Hello everyone it’s Zainab here, welcome or welcome back to my blog! Today’s opinion piece will be on something that I’m really excited to write about – because I think it’s so relevant right now, and everyone will have their own opinion it! In the last few months, the fairly new social media app BeReal has experienced a huge level of growth – and everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon, but people are still wondering whether it will stick or what the point even is? So today, I want to share my thoughts – let’s jump into it! This will be a long post, so do feel free to use the table of contents below.
- What Is BeReal?
- BeReal’s Surge In Growth
- But BeReal Still Isn’t Perfect
- Will BeReal Even Stick Around?
- My Overall Consensus
What Is BeReal?
For anyone that isn’t already aware, BeReal is a more recent social media app, established in 2020. The premise of the app is that it will notify users at a random time every day, prompting them to ‘Be Real.’ What this means is that you have a two minute window to take a picture of what you’re doing at that time (with the front and back camera) and post it. The catch is that you won’t be able to see other people’s picture until you’ve posted yours.
Despite it’s launch just over 2 years ago, BeReal experienced high levels of traction towards the end of 2022. By the end of September 2022 alone, a report showed that 14.7 million people had downloaded the app!
BeReal’s Surge In Growth
So what about BeReal has caused it’s recent growth to be so substantial? To me, I think the core reason is that people really like the intention of authenticity. This is the first time we’ve seen a social media app that has no emphasis on ‘perfection’ or following trends – people like how much of a breath of fresh air it is! And the app has been nicknamed the ‘anti-Instagram’ very frequently because of this.
Another feature of the app which allows it to stand out against other platforms is the simplicity behind it. This does have some drawbacks, but positively, it allows everyone to participate! Once you take your BeReal, there’s no filters, edits, or pressures to live up to. It just gets posted to your friends, BeReal does have a public discovery feature to optionally post it on, but unless you’re an added friend, you can’t comment, removing any chance of toxicity! Social media is so complex and quite problematic nowadays and I think that BeReal came in at the right time to provide some escapism from this, causing it’s mass growth.
Users are utilising BeReal to change social media perceptions. A phrase that is finally starting to gain some popularity is that ‘social media is a highlight reel.’ Nobody is going to be out with friends all the time, even if that’s what all you see on their Instagram; and nobody is going to be partying all the time, even if that’s the only thing their Tiktok shows. The presence of BeReal is literally forcing people to remember that, because I guarantee that when you open the app – at least half of the posts will just be a person doing nothing (because that’s also reality!)
Instead, it’s now a highlight reel of the casual magic you may see in day to day life. Small moments you may have forgotten. A lot of people were found to have downloaded it, not only because their friends were, but just to have a digital memorybook!
But BeReal Still Isn’t Perfect
Despite the initial fairytale, unfortunately as the app has grown, so have the number of criticisms. These are minor observations that are more based on how people are using the app (rather then how the app has been developed), but are crucial to the way the app operates; and will definitely influence how it moves forward.
One of them being the notification to take your BeReal. Of course, being random means that inevitably some people will miss it. This is not the problem, because there is the capacity to take a late BeReal. The problem arises where people deliberately miss their BeReal so that they can save it for when they know they’re actually going to be doing something exciting. This has quickly become habitual amongst users (myself included), which completely misses the point of the app. Treating it as a standard social media post rather than a realistic look into what someone is doing.
I previously mentioned simplicity as a cause for it’s growth, but after a while – it can be a reason people dislike the app. The only real feature of the app is taking your own BeReal and seeing others, there is nothing else to engage users which will cause them to go right back to other social media apps and experience the different set of problems that they have. This is becoming very apparent as users spend less than 15 minutes on BeReal everyday compared to most people spending at least an hour on Tiktok . So the moral message behind BeReal will be forgotten fairly quickly.
Will BeReal Even Stick Around?
But, I think that the question that is in everyone’s mind is about whether BeReal is going to last for that long? Obviously, we can’t say for sure because the app has only experienced high levels of popularity for a few months, but there are some factors to consider.
The biggest one being the question of whether this age of redefining beauty standards and embracing your genuine self will last. Gen Z is kind of known for being a changemaking generation (at least in my opinion!) so I’m fairly confident that we will stick with it. But, I can’t predict the future, trends and what’s considered popular are constantly changing. Even though I’m in Gen Z, as I look at this objectively, if we change societal standards into something more negative or difficult – then BeReal probably won’t last, because even though the message has universal importance, that doesn’t always equal relevance. So, it’s future really depends on what we collectively decide as the future generation of adults, especially since it’s most popular age group is between the ages of 18-24. We’ll really just have to say how it plays out thoughout this year.
Another problem that BeReal is facing, right now, is that they’re losing competitive advantage. Like I said, no platform had ever thought of BeReal’s defining concept (a random picture with no enhancement), but it’s surge in popularity has caused other platforms, such as TikTok, to adopt a practically identical feature into the app. So far, pictures are the only feature of BeReal, so if they don’t add anything to the app, then other platforms will dominate in usership – which can eventually lead users to just switch to the more popular app and retire BeReal all together.
My Overall Consensus
So, what do I think about BeReal? I think that the initial concept is brilliant, I believe that if technology is utilised by Gen Z in this way to create more platforms and advances with similar moral messages as BeReal, then future generations will be better off and our generation will be better off as well!
With that being said, I think that a lot of improvements still need to be made to the current version of the app in order for it to be considered amazing. At the end of the day, these apps are all made by entrepreneurs who have to be competitive and stay in their market, so the owners behind BeReal have to be innovative at coming up with new features for the app which are complimentary to the overall message but also draw even more users in, from all demographics, to use social media more positively and even start a movement!
Thank you so much for reading this post, it was really interesting for me to write – and I think it will spark some great conversations. So, do feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments! I’ve linked all the sources that I’ve used within the paragraphs that they’re relevant for.
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