In an age where filters and curated lifestyles dominate the digital world, BeReal emerges as a breath of fresh air. This innovative app, birthed by French visionaries Alexis Barreyat and Kévin Perreau, is a delightful blend of spontaneity and authenticity, attracting over 20 million users globally. Instead of focusing on perfection, the app celebrates real, unfiltered moments in daily life, resonating with an eager audience that craves genuine, unscripted snapshots of life on social media, from sharing images of hobbies to a dinner date or vacation. But what sets BeReal apart from the crowd, and why are major platforms taking note?
How BeReal Stands Out from the Crowd
BeReal, an app developed by French innovators Alexis Barreyat and Kévin Perreau has gained popularity among over 20 million users worldwide. Its mechanics are simple and quite brilliant if you come to think of it. After you install it and create an account, you’ll receive a daily notification at an unpredictable time of day. After receiving the notification, users are asked to take a picture of their current surroundings and a selfie, captured simultaneously by both their phone’s front and rear cameras. The two photos are then shared with a selected group of connections and offer an authentic glimpse into their daily life. There’s no time for extensive filtering, capturing the perfect light, or making things look different than they really are.
Furthermore, as you take a selfie, the application reminds you to just smile and stay true to yourself. This is the ethos of BeReal, a project that focuses on authenticity and encourages users to stay clear of the fake epidemic spreading on all the other social networks.
To browse other users’ feeds, you must first post on your own account. Unlike traditional social media platforms, BeReal doesn’t prioritize likes, followers, filters, edits, or ads. Instead, it playfully tracks the number of attempts it takes for you to post a picture and highlights any delays beyond the standard two-minute window. If you’re consistently late, BeReal will send you a humorous message reminding you to be punctual.
Popularity is a Two-Way Street for the French Social Network
With its playful mechanics and the message to return to a healthy social media environment, the BeReal app became popular very quickly. It’s even more impressive that it managed to do so without selling any advertising. The new social platform saw its highest popularity in the US, accounting for 33% of its user base. While one might expect France to be next, it’s actually the UK that comes in second with 9% of users. France ranks third, comprising 6% of the users.
Besides a rapid growth in popularity and downloads, BeReal was awarded the iPhone Application of the Year title in November 2022. But all this buzz around the revolutionary platform also brought it to the attention of the biggest and most popular social networks in France.TikTok responded to the popularity of BeReal by introducing a new feature called TikTok Now.
This function encourages users to post spontaneous photos or brief videos daily using both their phone’s front and back cameras. It’s concerning that the major Chinese social platform didn’t even try to hide its imitation. For instance, while BeReal sends alerts stating “Time to BeReal” flanked by two warning emojis, TikTok’s notifications read “Time to Now” accompanied by two lightning bolt emojis. Meanwhile, Instagram is developing a comparable feature named IG Candid Challenges, and Snapchat has recently launched a dual-camera feature.
Unique Yet Familiar Features
BeReal primarily presents posts from your connections, but also offers a “Discovery” tab, letting users peruse recent public shares from individuals globally. In a direct comparison with TikTok’s “For You” page, the contrast is clear. While TikTok employs a specialized algorithm to serve user-specific content and maintain engagement, BeReal doesn’t focus on promoting trending or popular posts. A casual scroll reveals snapshots of everyday life in places like Norway, Croatia, and the Canary Islands.
Despite efforts by platforms like TikTok, Instagram, or Snapchat to emulate the media’s features, there’s an aspect they can’t duplicate. BeReal’s independence from the Big Tech consortium is its unique strength. For those wanting an escape from TikTok’s hooks, Facebook’s detached environment, and Instagram’s lofty ideals of perfection, BeReal emerges as a refreshing choice.
Even with giants like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok as competitors, BeReal holds its ground, offering a fresh take in the online space. While major social media platforms mimic the central feature that skyrocketed the French app’s fame, BeReal still stands a strong chance of enduring.