The next big app is here — until it isn’t

Chart-topping social apps like BeReal don’t always have a long shelf life.

Wanna slam some pogs? Winner’s got a slap bracelet with their name on it.

person looking at phone

Look, every era has its own fleeting sensations, and this era isn’t any different — except the fads come in app form.

Just ask BeReal

The French social app was last year’s darling. Prompting users to speedily document their lives, sans artifice, at random intervals, BeReal grew to ~15m users and scored a 2022 app-of-the-year honor from Apple.

But peaks don’t last long in this game; BeReal’s glory days may already be real over — per The New York Times, users dipped sub-6m in March (though BeReal disputes that number).

Next in social fads

Blame user fatigue. Blame established social networks cloning new platforms’ popular features. But for every TikTok that strikes gold, there are 20 Meerkats that strike out.

Still, app developers keep churning out challengers for the (almost certainly temporary) throne.

  • To what end? You already know this answer: fat wallets. (BeReal, for example, has raised $90m to date.)

The next ephemeral ascension is already bubbling up. Here are some of the rising-star apps you may need to know about — until you won’t:

  • Nocam: Friends exchange challenges, except — pause for dramatic effect — nobody can see how they look while filming.
  • Kiwi: Called “BeReal for music,” it randomly prompts users to share their most recently played song. (Spoiler: Our friends are getting Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” every single time.)
  • Wavelength: This group chat facilitator looks great — in a world where texting, Reddit, WhatsApp, Discord, and online message boards don’t exist.
  • Minus: When a wannabe philosopher at a party musing, “What if social media were, like, finite? And you only have 100 posts… ever?” reaches transcendence, what remains is this minimalistic app.

RIP in advance, sweet applications.

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