What is BeReal? Why the app is skyrocketing in popularity

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BeReal urges users to share their real lives with their friends. As of April 6, the app is ranked ninth for social networking in the App Store.

Screengrab from BeReal

An app that considers itself “not another social network,” and aims for authenticity between friends has been showing big growth among college students in particular.

It’s called “BeReal,” and has been downloaded 3.2 million times in the first quarter of 2022 alone, Mashable reported.

The app promises users an inventive and unique way to discover “who your friends really are in their daily life,” according to its website.

The premise behind the app founded in 2020 is simple: At some random point during the day, the app will urge the user to send a photo of themselves and another that shows what they are doing right then and there.

The app will take a photo with both the front and back cameras to create two photos showing the entire scope of the person’s surroundings at the moment. You’re instructed to be quick about it — you’re supposed to post within two minutes of the notification.

If you think you can get away with simply lurking on your feed without posting, think again. The app doesn’t allow you to see — and comment on — what your friends have posted as their BeReal until you post.

“BeReal is your chance to show your friends who you really are, for once,” the developer says in the app description.

However, you can retake your photo multiple times before posting it.

The app, which was initially launched in France, warns that this social media platform is not the key to an influencer lifestyle.

“BeReal won’t make you famous [I]f you want to become (an) influencer you can stay on TikTok and Instagram,” the app’s description says.

People can use the app to check in with their friends, and you can check a live feed of people posting from around the world.

“This app breaks barriers,” wrote one reviewer. “You can’t post something planned, it’s random and it’s real. It gives you a real glimpse in people’s lives.”

Sometimes users are caught at odd times during the day, but it can add to the fun of the app.

“Sometimes it catches you on the toilet. It adds a bit of humor to your day if it does,” added another reviewer.

It’s especially been a hit on college campuses, bringing friends from close by and far apart together.

BeReal is climbing up the ladder on the App Store. As of April 6, it ranked ninth in social networking apps.

“BeReal is a really fun way for us to keep in touch,” Kelly Young, a college student at Drexel University, told Mashable. “And it’s the most realistic insight into what our lives are like now.”

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Mariah Rush is a National Real-Time Reporter. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and has previously worked for The Chicago Tribune, The Tampa Bay Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer.