How fun and easy to use is the new social media app BeReal? We ask two people, 15 years apart in age, to weigh in
BeReal. File pic
New app on the block, BeReal, is catching on in India, and challenging users to shed the need for validation and perfection, and capture their lives, warts and all. You can post only once a day, and have two minutes to frame and click a picture—and the composition has to also capture your activity since the photograph is taken from the front and back camera simultaneously. Pass the time limit, and the photograph is posted with details of how much you overshot the time by and how many retakes you needed. Ouch.
We spoke to two professionals, whose work involves putting themselves out there, and asked them whether they are able to keep it real.
Latha Sunadh, 40, Digital manager at an FMCG
“It was about time there came an app free of commercials. Some young people on my team introduced me to it, and I already have 30 people on my friend list. I am tech savvy and like to stay on top of the social game, also because it is a part of my job. BeReal is intriguing. There is no curation, nor does the exhaustion of being perfect come into play. I treat it as a personal app for updates of people around me; unlike the other apps, where an influencer or advertisement pops up every two minutes. All the normal people are getting lost there in the algorithm; as am I. BeReal feels like a part of my life, as opposed to feeling like I am living in it.
I have posted so many photos with a double chin! And because of the time constraint, some of them have incomplete captions and short forms that people thought I was adapting to the GenZ lingo. It’s difficult to adjust both your front and back cameras in just two minutes.
I also like the real-time execution; it brings down the time wasted clicking perfect pictures. Then the pictures go into Memories, and it’s nice to see what I did through the week, especially for a busy person like me. I can reflect and feel good.
Also that BeReal takes the initiative and prompts me to post is preferred over consciously thinking about what to post, when. I have accepted that other apps are not personal, and treat them for informational purposes. This app is personal; it’s growing on me.
Digbijoy Ghose, 25, Budding photographer
“I have been on the app for four months, and it breaks the monotonous life of glamour that social media has enforced. This brings social media back to its root of being weird and fun. I follow artists and photographers on other apps, but the algorithms make it boring. If I like one doodle, I am bombarded with doodles, leaving no space for anything else. And digging up accounts again and again is a waste of time. Similarly, its difficult to get updates about my friends—it’s all ads and influencers. People take themselves too seriously. In the mission to curate and heavily edit the photographs, originality is lost. I don’t want to give in to the pressure of being perfect all the time. As a photographer, I challenge myself to compose a frame within two minutes or just be myself. How you look at that very moment is important. I like imperfection and having fun unabashedly. I [get to be] crazy and funny on the app.
It does not, strictly speaking, perform the function of social media unless you have a community on it. I have only seven or eight friends so far and it has been fun. I hope more people join the party soon.
Though I am still on the other social media apps, now I only download them when I want to upload something, and then promptly uninstall. BeReal saves me from scrolling mindlessly, and doesn’t prompt me every minute to open the app. Just one picture of your friends throughout the day is enough to know what they are doing. I hope the app stays this way. On the downside, I cannot share every interesting thing that happens, but that’s life.
Some people have already found a way to get around the notifications and upload late, but the time stamp shows how late you have posted. Once, I missed the notification to click and only saw it at 2 am. Wondering what to upload then, I tried to capture the ambience of my room, with red lights and all. If you stick to rules, it’s thrilling.