Social Media Gets Real with BeReal

Have  you heard about the social media platform named BeReal? Usually, when the word “new” is attached to something, it means a cutting-edge breakthrough. That’s not the case with BeReal. Nothing slick, nothing fancy. In short, BeReal lives up to its name. And it is a platform to watch.

What’s the deal with BeReal?

In a recent article published in VICE, Katie Way explains the appeal of BeReal, which is all about users of the platform spontaneously snapping and posting raw photos upon receiving a “push” notification. (This is what the early days of social media used to be like.) By the next day, the photos vanish—which is very similar to Snapchat’s modus operandi. BeReal could, in essence, be considered a “retro” social media platform. 

The appeal of BeReal

The appeal—and unofficial “rule”— of this platform are that photos are not to be touched up or altered with sophisticated software. It’s *snap* and *post*. This underlines the “real” of “BeReal.” As Ms. Way points out, this platform is a return to social media before it became—as she believes—“like a performance.” Ultimately, BeReal is all about connecting with friends—which is the only activity one can do with this platform. No news stories or infographics are interspersed with the online connections with friends in feeds. It’s just friends and friends alone.

A paradox?

Another unique feature about BeReal is that it is difficult to use. The push notifications are (as Ms. Way states) “wonky,” and some of the camera features are temperamental and distort the image areas in photographs. The amount of time and activity where a user can scroll is limited. This in fact may be a deliberate move on the creators of BeReal, as users tend to open, check, and close out within short bursts of time—curtailing the hours that may be spent on many other social media platforms.

The future of BeReal

Ms. Way believes that BeReal will be gone in a short period of time, likely because the platform is counter to how other, more popular sites operate. People may get bored quickly and not stay with it for long. But who knows? In time, BeReal may be another powerful venue because the site’s foundation of user-generated content might grow in popularity. Could it be used in marketing? That’s too early to predict. 

Just be watchful. And be real.

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