What is BeReal? The ‘anti-Instagram’ app Gen Z is obsessed with

·3-min read
 (BeReal)
(BeReal)

Ever since the “big three” social media networks (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) burst onto the scene – and onto our phones – over a decade ago, our lives have never been the same.

Instead of looking through a yearbook to remember a friend from high school, we simply stalk them on Facebook. Instead of scrapbooking our memories, we post pictures of our best lives to Instagram, and so on.

TikTok, the video sharing app beloved by Gen Z, has been the biggest disruptor in the world of social media in recent years, until now. Enter: BeReal.

Dubbed the “anti-Instagram” BeReal is a photo sharing app that shares many of the same qualities as Instagram but places an emphasis on users to live in the moment.

What is BeReal?

Currently ranked number one on the iOS App store in the social networking category, BeReal describes itself as the “simplest photo sharing app to share once a day your real life in photo with friends”.

It was started in 2020 by French cofounders Kevin Perreau and Alexis Barreyat and it was reportedly valued at $600m (£499m) in May this year.

As of May, it had 10.7 million global downloads, and saw a 157 per cent uptick in downloads from March to April this year.

How does BeReal work?

The way BeReal works is it prompts users to take one unedited photo a day at a random time which changes daily.

Users then have two minutes to take a photo and post it to the app before it’s marked as “late”.

The app uses both the front and back camera of the phone to create a collage and show followers exactly what is happening in that moment.

They can then see their friends’ posts from the day and react with emojis or comments.

What have social media users said about BeReal?

The #BeReal hashtag on TikTok has had over 524 million views, with videos showing everything from people trying to BeReal at a Harry Styles concert to jokes about making a BeReal while getting dumped.

On Twitter, one user said that celebrities need to get on BeReal. “Celebrities need to get onto BeReal. Nothing I’d love more to see what Rihanna is doing at 3.02pm on a Wednesday,” they wrote.

Another said: “BeReal is by far my favourite social media. Simple. Once a day. Big old nosey on all your mates. Great stuff.”

A third joked: “I love when BeReal time is at 10:30am on a Tuesday and everyone’s pic is just their dirty laptop screen ... absolutely miserable vibes.”

Others compared the BeReal craze to the Wordle craze that swept the globe earlier this year.

Journalist Ryan Broderick wrote: “BeReal is not an Instagram competitor. It’s actually part of the same trend as Wordle. The simultaneous push alert and time limit to post offers a brief shared online experience among a very fractured social web.”

Wordle took off at the beginning of the year as people tried to guess the five letter word of the day in six attempts or less. It spawned a whole host of other online games such as Worldle, Quordle, Nerdle, and Heardle.

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