May 16, 2022

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BeReal: This social app blocks edited photos to encourage users to be more real

BeReal: This social app blocks edited photos to encourage users to be more real


Go fast on Facebook and Instagram.

There is a newer photo sharing app – which is not like other social media platforms.

The app is called be realistic. And while you may not have heard of it, plenty of young people have signed up for it. Its active monthly users are up more than 315% this year, according to Data from Apptopia, which tracks and analyzes performance.

We joined the app and talked to users to get a deeper understanding of how BeReal works and what you need to know about it.

BeReal is a social media app that encourages users to share a part of their lives in real time. It was launched in early 2020 by a businessman in France but the majority of its users – at least 65% Sign up for this calendar year.

As its name suggests, the focus is on authenticity. Users are invited once a day to share a picture of what they’re doing at that moment, giving friends and others a clear glimpse into their lives.

It contains no filters and no edit buttons. So if your hair is a mess in that moment and your perspective is a rainy parking lot, this is what people will see.

The result is a far cry from the polished and overly formatted images that are popular on other social media platforms.

The concept of BeReal is simple. Once you download the app, you will receive a notification once a day that it is “BeReal” time. This means you have two minutes to take and post a picture of what you’re doing, no matter how casual.

There is no set time – the notification comes at random times of the day – which adds to the mystery of the app.

“Push notifications are sent around the world simultaneously and at different times every day,” the company said in a statement. “It’s a secret how we choose the time each day, it’s not random.”

This means that a potential window in your life can open at any time. When that happens, the app invites you to take a picture of what you’re going to do at that moment. It takes a double photo – a selfie and one that shows what’s in front of you. (be realistic Video is not allowed distance.)

The result is a social feed filled with unedited photos of people doing mostly not-so-glamorous things — lounging in their pajamas, doing homework, riding the bus, cooking their dinner in the microwave.

With just one post per day, there’s no clutter of friends’ photos to scroll through thoughtlessly. You can only see friends’ posts if you share a photo, which eliminates passers-by. Some people turn off their sites for privacy reasons, since the app works in real time.

Ben Tellersky, a 21-year-old Georgetown University student, is an avid social media user who joined the app in August.

“What I love about BeReal is that I am able to make connections with my friends via social media on a platform that doesn’t motivate likes or comments or be artificial. … just show your friends what you’re doing the moment the daily alert goes off,” says Tellersky, He is a junior student majoring in government.

Telerski says that the posts he sees on the app are generally more real compared to other social media platforms.

“I try to post as soon as I see the notice, even if I’m sitting in bed or walking to class,” he says. “I think the amount of credibility depends on the personality each person creates on social media. If someone is trying to keep their social media presence highly polished and productive, then BeReal is not the app to use.”

Ben Telerski and Alexandra Henn in a photo from his BeReal app.  The app takes a double photo showing the user's profile picture and what's in front of them.

When you tap on the BeReal notification that plays once per day, the in-app camera opens along with a timer with a two-minute countdown. You have until the timer runs out to take a picture of what’s in front of you. At the same time, the rear camera takes a selfie.

The app will share both photos. Recap it anytime within 2 minutes and share it with friends when you’re ready.

BeReal also allows users to take the photo and publish it later in the day. But it lets your friends know how many hours past the notification you posted. In short, it puts you on a blast for your lack of spontaneity.

BeReal has benefited from marketing on college campuses. He recruits young users through his site college ambassador program, This allows students to host events to educate others about the app.

Telerski thinks the app is popular because it’s anti-stress to look perfect on the internet.

“I saw Lots of news coverage lately On the negative mental health effects of social media on Gen Z. I don’t know if BeReal is directly trying to combat this problem, but it certainly provides some ground toward that goal,” he says.

Morgan Nott, 26, runs a tea shop in Reno and is an app novice. I started using it last week at the suggestion of a friend. Knott says she finds it refreshing to get an imperfect glimpse into other people’s lives.

“Its originality is what makes it so attractive. Users are not charming or fake as some can portray themselves on other platforms,” she says. “It is something different.”

In a statement, BeReal said its goal is to create an “alternative to addictive social networking” that focuses on impact mobilization, it says.

“BeReal is your chance to show your friends who you really are,” the company says. “BeReal won’t make you famous, if you want to become an influencer you can stay on TikTok and Instagram.”

The app does not give you much time to apply makeup or organize your surroundings before taking and posting photos.

But some users may still try to organize their lives on the app.

“There is the potential to be just as artificial on BeReal as people tend to be on other platforms,” Tellersky says. Some people might ignore the notification to post at a certain time and wait for the post to get dressed and go out to dinner with friends, he says.

“It’s not in the spirit of BeReal and totally undermines the goal,” he says. “BeReal should be full of pictures (of people) walking, doing their homework, sitting in bed watching Netflix.”

The young people CNN spoke to had no plans to ditch Instagram, TikTok and other social media apps.

Knott says she plans to continue letting her guard down on BeReal — and to continue posting on other social media platforms, too.

Telerski says he tries to maintain a certain level of credibility on social media regardless of the platform. He says authenticity is determined by the person, not the application.

“For those who think we need a new social media app to be really original, maybe we should take that as a sign to be more realistic during our current social media presence,” he says.

“Think about the purpose of social media in the original — real communication through family and friends and keeping up with your life. Maybe we should get back to that.”

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