The BeReal photo sharing app is kind of boring.

The BeReal photo sharing app is kind of boring.

If the social platforms can be said to be good old days, then this is the time when people were still signing up to see if their friends were there, and to find out. Why – those early moments when their potential was realized but not yet articulated. This is what is happening now on BeReal, a new platform where people post pictures for their friends with a few twists and turns.

Once a day, at an unexpected time, BeReal notifies its customers that they have two minutes to post a pair of pictures, one taken simultaneously from each phone’s camera. The only way to see what other people have posted that day is to share. You can post after the two minute window closes, but all your friends will be notified that you are late. You can take a picture of your day again, but your friends will find out too. Your friends can reply to your posts with something called “RealMoji” – basically a selfie response, visible to all your connections. All photos disappear the next day.

Other platforms experiment with manipulative gamification. BeReal Is A game. Although the rules are simple – Post, now – The message is mixed. Don’t be too strict with yourself, just post whatever It suggests, ticking the clock. And then in a whisper: But don’t try too hard. (Barrell did not respond to email or Twitter requests for comment.)

As a result, the typical BeReal feed includes photos taken in class, at work, while driving, or getting ready for bed. Many people make funny or boring faces while doing fun or boring activities. It is good! Or at least not sad, which is very worth it these days.

Right now, BeReal feels more like a group activity than a complete social platform, a low-stakes diversion that doesn’t demand much, despite its direct demands. This is a random social break from your day, but also from your other feeds, where scrolling and posting has become a labor of opportunity or worse, as the Wall Street Journal reported on Instagram last year. The story goes on to say that the mental health of teenagers has been damaged. .

One of the founders of BeReal is a former employee of GoPro, and does this as a return to marketing experience and a return to authenticity of his experience, but, at least for this user, it may feel more attractive and outdated. Such as the experience of joining one. The dominant social network when they all still felt like toys. Look, my friends, it’s kind of fun, we’re doing this special thing together. What could be wrong?

BeReal, based in Paris, was founded in 2020, and by April of this year, according to the analytics firm Apptopia, it had been installed approximately 7.41 million times. The app has been in student newspapers for the past several months, noting the aggressive use of its paid campus ambassadors. In March, Bloomberg reported that the app was “trending in colleges.”

According to Pitchbook, the company raised about ً 30 million in venture funding last year, and a recent Insider report says the next round of funding is expected to be huge.

Buzzy new apps pop up all the time. Part of the appeal of their use is never knowing which one will last. The chance that an app becomes something important makes it attractive. Novelty and unpredictability eliminate the feeling that, Oh no, Here we go again. The high probability that a given platform will explode or disappear allows you to not worry too much about what you are doing there and where it may take you. ۔ It’s the best of all worlds, and it doesn’t last long.

My memories of signing up for services that change the course of history make desktop computers stand out. I am, for the purposes of this conversation, old. But when it comes to social networks, old memories are sharpened and rejuvenated.

“Posting on Instagram these days is a process,” said Brandon Co, a Stanford undergraduate. His parents follow him on SnapChat, which he advises has “reached its peak.” She joined BeReal in December after hearing about it from a friend. He appreciates the fact that this is temporary, less effort and “situation”. This social media is not a substitute for anything other than extracurricular.

“Even college students find it a little weird,” said Mr. Coe, 21.

Her classmate Oriana Riley, 19, agreed that the app asked her less than anyone else. “I think BeReal’s one-time aspect makes it feel a lot healthier than other social media uses,” said Ms. Riley. “It feels less stuck than other social media.”

BeReal is definitely not an anti-social media project – it’s a commercial social photo-sharing app that seeks to reach a large number of users within a largely familiar pattern. Most apps expect users to generate revenue through advertising, commerce and other forms of engagement.

BeReal is currently ad-free, and its terms of use prohibit users from posting. But it’s a startup, and one that has raised funds from some of the same firms that invested in Facebook and Instagram more than a decade ago – another app that tapped memories, just users. By providing film-like photo filters. Carry them.

What BeReal now offers is the latest version of an experiment that has been tainted or lost elsewhere. But most social apps want to be the next big thing, not the last one. Comfortable new app, which Ms. Riley describes as helping her feel “closer to her friends,” is her next hope for a big paycheck for investors.

If Instagram or SnapChat informs all its users daily that they have two minutes to post, it will be considered as frustrating spam. If TikTok asked its users to share a video before viewing anything else posted that day, as BeReal does, it wouldn’t feel like a way to promote trust or intimacy, but rather growth. The hacking service will feel like a breach. Random check-ins are fun among friends. On a scale, they are monitored.

That doesn’t mean that if it continues to grow, the big platform won’t copy BeReal or try to buy it: SnapChat, Instagram and now Twitter users with features like close friends and Twitter circles less self. Encouraging to post consciously. They too long for the good old days.

BeReal is blunt but makes its point well: If you spend a lot of time in spaces that demand you to be interesting, you end up bored. Expecting your friends to see unusual posts makes users more open with each other and with themselves. Pictures of keyboards, sidewalks, pets and children, tables and walls, and lots of screens, all with flawed framed faces, may not feel brand new or durable. But for now, for some people, they feel comfortable.


There is a contextual column that explores the edges of digital culture.

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