Social media app BeReal gains popularity

“Anti-Instagram” app appeals to teens through genuine posts


BeReal, a social media app originally launched in 2019, is rapidly gaining popularity with Generation Z users. McLean students are slowly flocking to the app, drawn by its premise of expressing authenticity.

“It gives you a two minute window out of the day to show what you’re doing right this minute, with no filters or editing,” sophomore Hanna Rosenbloom said. “It shows the raw state that you are in, without the hard editing and posing that other social media websites have.”

The app sends a push notification giving users a two-minute time frame to send no-frills photographs from the front and back camera simultaneously—preventing users from hiding behind the lens. It’s a stark contrast to the carefully chosen and choreographed images popular on apps such as Instagram. 

“A lot of my friends had it, and I thought that it was a cool concept to have a social media platform that was totally unfiltered and genuine,” Rosenbloom said.

The app mainly differs from other social media sites because of its two minute time frame. It forces users to share moments that allow friends to see what they are doing throughout the day; users can’t choose when to share. 

“I downloaded BeReal the day after prom, when everyone was posting themselves tired from the night before,” senior Julianna McFarland said. “It was a good way to connect with other people, and I like how people are comfortable posting themselves in their day-to-day life.”

BeReal has become increasingly popular at McLean in recent months because of the connectivity it fosters for its users. Similar to other social media platforms, users have a mechanism for “friending” people, though they’re only permitted to do so once they post a BeReal of their own. 

“Instagram…shows only the best versions of people,” McFarland said. “I think BeReal is contributing to more people feeling comfortable using social media without pressure to look their best, because that’s not real life.” 

BeReal posts’ genuine nature has proven to be the most significant appeal to teenagers, who face debilitating pressure to share romanticized renditions of their lives. 

“Social media can be hard on my mental health sometimes, because I often compare myself to the pictures I see on Instagram,” Rosenbloom said. “[BeReal] reminds me that everyone is human and not everyone looks their best self all the time.” 

Students have positively reacted to the growing popularity of the app, as it fosters more unique connections between users.

“It’s more real than any of my other social media apps,” Peterson said. “I feel like I have made better connections with a lot of people.”