In BeReal, you can make no more than one post per day. You can’t edit photos, and you won’t be able to prepare in advance – a notification asking you to share pictures comes at a random moment of the day, after which the user has just a couple of minutes.
The result is real moments from everyday life, and not carefully verified and retouched posts on Instagram. For this, BeReal has already been nicknamed “anti-Instagram”.
French developers launched BeReal back in 2020, but it wasn’t until two years later that the app gained massive popularity. We tested the social network and figured out how to use it.
What is the idea of BeReal
BeReal is called an “anti-social” social network. The slogan of the advertising campaign is “What if social networks were different?” Pictures for BeReal cannot be selected from the library, edited, or applied filters. No likes, hashtags, and public follower counters. You can publish posts only once a day – this helps to spend less time on the social network. Only users on your friends’ list can comment, which reduces the chance of bullying or negativity.
BeReal emphasizes sincerity, while other social networks strive for perfection. Studies confirm that social networks can negatively affect mental health, and photo applications demoralize users more than others. People want to match the “ideal picture” that they see with popular bloggers. At the same time, many forget that a “successful life” on the Internet is often artificial.
BeReal is especially popular among young people. For them, the sleek aesthetics of Instagram are no longer in vogue – representatives of Zoomers are tired of the falsity and lickiness in social networks. And the creators of BeReal just contrast spontaneous and natural shots with staged and edited shots that ordinary social networks are full of.
As The Wired points out, the BeReal experience doesn’t really feel like a constant race to get as much attention as possible. It’s just a way to have fun with your friends without wasting hours on your phone.
How To Start Using BeReal
Register. BeReal is available for iOS and Android. During the first launch, the application requires you to enter a phone number, name, date of birth, and nickname. The number must be confirmed via SMS. An email or account password is not required. The app is free and doesn’t have any paid features yet.
Add friends. After registration, BeReal will offer to give access to the contact list in order to add the first friends. You can deny access to contacts, but then all your friends will have to send out invitations personally. We recommend adding at least a couple of people at once. If you don’t have friends, then you can share pictures with strangers.
After creating an account, the application will immediately send a notification with a proposal to publish the first picture – for this you will need to give access to the camera.
How to make “biril”
The feature of BeReal is to capture the real moment of the user’s life. Therefore, he does not fully manage even the time of publication of posts. A notification with the text time to be real – the time to be real – comes every day at a random time. The user then has two minutes to take a photo.
The application takes pictures simultaneously on the main and front cameras. Within two minutes, you can redo unsuccessful frames, but both at once, and not one at a time. Try not to move until both photos are ready so you don’t end up with a blur. And immediately choose the angle for the selfie, because it will not be visible on the viewfinder.
Two photos are published as a collage, reminiscent of a FaceTime camera: a close-up photo from the main camera, and a selfie in a small window.
What to do if you are late at BeReal. It is not known exactly how the application chooses the time for notification, but it will definitely not ask you to send photos late in the evening or at night. BeReal uses the user’s timezone to calculate when the push is sent.
Even if you do not respond to the notification immediately, you can publish the post later. Then the application will add a note about being late to the photo, no matter how much – for 15 seconds or for several hours. The app “punishes” lateness, because the point is to post random moments from life, and not wait for dinner at a restaurant or a trip to a beautiful location.
You have 2 minutes to create a photo. If you do not meet, the post will be marked as “overdue”. The timer itself can be restarted indefinitely. If you do not publish a post at all, you will not be able to see other people’s publications for a particular day.
Here’s what else to know about posts on BeReal.
The post can be signed. The location is added automatically, but you can disable this feature if you don’t want to share your data with strangers.
The post can be deleted. To do this, click on the three dots in the corner. The app does not encourage the deletion of posts and requires you to provide a reason why you deleted the picture. Please note that if you delete a post, you will no longer be able to post a new one that day.
What Else Can You Do At BeReal?
View “real” posts of strangers and friends. The application has two feeds where to publish pictures: Friends and Discovery. Photos from the Friends feed will only be seen by your friends. The Discovery feed is set up much like the algorithmic feed of TikTok – posts from random people from all over the world get there.
React with “real” emoji to posts. There are two ways to interact with other people’s posts – comment or leave a reaction with RealMojis. You can only comment on friends’ posts, and react to any.
RealMojis are reactions to your selfies. The application offers to take a photo corresponding to five different emoji: 👍 😃 😲 😍 😂. It is also possible to leave a reaction to a specific biryl without being tied to an emoji.
Find out who screened your post. BeReal does not send notifications when someone takes a screenshot of your post. But in the application, you can see who has screened your picture and how many times.
To see who took the screenshot, you must first share your own post on another social network, instant messenger or by e-mail – the Share button sends a picture with the BeReal logo. Only after that, a list of friends who have taken a screenshot of your post will appear.
Why BeReal Is Being Criticized
Most posts are boring. It’s hard to find an interesting subject to shoot or a good angle in two minutes, so people share photos of everyday life on social networks: a laptop screen, a plate of food, pets, office space, and coffee mugs.
The content depends on the time when the notification arrives: in the mornings, photos from the subway, buses, or gyms are usually published, and in the evenings, bedrooms, bookshelves, and pillows. Journalists who criticize the app call such content “unbearably boring”, while its defenders argue that this is exactly the point.
At the same time, the “best biril” account is gaining popularity on Twitter, where they publish absurd posts from the Discovery feed. There are photos from concerts, hospitals, car accidents, and selfies with celebrities. There are couriers giving orders to a client or moments when a frying pan with dinner turned into a blazing flame.
But such content is rather rare for BeReal, and it is difficult to find it. There is no ranking of posts by popularity – these birils can only become viral on other social networks.
People accidentally show too much to the whole world. The media is already recommending not to be “too real” and not to post in the workplace. In social networks, they joke that photos of correspondence in Slack or other working tools on a laptop can leak information from large companies.
Managers are really worried about this, and employees are wondering if they can be fired for biril from their jobs.
Users bypass restrictions and destroy the concept. A fairly common scenario is that users deliberately skip a notification for the sake of a good frame. Yes, then a note about being late will appear, but at the same time, there will be more time for an interesting post. But this destroys the very concept of BeReal – careful preparation for a photo is not much different from Instagram.
For those who do not want to be late, there are other ways. Services have already appeared that track when BeReal sends a notification in different regions. This also gives time to prepare and choose an interesting location or event for the biril. Verge notes that deliberately ignoring the rules destroys the very meaning of the application and deprives the social network of the factor for which it was loved.
People still don’t show “real” life. As The New Yorker columnist points out, users can’t help but show a staged version of themselves. When the notification catches you lying on the couch, the first reaction is to jump up and look for something interesting to shoot or just skip the push and “not be real” that day. According to the columnist, the difference between ordinary social networks and BeReal is only in the degree of deception that users resort to.
How Other Social Networks Copy BeReal Features
Amid the popularity of BeReal, other social networks began to add similar features. For example, Instagram introduced the Dual function, which allows you to simultaneously take photos or videos on the front and rear cameras in stories. Visually, it looks exactly the same as in BeReal, but there are no time-limited pushes.
Snapchat also added a dual camera feature. Here, users can choose how to position the two shots on the frame: side by side horizontally or vertically, round or inside each other. There are no notifications with a timer and restrictions on viewing friends’ posts if he himself has not published a photo.
The main features are the same as BeReal: TikTok Now sends users a notification once a day and prompts them to take a photo or video in a certain period of time. Users can’t see what their friends have posted until they publish their own posts. The only difference from BeReal is that TikTok Now allows you to shoot a ten-second video.