Is it Time to BeReal?

The Lempert Report
July 06, 2022

Share On today’s Bullseye we focus on a story that appeared in the Washington Post about food and social media – and how it has evolved far from a mere snap posted on Instagram to show how cool your eating habits are; and make your friends envious. Jess Eng, a food & features intern at The Post writes that on BeReal, you will find things Instagram and TikTok won’t show. Empty crawfish shells held by stained fingernails. Hastily made midnight snacks blurred by a shaky camera. Snapshots of that awkward period after ordering at a restaurant, minus the food. BeReal, she writes has been called “Gen Z’s new favorite social media app,” – it was launched in January 2020 as a response to the polished, hyper-curated feeds on Instagram and TikTok.

In the past year alone, BeReal has amassed more than 7.5 million users, which accounts for 75 percent of the app’s total downloads. The app is really simple to use. She explains. Once a day at a random time, BeReal sends you a push notification to post a photo. The BeReal photo — both a selfie and a frontal photo with no filter or edit options — must be taken within two minutes or else the post is tagged as “late.” To scroll on the BeReal feed, you must post once and only once each day. Surprisingly, retakes are allowed. When you first join the app, you can only follow accounts linked to your phone contacts and react to BeReals with a RealMoji, an emoji picture of your face in that moment. You can also swipe through the Discovery feed, a collection of random BeReals from around the world that anyone can post to. BeReal advertises itself as an “authentic, spontaneous, and candid” social media platform. And the app isn’t afraid to call out its competitors, and reject performative culture, on the iTunes App Store: “BeReal won’t make you famous, if you want to become an influencer you can stay on TikTok and Instagram.” Most BeReal users fall into the Gen Z crowd and follow a close circle of friends. BeReal vows to center authentic and spontaneous experiences, but the company recently raised a $30 million Series A round from venture capital company Andreessen Horowitz. When the Washington Post asked them to provide more information about their fundraising and app development, the BeReal public relations team declined to comment – not very “authentic and spontaneous” for sure.

Even so, BeReal is worth checking out and downloading. While I question just how spontaneous their food followers really are – the premise is interesting to me as it forces us to think quickly and to hone our thought processes – a skill that, observationally, I feel many are lacking these days.