After I first heard of a brand new social media app known as BeReal, I knew I needed to attempt it. 

The app payments itself because the “anti-Instagram.” It takes the fundamental idea of the ‘gram — an endless-scroll feed of your folks’ slice-of-life pictures — and revamps it into one thing extra gamified and (a bit of) much less phony. These days it is turn out to be wildly in style.

Here is the way it works: Day-after-day, at a random and unpredictable time, the BeReal app sends you and everybody else on the app a push notification: It is “Time to BeReal.” You then have two minutes to take a photograph concurrently utilizing each your back and front digital camera and submit to the feed. Should you do not submit, you possibly can’t take a look at your folks’ posts both. Should you submit late (or retake the shot a number of occasions to get the precise angle), the app will rat on you to your folks. When the subsequent day’s notification is available in, everybody’s earlier pictures disappear.

The gamification comes from BeReal’s once-a-day posting restraint; the authenticity comes from the truth that you do not get to select the place or once you submit, and you may’t use a filter to clean your pores and skin or appropriate the colour of your avocado toast or no matter.

It really sounded loads like Wordle to me: A two-minute break out of your day to finish a enjoyable little process in your telephone earlier than returning to the grind or the doomscroll or, most probably, one in every of your different social media apps. And crucially, like Wordle, BeReal can solely be “achieved” as soon as a day. 

What it is like to make use of BeReal

Three BeReal posts showing the Kentucky Derby on TV, the view from a balcony overlooking a courtyard, and a child in a high chair, with selfies overlaid.

A sampling of my BeReal posts.


Karisa Langlo/CNET

I began recruitment by placing feelers out in a few my current group chats. I had a hunch the app could be extra of a enjoyable group exercise than a real social feed, for a similar purpose I typically nonetheless trade Wordle (or Worldle, Heardle, or Antiwordle) outcomes over textual content however cannot perceive why anybody remains to be tweeting them.

Not being a member of Gen Z myself, I knew it might be tough to persuade sufficient mates to hitch me. My invitations had a couple of 50% success price. One buddy could not get previous the standard AI-training paranoia round novelty photo-sharing apps. One other buddy: “This appears like a entice.” My very own partner left me on learn.

The buddies who did take the bait started posting gamely, typically pictures of their laptops or cats or protein powder. Most of the time, my very own BeReal entrance digital camera pictures had been unflattering ones of my weary, grumpy face whereas my again digital camera captured my son smearing ketchup round his highchair tray. As soon as, I posted the identical view from my balcony {that a} dinner visitor Instagrammed (and filtered the heck out of). Hers undoubtedly appeared higher.

You possibly can’t technically win BeReal like you possibly can Wordle, however I quickly got here to know the actual satisfaction of attaining the trifecta: capturing an attention-grabbing tableau, taking a flattering selfie and posting all of it on time. There’s a component of luck, too, for those who occur to be someplace cool when it is time to be actual and never in your sofa or, as one in every of my mates feared, on the bathroom.

“Hoping that I get the notification throughout my thrilling moments and never once I’m pooping,” he texted me at some point. The day by day anticipation round when it might arrive, he added, is “like a Jack within the field.”

Phone with 2 minute notification from BeReal app

BeReal notifies you on daily basis at a random time, with solely two minutes to submit a photograph.


Sarah Tew/CNET

I “misplaced” BeReal a number of occasions: when the notification arrived after I might gone to mattress, was presenting throughout a camera-on Zoom assembly or was driving on the freeway. However I completely gained on the day the two-minute window coincided with the “biggest two minutes in sports activities,” and I acquired a snap of my Kentucky Derby fascinator and Wealthy Strike crossing the end line on TV.

Learn extra: After Immediately’s Wordle, Attempt These 21 Different Puzzle Video games

How actual is BeReal, actually?

Of my BeReal mates, 100% have plans to delete the app after this text publishes. All of them took concern not with the app’s spurious claims to authenticity however with its calls for on their time.

“Getting the alert, particularly throughout the workday or at night time once I would not usually be taking pictures or posting something, was a bit of aggravating,” one buddy stated.

“This app form of highlights that ideally I need management over social media and never the opposite means round,” one other buddy instructed me. 

“I felt a bit of responsible if I did not submit on daily basis,” a 3rd admitted.

If Wordle tried to dictate what time all of us solved the puzzle on daily basis, would the plenty have turned on it by now? (Look what occurred to HQ Trivia.) 

However I am personally extra within the “Actual” than the “Be.”

The vibe on BeReal is definitely extra nostalgic than genuine. Extra early-Instagram than anti-Instagram. My favourite a part of BeReal was the permission – nay, obligation – to submit goofy selfies and capitulate to the adolescent egocentrism that also lurks beneath my now over-orchestrated grid. Folks do not give a crap what I ate for lunch, however I need them to know, dammit! One in all my first Insta posts was only a photograph of some Finger Palms finger puppets I discovered at a joke store and thought had been humorous, and I miss posting stuff like that. 

There would not appear to be an urge for food on Instagram anymore for the detritus of day by day life. As an alternative of Instagramming the locations we go to, we now simply go to Instagrammable locations. Whereas Instagram has been taken over by influencers and “creators” posting Reels and memes, BeReal takes a unique tack, as said in its app retailer itemizing: “If you wish to turn out to be an influencer you possibly can keep on TikTok and Instagram.”

Then once more, “informal posting” and photograph dumps are having fun with some reputation because the pendulum swings in favor of a rawer aesthetic. And lots of the memes clogging my Insta feed are of the behind-the-scenes, “Instagram vs. Actuality” persuasion. Plus, possibly the ephemerality and informality of Tales already form of satiates that need for the “actual.” 

Whenever you consider it that means, BeReal is extra of a gimmick than a harbinger of social media change. And that is a disgrace, as a result of even when nobody on this aspect of 30 agrees with me, I kinda adore it! Like Snapchat or TikTok, possibly it’s going to ultimately be subsumed or reproduced inside Instagram itself as an non-compulsory characteristic. 

Or like Wordle, possibly it is nothing greater than a digital curiosity that we’ll at some point describe as “enjoyable whereas it lasted.” 

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