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    Is BeReal Really The Next Big Thing?

    MarketingSocial Media

    A lot has changed over the years with social media. Far are the days when we would use social media platforms to upload dozens, if not hundreds, of photos from our cameras and create albums of events and social gatherings. Now Myspace is obsolete, Facebook is for boomers, Instagram is an online portfolio for brands and commercial businesses, and TikTok is king reigning over them all. But emerging from the crowd is an app that claims they’re not like the rest, telling us to do something we haven’t done in a while and be “real.”

    Table of Contents

    How BeReal Works

    If you’re not familiar with the BeReal app, it is a French social media app released in 2020. Developed by Alexis Barreyat and Kevin Perreau, it was originally pitched as an “anti-Instagram” app to rebel against all things curated in our online presence.

    The app will send out a notification at a different hour every day to take a photo in real-time, using both the front and back camera,  showing where you are and what you’re doing. The app notifies everyone simultaneously to capture and share a photo within a 2-minute time frame. If you don’t manage to post right away and post a few minutes late, the app notifies all your friends to let them know you’ve just made a “late” post, or what some might call the “post of shame.”

    Because no one knows when they’ll receive the “time to be real” notification, it leaves users with little opportunity to prepare and showcase themselves and their surroundings in an aesthetic way like we’ve been used to seeing on other popular platforms. BeReal uses this to market these photos as “genuine” moments in life.

    will BeReal survive the viciously dominating social platforms that tower over them, or will their “stand apart from the crowd and be real” mission and continuously accelerating growth be enough to have them stay here for good?

    Users are encouraged to post only once daily, and the photo will only be shared and seen by connected friends. But if you do happen to post something and want to remove it, just know that it does come with some caveats. You can only delete your BeReal once a day and won’t be able to remove the following post and also requires you to state a reason for deleting in the first place.

    Other elements of the app include reacting with “realmojis” rather than a “heart” or a “like”, and the option also to add a caption underneath your picture after it goes live. A fan favorite feature on BeReal seems to be the “profile” page, where you can see all your previous posts, which the app calls “memories.”

    BeReal’s Growing Popularity

    BeReal’s ultimate users are mostly made up of Gen Zs (1997-2012) and Gen Alphas (2013-2025) and are most popular in the US, followed by the UK and France. Its popularity has grown so rapidly that it was actually spoofed in a sketch recently on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live. 

    In fact, according to the most recent data, BeReal has now passed 50 million installs worldwide. And while this doesn’t come close to the numbers accumulated by TikTok, or even Facebook, BeReal’s numbers continue to soar at rates other apps could only dream of, and it doesn’t look like it’s stopping any time soon.

    Here’s a look at their monthly progression, per Sensor Tower

    • January 2022: 756,000 installs 
    • March 2022: 1.4 million installs
    • April 2022: 4.5 million installs
    • June 2022: 7.7 million installs 
    • August 2022: 12.3 million installs 
    • September 2022: 14.7 million installs

    Qualified Competition?

    So what does this mean for the other big-name apps, and should they be worried about this new star player? While, undoubtedly, BeReal’s numbers are impressive, they’re not intimidating big leaguers like Facebook and TikTok. 

    The reality is that not everyone is actually opening the app every day, probably due to BeReal’s encouragement of limited posting. In contrast, the opposite message is being made loud and clear for the competing apps.

    And just like everything that becomes popular online, is the opportunity for others to take that thing and make it their own, noting that some competitors are already copying some of BeReal’s features. This leaves to beg the question, will BeReal survive the viciously dominating social platforms that tower over them, or will their “stand apart from the crowd and be real” mission and continuously accelerating growth be enough to have them stay here for good?

    Final Thoughts

    BeReal is a totally refreshing take on users’ online presence in today’s day and age and a shock to the system that might even do a bit of good for some users. And while most photos might initially feel unimpressive, this wave of unfiltered reality could even help combat the dangers of online image dysmorphia and distortion. 

    It might take a moment to get used to BeReal’s unique format, this could be a turning point in social media where you don’t have to endlessly scroll and can contribute to the fun social callings of the online world and move on with your life.

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