BeReal Offers “Authentic” Social Media Experience. Are Users Buying It?


A new app, BeReal, has emerged and quickly become the new hot social media app sweeping Williston.

In an age where social media has become criticized for being “fake” and misleading, BeReal is, according to the company, the answer to this question of authenticity. Once a day, users are prompted to “Be Real.” They have two minutes to post a picture. The picture is taken first with the front camera, and then with the back camera. Users can post late but they cannot see their feed until they post, and posts are marked late if not taken in the allotted time.

BeReal has exploded out of seemingly nowhere into the Williston community. The app, started in 2019 by French entrepreneur Alexis Barreyat, and described as “casual Instagram” by Mashable, has been downloaded more than seven million times.

The app has steadily risen in popularity in 2022 with each month exceeding the last in downloads. Two million people downloaded the app in March, pushing it to the 46th most popular in the free apps in the Apple app store.

BeReal is the opposite of what would be considered a social media feed. Users can’t decide what they see; their friends’ posts dictate that. No one has a profile, or a public friends/followers count. The app feels more like a messaging app with friends than a social media app.

Natalie Stott, senior from Franklin Mass., heard about the app from a friend.

“I thought it sounded kind of fun and different than other social media apps, so I downloaded it and now I really like it!” she said.

Natalie said it feels less like typical social media and more “in the moment.”

“I think the name BeReal is fitting because it’s more in the moment and real,” she said. “BeReal is on the spot and there’s no planning involved, it just kind of documents who you are with and what you are up to, which I think is a cool and interesting concept.”

The question is whether the app will hold the interest of its young users. Other popular social apps, like Houseparty and Clubhouse, have exploded into the limelight and retreated to anonymity.

Not everyone shares the optimistic view of a more authentic form of social media. In a Buzzfeed article, Kate, a 25-year-old woman, felt more left out than with Instagram and other social media apps.

“It showed me last night that a bunch of our friends were celebrating one of my best friend’s engagements without me,” she said. “Literally made me feel worse than Instagram.”

With each new app that comes into popularity, the question is not if it will go out of style, but how quickly. For now, BeReal continues gripping Gen Z.