BeReal makes photography casual again
Future. Photo-sharing app BeReal is becoming Gen Z’s answer to Instagram — rejecting curation and perfection for the spontaneity and authenticity of posting a photo right away when the app tells you to. But with everyone needing to post at the same time, a crowded room of users all pulling out their phone simultaneously to post their daily BeReal may flood a timeline with hundreds of the same photo… or just make some users feel like pod people.
What if you could never plan an Instagram post?
- That’s the idea behind a photo-sharing app called BeReal, which has been blowing up on college campuses, including Harvard and Duke (part of the company’s game plan).
- The photo app works by randomly sending a notification to all users at the same time to post a photo (a “BeReal”) within a two-minute window.
- The app takes a photo using both the front-facing camera and rear-facing camera simultaneously.
- The app also lets your friends know how many times you’ve retaken your photo — or if it’s late — just so you can feel some shame.
Although the app was founded in 2020, it’s taken off recently, scoring some 1.1 million downloads in February… and even started a TikTok trend about people jokingly structuring their whole day around making sure that their BeReal is dope.
Vice’s Izzy Copestake says that BeReal is the natural successor to the “casual Instagram” movement — DGAF uploads of daily life that are a direct rejection of the perfectly curated tone of most users. The trend has taken off thanks to Gen Z stars like Emma Chamberlain and Bella Hadid, and now BeReal is riding the wave. Analyst Clark Boyd says that BeReal does away with the “perfect facade” of Instagram or TikTok and taps into the “desire for reality to break through.”
BeReal also warns users that the platform “won’t make you famous, if you want to be an influencer you can stay on TikTok or Instagram.” That’s the kind of against-the-grain thinking that makes an app break through the noise… but how to monetize or scale it is a different ball game.