BeReal forces users to be real with their photos

Instagram is great, but a new social media app shares photos of your friends “being real”.

Instagram is great for sharing photos. It’s fun scrolling through the feed to look at photos of your friends. But seriously, Instagram and Facebook don’t actually share the “real you”. Users make sure the lighting is perfect. They’ll add filters to brighten their smile, smooth their complexion, and even change the shape of their face.

    A new social media app that burst on the scene a few weeks ago aims to share photos of “the real you”. Authentic photos capture users doing what they are doing at a precise moment in time.

Everyone gets a notification at the same time, to take a photo

Once a day, BeReal users get a notification on their phone that it’s time to take a photo. You only have 2-minutes to get ready. The idea is to capture what everyone is doing at the same time. The “BeReal” app actually captures two photos simultaneously. One with the back camera showing what you’re doing at the moment, and one with the front camera that captures a photo of you.

   Don’t worry, the app does use the flash with both cameras if the room is too dark. The app doesn’t have filters though. However, you look at that moment is uploaded and shared. 

   The app doesn’t give you the opportunity to retake the photos either. If you don’t take the photo within the 2-minutes, users will see how long you waited. And there’s a temptation to wait until you’re doing something fun.

   My first “BeReal” was as I re-filled my coffee cup one afternoon. The next time I got a notification was sitting at my desk. The next day I was watching TV with a cat in my lap.

Tell Your Friends. Because they’re probably not using BeReal

   Since the app is so new, you probably won’t find many people, or even anyone to try it. Most of the users seem to be in their 20s. I persuaded one friend to try the app with me. Kelli Bartik’s first photo was from the break-room at work. I gotta admit, seeing what your friends are doing at the same exact time as you is pretty cool. I might even like BeReal better than Instagram once more of my friends join and start sharing photos.

   Another feature I like with BeReal is a “Memories” section where you can go take a look at your photos from each day. By the end of the year, I’ll have a bunch of snapshots of my routine life. I figure it should capture a bit of each time of day. Maybe photos of lunch with some of my friends, on vacation, how I spent the holidays. Your “Memories” section is only visible to you and once the next notification goes out, no one will be able to see your previous photo.

   BeReal is a free app for iPhones and Android devices. In its Help section, the app creators say they are working to add video clips.

New social media apps come and go but BeReal has something on its side that others do not. Authenticity.

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