Social media trends come and go like the weather. Remember when Snapchat was the most important thing? And what about that brief period when Yik Yak was on everyone’s phones? TikTok might be basking in the glory right now, but a new app, BeReal, is poised to steal your attention. Ironically, it’s partly thanks to TikTok users sharing their thoughts on BeReal that the app has exploded so quickly. When we last reviewed BeReal a month ago, it was ranked #1 on the App Store and dropped from 11 to 7 on the Play Store. However, it has now caught the attention of Facebook owner Meta, which may spell doom for the app.
What is BeReal?
If you are not aware of this social media phenomenon, BeReal operates under a simple premise. Once a day, the app will prompt you to take a photo. It will take one from your rear camera and one from your front camera a couple of seconds later. You will have a two-minute window to take this photo to encourage candid images. BeReal will then place your front photo on top of your back photo.
Once you have taken your photo, you can share it with your friends. You won’t be able to see their posts until the next day, and if you miss your two-minute window, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow. You can also react to your friends’ posts by sharing a quick selfie attached to your post.
The intent behind these quirky shooting windows is to encourage people to share moments of their lives that aren’t just culled from parties, special dinners, or planned events. It’s not the first app to go for the authenticity angle: In 2016, YouTube’s Casey Neistat developed an app called Beme that had users take videos with their phones pressed to their chests so they could supposedly focus on the moment. . CNN bought the app later that year, eventually shutting it down in 2018.
What BeReal had that Beme didn’t have was the patience to maintain the format for two years and the user base to prove it. According to a BeReal job posting, the app has more than 10 million daily users. The job advertisement also expresses the company’s goal of increasing this number to more than 100 million; It’s a lofty goal, but recent reports peg the medium-sized social network Snapchat at around 350 million daily active users.
As Snapchat popularized the concept of communication via disappearing messages, BeReal may be relying on its purity of gimmick to attract enough people before targeting larger business partnerships or business moves. Clubhouse, an audio-based social app that launched around the same time as BeReal, had a lot of hype and activity to back it up, but things have quickly settled down: it’s now experimenting with new features to make the platform itself be interesting enough. to be in BeReal’s novelty is strong and still fresh, but once TikTok’s surge in interest has died down, it will need to learn to fend for itself and fend off the depredations of competitors.
Will Instagram become “Candid”?
Meta is not one to be shy about pulling features from other apps and is quickly jumping on the BeReal bandwagon. Meta appears to be working on a feature called “Heartfelt Challenges” for Instagram. discovered by self-styled reverse engineer Allessandro Palluzzi, users would be notified once a day to take and share a “candid”. It even copies BeReal down to the last detail, giving users just two minutes to take the truth.
An Instagram spokesperson told Engadget that the feature was an “internal prototype” and that no users were testing it. Still, we’ll be eating our phones if we don’t see this announced soon in an Instagram update.
While Meta has been the only company confirmed to be working on a BeReal clone, it wouldn’t be surprising if we saw Twitter or TikTok as well. Twitter, specifically, might consider BeReal’s candid shots to fit the microblogging nature of its platform, but considering its disastrous attempt to copy Snapchat stories and the ongoing buyout drama with Elon Musk, you’ll need to tread carefully.
Despite BeReal’s popularity, it faces an uncertain future. Will he end up being swallowed by Meta like so many other successful start-ups that even vaguely have a conflict of interest with their existing holdings? Or will he stop innovating like Clubhouse did and die after his 15 minutes in the spotlight? It may be a welcome change to the retouched faces and saturated filters of Instagram, but BeReal could end up being a bit also real for your own good.
If you are interested in BeReal, please download it from the Play Store. Just make sure you know how to take a selfie before you start; You will only receive one injection per day.