful social network apps ever.

However, how come this huge success?

The real key to BeReal’s success seems to rely on the unique — and refreshing — features that make it completely different from the social media norm.

BeReal’s defining feature is the synchronized random notification to all its users. Users have described how it comes at the most unexpected moments of their day.

BeReal pop-up random notification.
Image by BeReal.

BeReal simultaneously activates the front and back camera to take a photo. You take a selfie and a picture of your surroundings simultaneously.

BeReal’s interface to take a dual picture and post it.
Image by BeReal.

Additionally, it needs to be done in less than 2 minutes. Its founders describe the short window users have to post as a refreshing feature that allows young people to share content without spending hours addicted to the platform.

BeReal doesn’t have the follower concept — unlike any other social media app. You can add as many friends as you like, but they need to post a BeReal moment to view your post — and you need to do so too.

BeReal allows you to see all your past posts contained in a single calendar view called Memories. Even though these past posts are removed from the timeline when a new BeReal moment is captured, you can always check your historic posts via Memories.

BeReal Memories interface to see historic posts.
Image by BeReal.

BeReal allows users to respond to other friends’ posts. However, it further enhances this concept with RealMojis. Instead of using class reaction buttons — or icons — users can directly use their face.

Image by BeReal.

The app’s main features can be simplified into Authenticity. While other social networks like Instagram or TikTok incentivize people to make their lives as glamorous as possible, BeReal pushes them to share moments that users would not usually share. Typically, mundane and far from exceptional moments –photos at work, school, on the road, or on the couch.

This is why BeReal’s description on the App store reads: BeReal won’t make you famous, if you want to become an influencer you can stay on TikTok and Instagram.

BeReal wants to be the place for users who want to find authenticity on its screens and wants to become a healthier and less trapping place than any other social media out there.

The main question now is… Is BeReal a passing phase or a trend that’s here to stay? For now, it has managed to grow at an unprecedent speed — and has already achieved huge milestones.

However, there are no answers yet and only sustained interest in the app will reveal them in time.

Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments! ✨

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