Recently, there has been a significant push towards authenticity in social media. This has manifested in Instagram 'casual posting' and 'photo dumps'. This phenomenon has now been embodied in the new and upcoming social media app BeReal. 


You may have seen someone take a BeReal recently after getting a notification for the app. BeReal launched in December 2019 but, according to NBC News, has been one of the 10 most downloaded free social networking apps for iPhones almost every day in this month of April.


The app is most popular among Gen Z. This follows as this generation spent their formative years accustomed to photo sharing. BeReal is a social media platform aiming to combat the main problems associated with photo-sharing social media. Every day at a different time, all BeReal users will simultaneously receive a notification asking them to capture and share a Photo in 2 Minutes. The strict timing surrounding photo sharing (retakes and lateness are published alongside the photo) means users share the more mundane details, less instagrammable, of their life. Due to the randomised timing, there is little time for airbrushing reality. 


BeReal claims to offer the opportunity to know the day-to-day lives of our friends better. The social or communal aspects of the app are emphasised as in order to see the daily BeReals of others you must publish your own. 


The app has echoes of Snapchat which has long been a medium for sending disappearing photos to friends. This parallel is enforced through comparisons to Snapchat stories, which can be private and only shared with select friends or shared with all friends, and disappears after 24 hours. What sets BeReal apart is lack of filters, which have now become inextricable with photo-sharing social media, and it's time constraints. BeReal campaigns for less selective sharing and a projection of life’s sometimes unexceptional realities which one would not usually feel worthy of posting or compelled to share with an audience.


The most followed users of Instagram, the paragon, have strongly curated a personal brand and often unrealistic image of themselves highlighting such qualities such as wealth, and beauty within rigid standards. With postured social media there is an obvious divide between highly choreographed and edited pictures and one’s personal life BeReal aims to with a high post frequency and push towards authenticity erodes the barrier between online and ‘real’ self or life. Although BeReal avoids this phenomenon a new issue is introduced: the blurring of one’s brand and personhood. Concerns about how one might appear to a wider audience permeate one’s daily life and the looming unexpected ding of a BeReal notification compels one to be comfortable with eroding their privacy and making their private life public, judgeable and savable. This allows, as Bereal claims, friends' personal lives to be easily and accessibly mutually illuminated. This is made possible through deconstructing the usual methods of intrapersonal connection that preceding the reception of personal insights usually leads to lead in exchange for broadcasting spontaneous selfies. BeReal is in this sense the height of postmodernism.


In conclusion, BeReal epitomises the push towards publish authenticity also seen in the rising consumer movement towards skincare products (rather than heavy makeup), instagram casual posting or photo dumps and the body positivity movement through disallowing a highly curated and unrealistic to be public shared in favour of a more fun and spontaneous embrace of day to day activities in photoform. Through rigid limitations of photo sharing a new freedom from public expectations of a branded persona apart from personal reality is achieved.