BeReal is Gen Z’s new favorite social media application. Here’s how it works: NPR


BeReal launched in 2020, but has boosted its download list this year.

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BeReal launched in 2020, but has boosted its download list this year.

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If you have not heard of the BeReal app and you are not a member of Gen Z, you will be forgiven. The use of social media is the latest to attract the attention of the younger generation – and its popularity is growing rapidly.

This year alone, downloads have increased by at least 315%, according to data from Apptopia.

What is BeReal?

BeReal says social media can be time consuming and stressful, but it aims to change that.

Here’s how it works. You will receive a notification from the application once a day. It tells you that it’s time to post your BeReal that day and that you have two minutes to do so. Your friends should receive notification at the same time.

The idea is to photograph whatever you were doing at the time, no matter how casual or excited. You may be notified while walking to class, on the bus to work, or while sitting down to dinner or riding a bike.

You take a photo of what you do with your rear camera, while your phone takes a photo of you with your front camera – surprise!

That’s all. There are no filters or third-party apps to change your look. Reviews are allowed, and you can post even if you miss the window, but in both cases, your friends will see that you took the picture again or posted it too late.

The parameters in use are billed as “a new and unique way to find out who your friends really are in your daily life”.

Users can see where their friends are on the map and find other publicly published BeReals. Before you can see someone else’s post that day, you need to post your own photos.

Why is it so popular now?

BeReal’s 315% year-to-date increase in downloads is significant, but not the only significant number. The app was launched by French entrepreneur Alexis Barroyd in 2020, but in the first quarter of 2022 at least 65% of lifetime downloads took place.

The app targets college students with its ambassador program and it seems to be working.


BeReal encourages users to participate by asking them to share content before viewing other people’s posts.

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BeReal encourages users to participate by asking them to share content before viewing other people’s posts.

Vin Davis / NPR

Meredith Mல்லller is a sophomore at the University of Kansas. M முller downloaded BeReal two weeks ago.

“I downloaded it, typed in my information, and then it brought out all my contacts with people who already existed,” M முller said. “I’m never heard of it, does everyone in my contacts already have it?”

BeReal has quickly become one of M முller’s favorite social media applications.

“It’s so much fun to take a break from my whole day and go out there and see what people are doing at the moment and where people are all day,” he said.

In total, M முller said he has about 50 friends on BeReal, which is far less than the 2,000 or more followers he has on Instagram. Unlike Instagram or Snapshot, Mல்லller says there is pressure to “be beautiful” and he thinks the beer doesn’t have that fake feel.

“Snapshot is like sending this to one person, and if you post in your story, you are trying to be beautiful,” he said. “It’s like … wherever you are, no matter what you do, you’re stopping at this point and all your friends can see it. It’s like a down-to-earth application. I would say it’s like a non-judgmental area.”

Want to change the BeReal game?

The lack of quotations, filters and timestamps that individuals make on other social media sites is part of trying to be a beer. The goal seems to be to provide a closer look at your life.

Chris Stedman, editor IRL: Discovering our true self in the digital world, He says, lowering their security and wanting places where they can be themselves, but not a bad thing in the curating of other applications. In fact, it may be a very humanitarian thing.

Stedman began working on his book after going through a difficult moment in his life, and found that he did not tell that story online, where he posted that everything was fine.

“A big part of why I wrote this is because I was trying to figure out if the Internet is a place where we humans can feel,” he said. “But the truth of the matter is, there is nothing better for man than to heal a self that you share with the world.”

Highlights of your personal life are not new, Steadman said. Family photo albums or home-made movies from childhood are also snapshots of the best moments.

Stedman did not use BeReal and said he was unlikely to do so, but he could see why General Z might prefer the app.

“One of the biggest challenges people realize on social media is that I watch everyone else’s highlight reel, but I enjoy the fullness of my own life with all the trivial things,” Stedman said. “To get this reminder that everyone else’s life is mostly made up of mundane moments, I can certainly see some value in that.”

Perial Steadman seems to act like some of the group chats he already has in his life, he said. These are the places where every photo needs to be polished, where friends can share links and be very close about the details of their lives.

Overall, as Steadman says, the key factor to consider when you connect with friends on DMs or large social platforms is how exactly you do it.

“Ultimately, no matter what platform you are on, the most important thing is to be deliberate and attentive about why you use the sites in the first place and what you are trying to get out of them,” says Steadman.

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