What is BeReal and how does it work? I tried it for 7 days to find out

Almost out of nowhere, everyone I know started talking about BeReal.

My BeReal profile.

Be real

A new social media photo-sharing app called BeReal has become Gen Z’s latest obsession.

I first heard about it from a friend, who said she absolutely loved it and wanted our whole group of friends to start using it.

I was hesitant to download it because I already spend too much time on TikTok and tried to reduce my screen time. But as each of my friends started using BeReal, they started raving about the fun of staying in touch with friends throughout the day on the app, so I finally gave in to peer pressure and FOMO.

BeReal was invented in 2020, but it has a moment now. According to news website Social Media Today, downloads of the app have increased by 315% since the start of the year, now ranking fourth in the list of most downloaded social media apps, behind Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest.

According to the app’s description on Apple’s App Store, BeReal encourages people to “show your friends who you really are, for once,” by removing filters and opportunities to stage things too much. reflect or edit photos.

I decided to try BeReal for a week to see if it lived up to the hype.

My first day on BeReal was a bit of a shock to the system.

A photo of the author using BeReal

My first day on BeReal.

Charissa Cheong

When I first downloaded the app, it almost immediately prompted me to post my first BeReal, giving me a two-minute countdown to take my shot. I understood very quickly what the application was because I didn’t have time to assess the lighting or do my hair before taking the photo.

In my first post, I had no idea it was also going to take a photo with my rear camera, so the view ended up being my trash can and the somewhat awkward but also very cute mug my friends bought me.

I was grateful that my post was only visible to people I added as “friends” on the app, so no one else could see this rather unimpressive image.

I was not a fan of the pressure to post your photo on time every day.

A screenshot of a BeReal notification.

Posting late felt like a mark of shame.

Charissa Cheong

One thing I really didn’t like about BeReal was how it notifies you when someone’s photo has been posted after the two-minute notification ends.

Even if you’re only posting a few minutes late, the app notifies all of your friends to let them know you’ve just posted a “late” post, which to me felt a bit like a mark of shame.

I aspired to post on time every day, feeling especially proud of myself when I succeeded. However, it quickly created a lot of panic and inconvenience when the app warned me during the working day, and I found myself trying to make a tea and take a cute photo at the same time, which resulted in a lot of spillage and blurring. , unflattering image.

The app forced me to accept a less than perfect image.

A screenshot of BeReal asking why you want to delete your post

Users are not encouraged to take multiple selfies per day.

Be real

When I tried to delete my unflattering BeReal post, I was given a list of options and asked to tick the reason why I wanted my photo deleted.

According to the BeReal website, you can only delete your post once a day after you post it to your feed. Although you can resume your BeReal as many times as you want during the two-minute countdown, once you hit “post” you can only delete and resume it once.

It seems that the app is trying to discourage users from spending too much time on their posts by not allowing them to have multiple attempts.

I found it annoying at first because I was so used to being able to take a selfie as many times as I wanted, but ended up liking this feature because it saved me screen time and not spending too much time trying to take the perfect shot.

To interact with other people’s posts, you need to involve your face.

A screenshot of the author taking a realmoji

The app calls the feature a “realmoji”

Charissa Cheong

To react to someone else’s post on BeReal, you can’t just hit a “heart” or “thumbs up” button.

Instead, you have to take a selfie of your face inside a circle template on the app. These are called “realmojis”, where instead of commenting on someone’s post with an emoji, your facial expression becomes an emoji in itself.

I had a lot of fun with these because I felt like I could react to what my friends were doing in a more authentic and personal way by showing them my own face.

The app serves as a beautiful photo album of daily memories.

A screenshot of the profile page on BeReal

BeReal keeps a collection of your “memories”.

Be real

One of my favorite features on BeReal is the “profile” page, where you can see all of your previous posts, which the app calls your “memories.”

It was a lot like 1 Second Everyday, another social media app that all my friends were obsessed with about two years ago, where users upload a one-second video of themselves every day and the app groups them all in one movie throughout the year. .

I never cared about 1 Second Everyday because I felt like it would take a lot of effort to remember to post daily, and I knew I’d be bored on my own if I missed one. .

With BeReal, I don’t feel much pressure to post every day because there’s no movie or finished product to look forward to. I’ve made a habit of posting when I feel like it, and it’s really nice to be able to look back on your “memories” and remember what you were doing on any given day.

All in all, I’ve grown to really like BeReal and will continue to use it as long as it remains relevant.

A photo of the author's face on BeReal.

I like to post about whatever I’m doing at the time.

Charissa Cheong

It certainly took me a few days to get used to BeReal’s unique format. I kept getting frustrated that my photos weren’t as polished or aesthetically pleasing as I usually would like, but I’m slowly starting to appreciate the fact that there’s no pressure to look my best on the application.

I also discovered that BeReal is not an application I would spend hours procrastinating on. Typically, I post my photo, briefly scroll and react to my friends’ photos, and then move on with the rest of my day. It struck me as a refreshing and healthy way to use social media that I really enjoy.

I plan to continue using BeReal as long as it remains relevant. In the past, trendy apps like Houseparty and Clubhouse had great moments of popularity, but after a while people around me stopped using them, so I’m excited to see what’s happening in this case.

For more stories like this, check out Insider’s digital literacy team coverage here.

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