What is the BeReal app that emphasizes authenticity?

(CNN) — Go through Facebook and Instagram.

There’s a new photo sharing app that’s unlike any other social network.

Application is called BeReal. Even if you haven’t heard of it, many young people are already signing up. Its monthly active users have grown more than 315% this year, According to Apptopia data for AprilIt monitors and analyzes performance.

We joined the app and spoke to users to learn more about how BeReal works and what there is to know about it.

What is BeReal?

BeReal is a social networking app that encourages users to share a part of their lives in real time.

It was launched in early 2020 by an entrepreneur in France, but most of its users, At least 65%They became members only this year.

As the name suggests, the goal is authenticity. The app invites users once a day to share a photo of what they’re currently doing, giving friends and others a clear view of their lives.

It has no filters or edit buttons. If your hair is currently a mess and your look is a rainy parking lot, that’s what people will see.

A far cry from the polished, over-embellished photos popular on other social media platforms.

The BeReal app was launched at the end of 2020 and is rapidly gaining popularity among the youth. Credit: Austin Steele/CNN

How does it work?

The BeReal concept is simple. Once you download the app, you’ll receive a notification once a day that it’s time to “BeReal.” That means you have two minutes to take a picture of what you’re doing and post it, no matter how mundane.

There is no fixed time: the notification comes at random times of the day, which adds to the mystery of the app.

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“Push notifications are sent simultaneously around the world at different times of the day,” the company explained in a statement. “How the time is chosen each day is a secret, it’s not random.”

That is, a window of potential in your life can open at any moment. When doing so, the app invites you to take a photo of what you’re doing at that moment. It takes a double shot: a selfie and one that shows what’s in front of you. (Be more truthful Videos are not allowed)

The result is a social feed of raw photos of people doing unassuming, everyday things: lounging in their pajamas, doing homework, riding the bus, microwaving dinner.

Just one post a day, you can’t scroll through friends’ photos without minding them. You can only see your friends’ posts if you share a photo, which removes followers. Since the app works in real-time, some people turn off their location for privacy reasons.

Georgetown University student Ben Delersky, 21, is an avid social media user and joined the app in August.

What I love about BeReal is that I can connect with my friends through social media on a site that doesn’t encourage likes, comments, or being artificial. … Show your friends what you’re up to when the daily alert goes off,” says Delersky.

The posts you see on the app are generally more authentic compared to other social media platforms, says Delersky.

“Whether I’m sitting on the couch or walking to class, I try to post as soon as I see the notification,” she says. “I think the level of credibility in social media depends on who you trust. If someone is trying to make their social media presence too polished and productive, BeReal is not the app to use.”

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BeReal app

Ben Delorsky and Alexandra Henn in a picture from their BeReal app. The app takes a double photo of the user’s selfie and what’s in front of them. Courtesy of Ben Delersky

What happens if you don’t publish in two minutes?

Pressing the BeReal notification once a day will open the camera app with a two-minute countdown timer. You have until the timer runs out to take a picture of what’s in front of you. At the same time, the rear camera takes selfies.

The app will share both images. You can take them back anytime in two minutes and share them with your friends when you’re ready.

BeReal allows users to snap and post a photo later in the day. But let your friends know how many hours have passed between the notification time and the post time. In short, it calls you out on your lack of spontaneity.

Why do people use it?

BeReal focuses its marketing on college campuses. The application thereby recruits young users University Ambassador ProgramThis allows students to organize events to promote the application.

Delersky believes the app is popular because it’s an antidote to the pressure to appear perfect online.

“I’ve seen a lot of news lately about the negative impact of social media on Gen Z’s mental health. I don’t know if BeReal is trying to combat this issue directly, but it’s certainly making progress toward that goal,” he says. .

A psychologist advises you on how to take care of your self-esteem in social networks 4:43

Morgan Knott, 26, runs a tea shop in Reno and is new to the app. She started using it last week on the advice of a friend. Nat says it’s refreshing to get a non-idealized, untouchable view of other people’s lives.

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“It’s a very attractive authenticity. Users aren’t attractive or fake, some may pretend to be on other sites,” he says. “It’s a different matter.”

In a statement, BeReal says its goal is to create an “alternative to addictive social networks” that focuses on accumulating influence.

“BeReal is your chance to show your friends who you really are,” says the company. “BeReal won’t make you famous. If you want to become an influencer, you can stay on TikTok and Instagram.”

Are BeReal posts really real?

The app doesn’t give you much time to stage your makeup or your surroundings before snapping and posting photos.

But some users may try to “cure” their lives on the app.

“There’s an opportunity for people to be as artificial on BeReal as they are on other platforms,” ​​says Delersky.

He says some people may ignore the notification to post at a certain time and wait to post until they get dressed and go out to dinner with friends.

“That’s not in the spirit of BeReal and completely defeats the purpose,” he says. “Periel should be full of pictures of (people) walking around, doing homework and sitting on the couch watching Netflix.”

Teens who spoke to CNN have no plans to quit Instagram, TikTok and other social media apps.

Knott says he plans to let his guard down on BeReal and post on other social platforms.

Delersky says he tries to maintain a certain level of credibility on social media, regardless of the platform. Trustworthiness is determined by a person, not an app, he says.

“For those of us who think a new social network has to be really authentic, we should take it as a sign of being more authentic in our social media presence,” he says.

“Think about the original purpose of social media: to have real connection with family and friends at the top of your life. Maybe we should go back to that.”

Eden Hayes

"Wannabe gamer. Subtly charming beer buff. General pop culture trailblazer. Incurable thinker. Certified analyst."

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