Social media app BeReal topped the Apple App Store charts this summer and currently sits at #2 on the charts, attracting crowds with its once-a-day posting format.
Although the app has been around since late 2019, it gained the majority of its following over two years later. After 12.8 million downloads in the United States in July 2022, BeReal took first place in social networking in the Apple App Store.
According to data analysis by Vincent Zhou, BeReal’s reach is wide; Users from all over the world have signed up, with people from the United States, France, and the United Kingdom making up the majority of users. Smartphone users of all ages joined the BeReal community, although according to Zhou, the majority of users in the United States fall within the Gen Z and Millennial age groups.
The app sends a notification to all users every day at a time previously unknown to the public. The notification prompts all users to post two photos at once: a photo of themselves with the front-facing camera and another with the rear-facing camera to show what they’re doing.
After the notification is sent, users have two minutes to take and post their photo. You can still post after that two-minute window, but friends looking at the photos will see they posted “late.” Users can interact with each other by leaving comments on each other’s posts or respond with their own selfies – called “Realmojis” in the app.
Some students say this format creates an optimal space to keep in touch with friends and family. Bekah Dixon, a BYU student and BeReal user, said she likes the ability BeReal gives her to keep track of what her friends are doing.
“One of my friends who lives far away suggested we use it so we can see each other more,” Dixon said.
BeReal claims to keep things more realistic than other social media, saying it’s “not another social media platform” and encouraging real interactions between users.
Users like BYU student Rebecca Jeromimo agree with this claim. After seeing her friends post about BeReal on Instagram, Jeromimo decided to take a look at what all the fuss was about. After using the app, Jeromimo felt that BeReal allowed users to be more authentic in the content they posted.
“I think one of the main differences with BeReal is that it doesn’t have any filters,” Jeronimo said.
Dixon agreed that BeReal differs in purpose and experience from other social media apps.
“I think it feels different,” Dixon said. “I feel no pressure to wait to post unless I’m doing something interesting, and I don’t just sit and scroll. I only look through it once or twice to react to what my friends are doing.”
Because of BeReal’s unique posting format, some users consider the platform a safe place to post and feel more inclined to share parts of their lives that may seem relatively mundane or unimportant. Dixon said the app has given her helpful insights into how her friends are doing. For example, when she sees that a friend may not have left his room for a while, she feels encouraged to reach out to him.
“It’s nice because they wouldn’t post that anywhere else,” Dixon said.
BYU student Emily Coonce, who downloaded BeReal this summer to keep in touch with friends, said she feels BeReal still has a similar structure to other social media platforms.
“I see a difference in the format and the way you post, but for me it’s still really just social media‘ said Coonce. “You can still pose where you want, repeat it as many times as you want, and you can post late — it doesn’t really have to be what you’re doing right now.”
The number of daily users of BeReal has continued to grow rapidly, reaching 10 million daily users in August. It also remains at the top of the Apple App Store charts, currently at #2, beating out other established apps like WhatsApp and Facebook.