Will BeReal Last?


BeReal is everyone’s favorite social media platform right now, but will it remain popular? Graphic by D. Khan.

BeReal was invented in 2020 by developer Alexis Barreyat. The app has exploded in popularity among teenagers recently, as of this weekend it was #1 in the App Store category of social networking with a 4.8 star rating. BeReal sells itself as “not another social network”.

What makes it different in the social networking world of apps? BeReal simultaneously asks its roughly 2.5 million daily users to take a picture at a random time during the day. Users have 2 minutes to capture and share an image. It takes a picture with both the front and back-facing cameras, and no editing or filters are allowed. If you don’t post your picture when it tells you “Time to BeReal,” the app tells everyone you posted late. Additionally, you can only see your friend’s posts once you post your own BeReal.

Will BeReal still be relevant in a year? Obviously, no one knows the answer to that. There are definitely good things about BeReal, but there are definite drawbacks to the app and the way it works. I like that it is an unfiltered look at your friends’ lives. There are no ads, algorithms, or influencers; you see your friends and their real lives every day. The interface is clean and easy to use. One of the biggest drawbacks of the app is the pressure to post when it tells you it is “Time to BeReal”. It was easier to post during the summer when there weren’t as many commitments, but now that school is back in session it is tough to post on time each day. It tells everyone when you miss the 2-minute window. To be a little overly dramatic, it’s like a digital mark of shame. Users can see how many retakes you take to get your unfiltered “real” moment, which kind of takes away from the random spontaneity of the app. I have noticed a drop-off in use among my friends. They are either not posting at all or posting late. 

It is a fun and interesting twist on social networking and seems to be moving the world of social networking in the right direction, away from overly filtered and curated content so popular on Instagram and TikTok. This is probably why Instagram and TikTok are working furiously to copy some of BeReal’s key elements–Instagram is testing a new dual camera mode, and TikTok released TikTok Now this weekend which features the dual camera. According to TikTok’s statement, “You’ll receive a daily prompt to capture a 10-second video or static photo to easily share what you’re up to.”

It will be interesting to see where BeReal stands in a year, especially now that other apps are rolling out similar features. Instagram and TikTok might make BeReal obsolete by that time. If you can get everything from one of your favorite social networking apps, it is more challenging for other apps to compete for your time.