BeReal app is the latest to grab the attention of the younger generation and is becoming increasingly popular.
The downloads have increased by 315% this year.
Once a day you get a notification from the app. It tells you that it’s time to post your BeReal for the day and you have two minutes to do so. Your friends are also supposed to get the notification at the same time.
You take one photo of what you’re doing with your back-facing camera, and at the same time, your phone takes a photo of you with your front-facing camera – surprise!
The parameters in place are billed by the app as “a new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.”
Users can also see where their friends are on a map and discover other publicly posted BeReals. Before you view anyone else’s post for the day, you must post your own photos.
Meredith Mueller is a sophomore at the University of Kansas where she’s studying journalism. Mueller downloaded BeReal a couple of weeks ago after she heard about it from her roommate.
“I downloaded it, typed my information in, and then it came up with all my contacts with people that already had this,” Mueller said. “And I was like, how have I never heard of this and all these people in my contacts already have this?”
BeReal has quickly become one of Mueller’s favorite social media apps.
“It’s just so fun to, like, go take a break throughout my day and just go on there and see exactly what people are doing in the moment and, like, throughout their day and where people are at,” she said.
“Snapchat is more like you’re sending this to one person, if you post on your story, you’re trying to look good,” she said. “Whereas this is like … wherever you’re at, whatever you’re doing, you stop in the moment and all your friends can see it. It’s more like a down-to-earth app. I would say it’s like a judgment-free zone.”
Chris Stedman, author of IRL: Finding Our Real Selves in a Digital World, says there is a need for spaces where people can let their guard down and just be themselves.
“A big part of why I wrote it is because I was trying to figure out whether or not the internet is a place where we can feel human,” he said. “But the fact of the matter is there is kind of nothing more human than curating a self that you share with the world.”
Stedman hasn’t used BeReal, and he said he’s not likely to, but he can see why Gen Z might like the app.
“I do think one of the big challenges people feel on social media is I’m seeing everybody else’s highlight reel, but I’m experiencing the fullness of my own life with all of the mundane stuff,” Stedman said. “To be able to get this reminder that everyone else’s lives largely are made up of mundane moments too, I can definitely see some value in that.”
“Ultimately, whatever platform you’re on, the most important thing is being intentional and mindful about why you’re using the platforms in the first place, and what you’re trying to get out of them,” Stedman says.