There are already too many social media apps to keep up with in 2022, so why in the world are people rushing to use the new BeReal app? Seriously — why? Between Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube, the social space is already crowded with too many social platforms to steal your attention. And whether you use one, two, or all of the above apps, it’s easy to get sucked into them for hours on end.
While it’s unlikely that any new social app will steal the spotlight from Facebook or Instagram any time soon, it has been interesting to follow younger social apps trying to make a name for themselves. We’ve seen this with Locket Widget, NoteIt, LiveIn, and Spam App. They’re not replacing the world’s biggest social apps, but if you’re looking for an alternative to ‘normal’ social media, they do have a lot to offer.
And that’s exactly what the BeReal app is trying to do. At its core, BeReal is a photo-sharing app not dissimilar to Instagram or Snapchat. You open BeReal, capture a photo, and share it for your friends to see. But there’s a twist. BeReal users get one notification every day to open the app and take a photo of what they’re doing. Notifications are sent at different times each day and users only have two minutes to take a picture. That randomness and sense of immediacy are designed to encourage real, legitimate photos from people — not the staged, fake content all over other social media. As the name implies, the intent is to ‘be real’ about what you’re posing.
Getting started with BeReal is as easy as any other app. Open the App Store on your iPhone (or Google Play if you have an Android device), search for BeReal, and download the BeReal app. Upon opening BeReal for the first time, swipe through the onboarding screens until you can tap the white ‘Continue’ button. BeReal asks you to enter your name, birthday, phone number, and username. The next screen asks you to add friends to your BeReal account. You can tap the ‘Add’ button next to friends already using BeReal, or tap ‘Invite’ if they don’t already have the app.
After adding your friends, BeReal guides you through taking your first BeReal post. Tap the notification at the top of your screen and take a photo before the two-minute timer runs out. BeReal takes a photo simultaneously with your selfie camera and rear camera, so be prepared for both angles. You can retake the photo as many times as you want within the two minutes, but once time’s up, that’s it. Before tapping the big ‘Send’ button, you can choose to send your photo only to your friends or on BeReal’s public ‘Discovery’ page for all users to see.
When you aren’t taking a picture on BeReal, navigating the rest of the app’s interface is pretty straightforward. The home screen is divided into two sections: My Friends and Discovery. The former only shows posts from your friends, while the latter shows posts from other BeReal users who have made their posts public. Tapping the smiley face icon on a photo lets you send a RealMoji. RealMojis are emoji reactions you can add to people’s posts, but they’re also accompanied by a selfie of you expressing that emoji with a funny face. Again, an emphasis on ‘being real’ with yourself.
And that’s all there is to BeReal. This isn’t an app you’re supposed to sink dozens of hours into each day. Open the app when you get the daily notification, take a picture, see what your friends post, and move on with your day. While it may sound silly to some users, it could be the perfect Instagram/Snapchat alternative for others. If you want to try it out yourself, BeReal is available as a free download now for iOS and Android.
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