The social media age
Social media has become so deep-rooted in today’s day and age, it might even be deemed an essential right. Meta platform apps namely Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp have been dominating the social media landscape for half a decade now, while the likes of TikTok, Twitter, and Snapchat have normalized social media as an integral part of everyday life for most users all around the world.
Social but not real
And the entire shtick of social media pivots around, inflating the need for validation by human beings. It’s where people measure their worth in terms of likes, comments, and shares. And everyone is constantly bombarded by these posts on feeds, stories, notifications, and messages. It’s the place where scores of brands are flooding their highly specific and targeted ads, driven by copious amounts of user data that’s highly personal.
And the algorithms that drive these apps push the content that’s more liked and viewed. So users tend to mimic such content in order to go viral. Hence the overuse of those app filters, photo editors, studio lights, and artificial enhancements to images and videos which are nowhere close to how they appear in real life. That’s why scrolling through Instagram feels like we have entered a whole new world, like a simulation, where everything looks awesome and flawless, but has no reality. And this has truly caused an epidemic of raising mental health issues and low self-esteem.
Be Real – To be real
And here comes the Be Real app, that’s completely antithetical to everything that drives social media today. The basic premise of the app is simple. Every day, at a random time, users will get a push notification on the app, which is valid for just 2 minutes. Users can then capture a dual photo which is made up of their face and what they’re currently doing. This basically strips away the glamour of social media, and everyday mundane and routine things that people do in their life will be shared. And this 2-minute limit makes sure that people don’t have time to set up or edit photos to look good. And photo retakes are counted too, so you would have to be careful not to take them multiple times even if you don’t look good.
And the app is completely barebones. There are just two feeds, namely Friends and Discovery. The Friends tab shows all the photos posted at that random time by your friends. Discovery feed lets you follow people and see their random posts. You can just comment and react to others’ posts. There are basically no ads and no curated content pushed by the app, unlike Instagram which promotes content from few users.
Be Real currently has more than 20 Million downloads across app platforms. It particularly shot to popularity in Q122 with 7 million people joining the app. It currently has 10M active users and a 600M dollars valuation.
With its massive popularity, more investors are queueing up to pour in the money. The app currently has no ads or monetization, but that’ll have to change to make money to pay back investors.
They’ll have to introduce more and more features to keep it relevant, which might dilute its goal of being real.
And Instagram, which is notorious for “copying” features, added dual photos, which is almost the same as Be Real. Who knows, Meta might even acquire BeReal one day like it bought Instagram and WhatsApp.
So with all these factors, it’s an uphill task for Be Real to both survive and thrive. But it made its mark on the social media world with its goal of being real and authentic.