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03rd May 2022

What is BeReal? The new social media platform taking Ireland by storm

Hugh Carr

Have you downloaded it yet?

You may have already seen it happening; a gang of young ones sitting at a table, before one of them shouts “BE REAL!”, at which point they all pull out their phones to take pictures of each other.

It’s not a 21st century version of a game of ‘Floor is Lava’, however; it’s the social media app taking the country by storm, BeReal.

The app has actually been around for longer than its explosive popularity would have you believe.

French developer Alexis Barreyat published the app in 2020, but it hasn’t seen mainstream success until the past few months.

The app notifies all of its users at a random time that it’s time to take a photo of both your front and back camera on your phone.

You have two minutes to post, and if you’re late, all of your friends are notified, so that they can point and laugh at you for not being on the ball at all times.

There’s no way to plan when your BeReal notification will arrive; hundreds of TikToks show young people waiting at landmarks for the notification to come through so that they can flex that they’ve been to the Eiffel Tower, as opposed to the McDonald’s across from the Moulin Rouge.

@jackowenstheworld @BeReal. ♬ original sound – ??????

The app describes itself as a “a new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life”.

In some ways, this is true; there are no filters, no advertisements, nothing personable on the app except for seeing what your friends are getting up to.

With one post in total a day, the app feels like the anti-Instagram; a drip feed of information from your friends as opposed to a deluge of content from anyone, anywhere, any time.

The gimmick of only being able to post once a day may wear off however, and it will be interesting to see what sort of developments, if any, the developers will implement to keep users from leaving, without changing the inherent attractiveness of the app.

After all, we all remember what happened when Vine moved to videos longer than six seconds.

BeReal is available for free on the App Store and on Google Play.

This writer’s BeReal from today, in case you were wondering.