From Instagram envy and selfie dysmorphia to destructive YouTube and TikTok trends encouraging people to eat Tide pods, slap their teachers, and steal Kias, social media has become more like antisocial media, amirite? But don’t fret! In a classic tech-world solution, here comes more tech to save the day. A new app called BeReal purports to bring us back to the good old days (say, 10 years ago) when people kept their social media vibe messy and realistic, oversharing on Facebook and sending boobies on Snapchat. What an innocent time.
The premise is simple: The app prompts users to post within a two-minute window at a random time every day, generating a social media footprint that is spontaneous, unfiltered, and therefore “real.” The app captures a moment with both the front-facing and selfie cam, creating a hybrid view that simultaneously shows the face of the poster and whatever they are up to at that moment. If you take more than two minutes to post, BeReal will let your friends know that you took extra time to fix your hair, kick your best friend’s boyfriend out of your bed, or find a cute animal to showcase.
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“Maybe what we all just wanted was an app to see photos of your friends,” BeReal tweeted. No, BeReal, what we want is a government accountable to the will of the people, fair wages, time to rest, loving connection, global climate action, and our basic human needs met, but okay. The French platform is currently ranked number one on the Apple App Store’s “Top Free Apps” chart.
Of course, the Internet wasted less than no time memefying BeReal to the hilt, posting speculative #BeReal moments for Drake, Martha Stewart, and pretty much everyone else under the sun. The volume of BeReal memes has clearly overwhelmed the platform, which begged for mercy on Twitter last week.
But there will be no mercy. You want to #bereal about it? The internet is a vampire, BeReal, and it is set to draaaaain. Just hang on for the ride.
Already, the takes are coming hot and fast, with The Cut quoting early reviews of the app that highlight the “delightful way in which this forces an authenticity” and how the BeReal feed is “aggressively normal” in a good way. Yes, there can be no drawbacks if we continue to aggressively normalize the self-commodification of every living moment! The app is free, which means your data is up for grabs! It’s fine! It’s normal! Here’s more memes!!!
If you don’t understand the memes, congratulations, you’re too old for BeReal — but don’t worry, dinosaur! Instagram has already twigged onto the platform so you’ll soon be seeing BeReals clogging up your feed, already cluttered with targeted advertising, TikToks that break off at key moments, wellness memes, reels, and — ever so occasionally, like a unicorn appearing in the mist, only to disappear when you blink — a still frame picture of someone you care about. What a time to be alive.