It’s Time To BeReal - How We Live Our Best Lives Through Manufactured Authenticity
Instagram is dead. Your posts aren’t getting likes, barely any views of that story you posted about your back-to-the-real-world blowout vacation. And quite frankly…it’s all TikTok reels appearing on the actual app. There’s no original, novelty experience provided solely by Instagram.
Instagram was for idealized versions of your life. The best snapshot at a concert where the artist is right behind you and you are perfectly posed. That bikini beach pic, looking effortlessly off guard as if you didn’t pose for 1000 similar snaps before getting The Shot.
But we got tired of the lying. Exhausted by FaceTune airbrushing faces and nipping in waistlines. No one wants to see your best life, we need to get real.
When Instagram made the announcement that they’re switching to a video-based platform, the people sighed and shook their heads. It was officially over. Instagram was unoriginal and couldn’t keep our attention. Enter BeReal.
What’s The Point Of Being Real?
BeReal, founded by Alexis Berrayat, was introduced to me as a “finsta” opportunity. At any time in your day, this non-serious app notifies you to take a dual-sided photo and post it with no edits! You can add friends, but they must accept your request to view their posts.
The app alerts you once a day every day. The catch? It goes off at various times, users can see how many times you’ve retaken the picture, and we know when you don’t post exactly on time.
A lot of people - friends included - ask what’s the point of this app? Most of the time, it’s just a photo of me sitting at a desk working. I mean, what are we doing here? And who cares?
The point of BeReal is that not everyone is living their best lives at all times. Sometimes, we’re lounging in bed - sans makeup - watching reruns of Schitt’s Creek. Other times, we’re out at a bar - dancing the night away.
For instance, I waited three hours to take my BeReal just so I could flex that I was in the pit for a Harry Styles concert and he was right in front of me. Although you can be more candid with BeReal, you can still share the most fun part of your day with your friends. It’s what some like to call “manufactured authenticity.”
A simple solution to the ultimate question of What’s The Point is getting a Polaroid. A camera that takes a single shot that prints immediately. The catch is it looks like a blob when the pic first comes out, so when it develops it's a surprise.
Successful Or A Bust?
BeReal has taken flight in the past few months. When the little notification comes up, people drop whatever they’re doing just to make a post on time…no matter what they’re doing. People share photos during meetings, concerts, even funerals.
@chiefhascalled uhh ultimate be real time. #bereal #funeral #rip #familyfuneral #greenscreen #berealwithme #berealnotperfect #notfunny ♬ Betty (Get Money) - Yung Gravy
It’s the antithesis of Instagram - where you’d spend hours poring over a single photo, heavily filtering and doctoring it to perfection. Instagram curates an artificial picture of what the user wants you to see. There’s no algorithm to show you specialized content, either.
With BeReal, you have only two minutes to take a photo…and if you haven’t, you can’t scroll aimlessly and stalk your friends’ posts. It implores people to actually engage with the app. So if you receive a BeReal notification, check out the mass of people rushing to the app at once.
BeReal isn’t for the influencer, either. There’s no formal advertising allowed on the app - which was downloaded by 20+ million users as of July. Brands are surreptitiously trying to surpass the no-ads ban by creating their own accounts to connect with a younger audience through the app.
Chipotle released an app-exclusive promo code when joining BeReal, while Saie leaked a new product of theirs. Brands are finding it irresistible to join the masses…and they’re gaining a ton of traction.
People are questioning if this high will last for the BeReal era. Are we going to catapult this into the realm of giants like Snapchat and TikTok? Or will it, eventually, fade into darkness and hit the apps-graveyard like Cappucino and Vsco?
Something must be working because Instagram is testing a feature with “Candid Challenges” similar to the BeReal format. Since Instagram can’t come up with their own ideas to keep their app original, I guess they just steal ideas.
With the current state of photo-sharing apps, I think BeReal will be around for a while at least. There isn’t an alternative that provides a truly authentic version of people’s lives, so I’ll take it.