BeReal
Original author(s)Alexis Barreyat, Kévin Perreau[1][2]
Initial release2020
Stable release(s)
iOS1.8.1 / July 26, 2023; 5 months ago (2023-07-26)
Android1.7.0 / July 22, 2023; 5 months ago (2023-07-22)
Written inSwift (iOS), Kotlin (Android)[3]
PlatformiOS 14 or later
Android[4]
Available in13 languages[5]
List of languages
English, Dutch, French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Turkish
Websitebereal.com

BeReal (stylized as BeReal.) is a French social media app released in 2020,[6] developed by Alexis Barreyat and Kévin Perreau. Its main feature is a daily notification that encourages users to share a photo of themselves and their immediate surroundings given a randomly selected two-minute window every day. Critics noted its emphasis on authenticity, which some felt crossed the line into the mundane.[7] The name "BeReal" is a pun. Its primary reference relates to its focus on users uploading unpolished photos, while also being a pun of the term b-reel.[6]

According to the app's description on Apple's App Store, BeReal encourages its users to "show their friends who they really are, for once," by removing filters and opportunities to stage or edit photos.[8]

After a couple of years of relative obscurity, it rapidly gained popularity in early and mid-2022, before experiencing a decrease in use in 2023.

History

The app was developed by Alexis Barreyat, a former employee of GoPro in Munich, Germany, and Kévin Perreau, a graduate from 42 in Paris.[1][2][7] Initially released in 2020, it first gained widespread popularity in early 2022.[7][9] It first spread widely on college campuses, partially due to a paid ambassador program.[10][11] In late August 2022, the application had over 10 million active daily users and 21.6 million active monthly users.[12][13] As of February 2023, the app has grown to 13 million active daily users and 47.8 million active monthly users.[14]

In June 2021, BeReal received a $30 million funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz and Accel.[10][15] In May 2022, BeReal secured $85 million in a funding round led by Yuri Milner's DST Global, increasing its valuation to about $600 million.[15][16]

On July 25, 2022, BeReal topped Apple's free app list in the iOS App Store, and remained until September 2022.[17] BeReal also received Apple's iPhone App of the Year in 2022.[18]

By late spring 2023, the app's momentum was waning, as daily users dropped to about 6 million, from 15 million in October 2022.[19]

Features

Once per day, BeReal simultaneously notifies all users that a two-minute window to post is open. It asks users to create a post (known eponymously as a "BeReal"[20]) which, using mandatory simultaneous photos from both the front and back cameras, provides a visual depiction of what they are doing at that moment, with an option to caption their post. The given window varies from day to day, and is not known to users before the notification is received.[21]

Once the daily notification is sent, users lose the ability to see others' BeReals from the previous day. Furthermore, users cannot see any of the current day's BeReals until they upload their own. While on-time BeReals show the time it was uploaded, late BeReals uploaded after the two-minute window only show how late the poster is. Other users can also see how many attempts the poster took to take the BeReal, as well as their location when the BeReal was taken. Users only get one chance to delete their BeReal and post another one, and they used to not be able to post more than one at any time.[22] However, in 2023, a feature was added that allowed users to post up to two extra BeReals on days when they posted their first BeReal within the 2-minute window. For now, this BonusBeReal feature is only available in some regions.[1] BeReal also features a 'Discovery' section,[23] wherein users are given the option to share to a much wider, public audience. This feature, however, is limited, as users are not able to interact with the posts through commenting—unlike the 'My Friends' feature.

The app does not have an explicit image moderation process, and thus does not restrict the users from posting inappropriate photos.[24] However, there is a report function that allows users to report a photo or another user if they are posting inappropriate content.[25]

Comparison to other platforms

Because of its daily cycle of engagement, it has been compared to Wordle, which gained popularity earlier in 2022.[26] It also supports a platform similar to Snapchat with a theme of impermanence and brevity.

BeReal has been described as designed to compete with Instagram while simultaneously de-emphasising social media addiction and overuse.[7][27] The app does not allow any photo filters or other editing, and has no advertising or follower counts. Marketing material from the company warned that the app "can be addictive" but also stated that "BeReal won't make you famous."[16] Jacob Arnott, managing director of social agency We the People, describes BeReal as "an anti-Instagram" due to its raw and unedited nature.[28]

The app's foundation on friends rather than followers resembles Facebook's platform of adding friends, which comprise the content of a user's feed. This also resembles Instagram's 'close friends' story feature.[29] Further, rather than 'liking' posts, BeReal uses 'RealMoji's' which involves taking a photo to interact with other posts.[29]

With the popularity of BeReal, other providers have launched similar features. In July 2022 Instagram launched a "Dual Camera" feature similar to BeReal, and in August 2022 began testing a similar feature called "IG Candid Challenges" where users are prompted to post once a day within two minutes. As of September 2022, TikTok has also launched a feature called TikTok Now, following the same concept.[30]

In December 2022, similar to Spotify's "Wrapped," BeReal launched a feature involving a video of a compilation of users' BeReal posts of 2022.[31]

