The social media app that wants you to get off your phone

Could BeReal be the antidote to traditional social media?

The future of social media starts with a notification:

The social media app that wants you to get off your phone
Source: BeReal

A new social-media app called BeReal has caught fire on college campuses, per Protocol, where students find the authenticity of the photos and simplicity of the feed a refreshing change from the glamour of Instagram.  

How does it work?

Instead of allowing users to curate their feeds with any pic they want whenever they want, BeReal only lets users post once a day.  

  • Every day, at a random time, the app simultaneously sends every user a notification.
  • Users have 2 minutes to post a picture from their front and back camera (the app doesn’t have access to a user’s camera roll).
  • By time-stamping posts, the app inherently shames users who post after the 2-minute window.

In addition to limiting both when and how many photos a user can upload, BeReal doesn’t have likes or let users lurk on other photos until they share their own, and the pictures disappear after a day. In short, the app is meant for users to get in, get out, and get on with their day.

How did it start?

BeReal launched in France in 2020. The founder, Alexis Barreyat, was a former video producer at GoPro and grew disillusioned with social media after hanging out with influencers and realizing their real lives were far less glamorous than their Instagram feeds.

BeReal took off with French university students in spring 2021, and is quickly taking American college campuses by storm — much like Facebook did during its early days. Speaking of which…

… Big Social wants to be authentic, too

Instagram lets users share stories specifically with close friends, Twitter is developing a similar feature called Flock, and Snap has always prided itself on offering a more authentic experience than its competitors.

But BeReal’s secret weapon is its “once-per-day” design, which is so astronomically removed from the time-in-app success metrics of traditional social media apps that it’s hard to see any incumbents following suit.

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