One of the editors of TheVerge, Casey Newton in a short article shared their thoughts on the social network that is currently gaining popularity in the world — BeReal. It is only two years old and probably at the time of its launch it was not the best time for such an idea due to the pandemic that started a couple of months later. But now the application is the leader among downloads.

The idea of ​​BeReal is quite simple: once a day, the user receives a notification from the application (⚠️ Time to BeReal. ⚠️), which requires a reaction – the user has two minutes to take a photo, which is then published in the feed to friends. The photo is taken by the front and main cameras at the same time. If you do not publish your photo, you cannot see the feed with photos of your friends.

During this week, the application is at the top of the American App Store. According to the estimates of various marketing companies, it was downloaded 20-30 million times, and in a week it could reach 333 thousand downloads. There was no immediate success, and popularity began to come only at the beginning of this year, when BeReal began to be jokingly discussed, ironically, in other social networks.

And now the company is valued at $600 million. 

“We want to make people feel good about themselves and their lives. We want an alternative to addictive social networks fueling social comparison and portraying life with the goal of amassing influence,” says the company’s booklet, which it sends out instead of interviews with journalists.

Interestingly, this Newsletter ends with a section marked “⚠️ WARNING ⚠️” which states, among other things, that “BeReal can be addictive”, “BeReal will frustrate you” and “BeReal won’t make you famous”.

If you want to become an influencer, you can stay on TikTok or Instagram.

Casey believes that success starts with a certain rule that exists in social networks. 140 characters for a tweet, 6 seconds on Vine is the same two minutes to take a photo on BeReal.

BeReal also adds a sense of nostalgia. With a new social network, you can again find yourself at the start of “something big”, and also be yourself in the circle of close friends.

Separately, Casey notes that BeReal can feel weird. But it depends on the personal experience of each individual user.

Here is a friend typing on a laptop. Here is a friend feeding his dog. Here is a friend staring at a wall of faces on Zoom. The old joke about Twitter is that it was a bunch of people posting about what they were having for breakfast. In 2022 people are posting their breakfast on BeReal, and there is no sense in which it is meant to be a joke.

And the main idea of ​​BeReal is that during this unspecified user time, he has only two minutes to take real photos. This does not allow you to choose the perfect angle and lighting, but it allows you to show yourself as real.

One friend who was an early adopter of BeReal told me that ugliness is the heart of the app’s appeal. He has accepted fewer than five friend requests, he said, for fear that the app would become Instagram stories all over again. “I love how shitty the content is,” he told me of his BeReal feed. “The key ingredient is adding people you’re happy to look shitty in front of.”

Another part of BeReal’s success is complaining about what other social networks like Instagram are turning into. Obscure actions with the photo feed, too many ads, strange recommendations, etc.

Casey also agrees that, like Wordle, BeReal gives users a sense of a universal online experience where everyone gets notifications and shows what they were doing at the same time. And it attracts users.

On the other hand, if the user does not make it in time, and publishes photos later, they receive the corresponding mark — Late. Because of this, an interesting idea is destroyed, because many users do this.

And what does it all lead to?

Every year or so, a promising new social network bubbles up to the surface. You can probably name the biggest of these: Mastodon, Peach, Ello. I’ve come to think of them as pop-up restaurants. Their arrival in the neighborhood stirs momentary excitement among the early-adopter crowd, who enjoy the novelty of the experience and the sensation of being first. But pop-up restaurants are not built to last, and a few weeks later everyone goes back to eating Chipotle.

Casey also predicts the fate of BeReal, mentioning Clubhouse, whose time is running out, as well as its popularity. In addition, nothing will prevent other major social networks from copying similar functions. And it will be possible to talk about the success of BeReal if in six months users will receive notifications about “⚠️ Instagram Time ⚠️”.

In the meantime, though, I’m enjoying my new daily distraction. I’m adding only friends who I’m happy to look shitty in front of.. It would be too much to say that I’m being real. But whatever I’m doing on this app, for the moment I’m enjoying it.