While social media has its benefits like connecting with family, friends, and your favorite influencers, excessive use of social media creates unrealistic expectations of how our lives should be by comparing users with a presumably extravagant life to our dull day on the couch. Alexis Barreyat, the founder and CEO of BeReal, hopes to limit the toxicity in social media and show your true self to your network.
Unfortunately, social media harbors a toxic environment that, in many cases, can harm a user’s mental health. One can argue that taking a break from these platforms can alleviate these unwanted feelings, but the sad reality is that you need social media to keep in touch with friends.
What is BeReal?
If the premise of BeReal hasn’t caught your attention yet, we’ll give you a rundown on the app’s history, purpose, and benefits. BeReal is a social media app that was initially released in 2020. It’s an easy-use platform that will ask users at a random time in the day to post a photo of what they’re up to.
BeReal has no photo editors, advertisements, or follower counts, so you can be your authentic self to your group of friends or the rest of the BeReal community.
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Why Has BeReal Suddenly Gained Popularity?
BeReal has always had a strong following since its release, which helped BeReal’s community grow in 2022. BeReal ambassadors also began to spread word of the app on American college campuses like the University of Texas and Rice. Elias Hansen, one of BeReal’s first student ambassadors, stated that Houston, Texas is where BeReal was downloaded the most.
The app’s monthly active users have skyrocketed by 315%, with 65% of BeReal’s all-time downloads happening this year alone, according to Apptopia.
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Why Is BeReal Popular?
At this point, you might be wondering why BeReal is so popular if other platforms do the same thing. You also might be wondering why a mundane app is trying to stand against larger platforms like Instagram and Snapchat.
Well, BeReal doesn’t want to be another platform where you gawk at people’s profiles and hope to gain a new follower with your latest post – BeReal wants you to take a break from that toxic environment and give you a relaxing experience that still keeps you connected with your friends.
BeReal also doesn’t want to be like other platforms; they want to cater to a smaller, more genuine, community.
Via Apple App Store: Brianna Borik
According to CNN, there’s been a lot of talk about the app. Ben Telerski attends Georgetown University and says that he enjoys BeReal because he’s able to connect with friends on a platform that “does not incentivize likes, comments, or being artificial.” He warns that if you’re the type of person who wants their presence on the internet to be “polished and produced,” BeReal isn’t the right app for you.
BeReal states that if someone wants to become an influencer, they should go to platforms like TikTok because “BeReal won’t make you famous.” Morgan Nott, a 26-year-old manager at a tea shop in Nevada, says that authenticity is the most appealing part of the app.
NPR connected with some people to see what their feelings were on this new, booming platform. Yala Uhls researches the psychology of media on children and adolescents, and she states that influencer culture can destroy a person’s mental health.
Uhls appreciates the creation of BeReal because it helps young people understand that a manufactured life is not what to compare to. Khia Reddy, a BeReal user, says that “we’re not performing anymore,” which is an overall positive outlook on life – a life where you don’t have to compete to have the coolest-looking life.
Even though there can be ways to be “unreal” on BeReal, and on the internet in general, the company hopes to encourage authenticity and help others recognize that social media can be used to connect rather than compare. Likewise, BeReal can help us acknowledge potentially addictive behaviors and help users take a well-needed break from social media without disconnecting entirely.
But do remember, if you do exhibit addictive behavior when using social media to the extent that it means to affect your mental health, the best course of action would be to take the necessary steps you need to care for yourself.
Read more about the controversy of popularity and authenticity in this blog chronicling Tana Mongeau and her projects.
How to Use BeReal
Using BeReal is very simple. When BeReal notifies you to post, you’ll have two minutes to send something before it shows up as late to your other friends. You’ll only be able to post once per day to help limit your usage on the platform.
After you post, whether it’s on time or late, you’ll be able to see your friend’s post. If you decide not to post for a day, you won’t be able to see anyone else’s posts.
This can seem addicting in a sense, but the lack of constant feed updates that fuel scrolling on other apps suggests it’s more of a motivator to post once, then get off.
Want to add more friends? BeReal makes it easy to add new friends by syncing your phone contacts to the app, typing in their username, or copying a profile link.
If you ever want to make your BeReal posts public to other users, you can do so by changing the privacy settings on your post to public. Do note, that all BeReal posts will be set to private by default, so you have to manually change the privacy settings.
Unlike Snapchat, you can’t see your friend’s old BeReal posts once the daily reminder is sent out the next day. However, BeReal does allow you access to see all your previous posts in your Memories. You can also activate or deactivate Memories through your settings. As of now, nobody else can see your Memories. If you have any more questions, you can check out BeReal’s English FAQ.
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As of June 29th, 2022, BeReal is number 10 among the top trending free apps on Apple’s App Store and continues to climb in popularity. While BeReal might not be your go-to social media platform – the company wants to refrain from people using the app constantly – connecting with friends and family can now be more authentic. You can see the spur-of-the-moment side of your friends, and you don’t have to worry about upholding your internet persona. You can finally be you and be real.