What is the social media app ‘BeReal” and why is it surging in popularity?

B.R. Shenoy

Young Woman Using Smart Phone PhotoPhoto by Matthew Henry from Burst
“It’s like humane tech. [BeReal] attempts to free us from what we’re trying to get away from, yet they still are able to hook in many ways. I think it’s refreshing and ironic,” said Matt Klein, a cultural theorist and brand consultant, per Polygon.

BeReal, a photo-sharing app founded by former GoPro employee Alexis Barreyat in January 2020, is making waves among members of Generation Z.

BeReal gained attention early in the year, with outlets such as BuzzFeed and NPR covering the popular Gen Z app.

According to the trending news website Social Media Today, downloads of the app have increased by 315% since the beginning of the year, and it now ranks fourth in the list of most downloaded social media apps, trailing Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

Per SensorTower, another app tracking company, BeReal has been one of the top ten most downloaded free social networking apps for iPhones almost daily since April 1.

The Wall Street Journal reports the French app is marketed as an "authentic, unfiltered alternative to the curated posts on Instagram and TikTok."

Wired's service writer Reece Rogers described the app as "well-designed and easy to pick up."

Per Today:

“Part of the app’s appeal is in its fleetingness. There's no option to scroll through feeds endlessly, like with Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. Further, BeReal posts aren’t saved to a person’s profile, meaning you can't scan months of past content.”

Here is an excerpt from Social:

"So, here's how it works. You get a notification at a random time each day, giving you two minutes to take a photo of whatever you're doing at that moment. Your friends will also get notified that you are about to post within 2 minutes. The post will be a two-image collage that is taken simultaneously from the front and back cameras on your phone, and there are no filters on the app that you can use."

There is also no retouching. Retakes are permitted, but everyone can see that you did so.

Users can also view a map to find other publicly posted BeReals. But be careful: whenever you view another person's photo, you must post your own.

The one post per day can be shared globally or only with friends.

The app is available for both iPhones and Androids.

While it's impossible to predict how big BeReal will become or even how long it will last, for the time being, it's generating genuine excitement among TikTokers, Twitter addicts, and college students.

Will you join in on the fun? Let us know in the comments.

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