The app also is not monetized through advertising, unlike many other social media platforms, leading to inquiry on how the app will be funded. There is speculation on the app eventually requiring subscription, but the history of that path has not been particularly successful with other apps, such as "Blue", Twitter's offering towards a subscription product.[32]

User characteristics

BeReal is considered to be targeted towards Generation Z users, and attempts to minimize "social media fatigue", a feeling of numbness and disconnection from reality caused by constant interaction with an idealized version of others.[33][34][35] This is a "core generational value" that this demographic holds compared to Millennials.[36] Further, BeReal's users have been particularly strong across universities and university-aged students, and the majority of users are in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany.[37][38] In 2022, the majority of users were female, with 43.2% of users falling within the age range of 16 to 25 and 55.1% of users being 26 to 44 years old.[38]

Reception

Jason Koebler, a writer for Vice, wrote that in contrast to Instagram, which presents an unattainable view of people's lives, BeReal instead "makes everyone look extremely boring."[39] Niklas Myhr, a professor of social media at Chapman University, argued that depth of engagement may determine whether the app is a passing trend or has "staying power." Kelsey Weekman, a reporter for BuzzFeed News, noted that the app's unwillingness to "glamorise the banality of life" made it feel "humbling" in its emphasis on authenticity.[26] Niloufar Haidari for The Guardian comments similarly that where the app succeeds in being "drab" in perhaps a positive way, it fails in potentially "un-inspiring" users.[40] Likewise, Dr. Brad Ridout, a behavioral psychologist at the University of Sydney, emphasizes that the "boring" experience is what the creators are targeting for the app and, in response to Instagram's platform of flawlessness, that "perfection is the enemy of happiness".[37]

Criticisms

Some people regularly post after the two-minute notification expires, leading to some criticism of the app, as the ability to post late undermines its aims of authenticity.[41] In addition, BeReal's daily two-minute window has been argued to contribute to social media fatigue and a need for self-exposure, as well as constant access to phones.[34][35]

Business use

As with many other social medias, the popularity of BeReal has led to impacts in the workplace. Because of BeReal's foundation of reaching a few segments without going viral, its role in the workplace differs from that of Instagram or TikTok as companies are less likely to use BeReal successfully as a promotional tool. However, employees' BeReal posts could be beneficial for marketing, and companies can benefit as it appeals to millennials and Generation Z.

BeReal's platform also leads to privacy and confidentiality concerns. Employees may share confidential material or potentially harm their employer's reputation by their posts.[42]

As for partnering with other companies, BeReal posted a message geared towards the press stating that "working with brands is not [their] priority" and that their purpose is to connect users rather than monetize the app.[43]

