Is it just me or is everyone sick of Instagram these days? The once photography-centric sharing app has now morphed into an advertisement heavy look-at-me-fest with an emphasis on video, not even still photographs. Well never mind, because there’s another option in town, the app called BeReal which only lets you post one image a day.
It’s actually not a new app, however. It was launched in 2020 but recently has gained a lot more users and a large following from Gen Zers.
So how does it work? It’s completely ad-free (unlike Instagram), and it largely revolves around your friend network. By posting your photo, you can then see what your friends are up to. But of course, there’s a catch, and this is where things get interesting.
Once a day, you get a prompt from the app telling you it’s time to “Be Real”. You then have just 2 minutes to take a photo and post to the app. The app uses both the front and back-facing cameras at the same time, meaning that there is no place to hide.
It’s an interesting concept, and in order to take part, it demands that you stop what you’re doing right there and then, and take a photo of both yourself and whatever/wherever you are at that time. It could get awkward.
There’s no obligation of course to join in every time you get issued a photo prompt, but then where’s the fun in that. And as photographers, we all know that you can still be fairly selective about what you point your camera at.
The idea is that people can interact with their friends in a more authentic way, rather than faking it for the ‘gram. Only your circle of friends can see your posts, which is an advantage if you’re truly participating in the manner intended. However, even then, I can imagine some unintended consequences aside from being in an embarrassing place at the time you get the prompt.
It’s highly possible that young teens (and let’s face it any of us) could just feel even more pressure to be ‘on’ all the time if they know that they will have to take a random selfie at any time of the day. Personally, I would find that stressful, particularly with the 2-minute window for posting. I mean, I often can’t even find my phone within 2 minutes.
The app touts itself as “A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.” I’m not quite sure my friends are ready for that knowledge of me yet though. Absolutely don’t invite your Grandma to join, or do. But know that you could get a lot more info about her life than you bargained for!
So will you sign up for an account?