References

  1. ^ a b "Real life, right now -- photo app claims to capture authenticity". France 24. 7 September 2022. Archived from the original on 8 September 2022. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  2. ^ a b "What is BeReal? The 'anti-Instagram' app Gen Z is obsessed with". finance.yahoo.com. Archived from the original on 5 September 2022. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  3. ^ "BeReal". boards.eu.greenhouse.io. Archived from the original on 10 August 2022. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
  4. ^ Brown, Dalvin; James, Cordilla (20 April 2022). "Why BeReal, a Social-Media App With No Photo Filters, Is Attracting Gen Z". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Archived from the original on 20 April 2022. Retrieved 21 April 2022.
  5. ^ "BeReal. Your friends for real". App Store.
  6. ^ a b "INSTAGRAM'S INTENTIONALLY UGLY STEP-SISTER: BEREAL". Culted. 9 May 2022. Archived from the original on 4 November 2022. Retrieved 4 November 2022.
  7. ^ a b c d Davis, Wynne (16 April 2022). "BeReal is Gen Z's new favorite social media app. Here's how it works". NPR. Archived from the original on 16 April 2022. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  8. ^ Cheong, Charissa. "I tried BeReal, the buzzy photo-sharing app trying to stop people using filters, and after 7 days I was hooked". Insider. Archived from the original on 11 January 2023. Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  9. ^ Fischer, Sara (11 April 2022). "Gen Z's new favorite app is growing like crazy". Axios. Archived from the original on 12 April 2022. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  10. ^ a b Goggin, Ben (21 April 2022). "What is BeReal? The new 'authentic' app taking hold across college campuses". NBC News. Archived from the original on 21 April 2022. Retrieved 21 April 2022.
  11. ^ Karimi, Faith (21 April 2022). "This social app prohibits edited photos to encourage users to be more authentic. It's growing fast". CNN. Archived from the original on 21 April 2022. Retrieved 21 April 2022.
  12. ^ "BeReal Rises to 10 Million Daily Active Users". Social Media Today. Archived from the original on 24 August 2022. Retrieved 25 August 2022.
  13. ^ "BeReal Revenue and Usage Statistics (2022)". 2 August 2022. Archived from the original on 29 September 2022. Retrieved 29 September 2022.
  14. ^ Curry, David (14 February 2023). "BeReal Revenue and Usage Statistics (2023)". Business of Apps.
  15. ^ a b "BeReal Won't Save Us From Social Media—Yet". Time. Archived from the original on 21 August 2022. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  16. ^ a b Newton, Casey (20 July 2022). "Why BeReal is breaking out". The Verge. Archived from the original on 21 July 2022. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  17. ^ Sklencar, Abby (1 March 2023). "20 BEREAL STATS YOU NEED TO KNOW (UPDATED MARCH 1ST, 2023)". Online Optimism.
  18. ^ "App Store Awards celebrate the best apps and games of 2022". Apple Newsroom. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  19. ^ Holtermann, Callie (13 April 2023). "They're Over Being Real". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 13 April 2023.
  20. ^ "FAQ BeReal English". Archived from the original on 10 August 2022. Retrieved 9 August 2022. "How do I delete my BeReal?"..."until you post your own BeReal"..."Just before posting your BeReal" (several references to a 'post' being a "BeReal")
  21. ^ Rogers, Reece. "BeReal Basics: How to Use the 'Unfiltered' Social Media App". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Archived from the original on 16 April 2022. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  22. ^ Mamona, Sheilla (14 April 2022). "The BeReal App Could End Your Obsession With Social Media Perfection". Teen Vogue. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on 13 April 2022. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  23. ^ "The BeReal App Wants You To Ditch Filters & Snap Pics On-Demand — Here's How It Works". Elite Daily. Archived from the original on 25 August 2022. Retrieved 25 August 2022.
  24. ^ Perreau, Kevin. "BeReal. Privacy Policy". bere.al. Archived from the original on 24 August 2022. Retrieved 24 August 2022.
  25. ^ Perreau, Kevin. "BeReal. Terms". bere.al. Archived from the original on 24 August 2022. Retrieved 24 August 2022.
  26. ^ a b Weekman, Kelsey (12 April 2022). "BeReal Made Me Realize All My Friends Are Hanging Out Without Me". BuzzFeed News. Archived from the original on 21 April 2022. Retrieved 21 April 2022.
  27. ^ Mamona, Sheilla (14 April 2022). "The BeReal App Could End Your Obsession With Social Media Perfection". Teen Vogue. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on 13 April 2022. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  28. ^ Angus Dalton. "Rise of This Social Media App Just Has to BeReal." Age, The (Melbourne), 18 Aug. 2022, pp. 15 - 14.
  29. ^ a b Isobel van Dyke. "'nofilter — Why Gen Z Loves BeReal." Evening Standard, 7 Jul. 2022, p. 17.
  30. ^ Bandara, Pesala (29 July 2022). "Instagram Launches New 'Dual' Camera Feature, Similar to BeReal". PetaPixel. Archived from the original on 24 August 2022. Retrieved 24 August 2022.
  31. ^ Ginter, Carol (11 August 2023). "What Is BeReal and How Does It Work? I Tried It for 7 Days to Find Out". Carol Ginter (in Spanish). Retrieved 17 August 2023.
  32. ^ Bonyhady, Nick (22 August 2022). "BeReal, it Will Take More Than Authenticity". Age, The (Melbourne). pp. 26–27.
  33. ^ Agarwal, Dr Pragya. "5 Ways To Overcome Online Social Media Fatigue For Mental Well-Being". Forbes. Archived from the original on 9 December 2022. Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  34. ^ a b Duffy, Brooke Erin. "BeReal and the Doomed Quest for Online Authenticity". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Archived from the original on 5 December 2022. Retrieved 5 December 2022.
  35. ^ a b "BeReal and the Fantasy of an Authentic Online Life". The New Yorker. 13 May 2022. Archived from the original on 9 December 2022. Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  36. ^ Boffone, Trevor (1 September 2022). "Do You Want to Make a TikTok? Is It Time to BeReal?: Gen Z, Social Media, and Digital Literacies". Journal of Language and Literacy Education / Ankara Universitesi SBF Dergisi. 18 (2): 1–7.
  37. ^ a b Anthony Segaert. "Will Its Natural Look Make 'boring' BeReal a Big Deal?." Sydney Morning Herald, The, 25 Apr. 2022, pp. 2 - 1.
  38. ^ a b Curry, David (14 February 2023). "BeReal Revenue and Usage Statistics (2023)". Business of Apps.
  39. ^ Koebler, Jason (11 April 2022). "BeReal Isn't Real and Makes Everyone Look Extremely Boring". www.vice.com. Archived from the original on 16 April 2022. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  40. ^ Haidari, Niloufar (6 May 2022). "I tried BeReal, the 'authentic Instagram' app – would it show the real me?". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  41. ^ Chin, Monica (20 August 2022). "Stop using BeReal like Instagram". The Verge. Archived from the original on 24 August 2022. Retrieved 24 August 2022.
  42. ^ Ghadoushi, Leora, et al. "Over-Sharing In the Workplace? Why Your Company May Need a TikTok and BeReal Policy." Computer & Internet Lawyer, vol. 40, no. 2, 1 Feb. 2023, pp. 3 - 5.
  43. ^ Perreau, Kevin. "BeReal. Your Friends for Real". bere.al. Retrieved 22 March 2023.