We Tried BeReal – Here’s What We Thought of this Anti-Instagram

Kennedy BeReal feature imageI have to be honest: I’m tired of social media. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, all of it! I think we’re all stocked on algorithm-driven timelines, so I’m never too excited when a new app joins the herd. That feeling was the same when I heard about BeReal, a supposed anti-Instagram that’s spreading like crazy.

Over 20 million people have downloaded it so far, with hundreds of thousands joining in a day’s time. I was skeptical of the hype, so I asked my fellow Blogiwriters to test it with me. But before I get into their reviews, here’s how BeReal works.

What is BeReal?

BeReal is a French app that dropped in 2020. The app only lets users post once a day, preferably during a 2-minute window that comes at a random time. If you post late, the app tells everyone just how late you were. There are no filters, there’s no algorithm, and each post shows the view from your front and back camera, leaving little room to hide. Also, and this is the kicker, you can’t see your friends’ posts until yours is up, too. Yeah, it’s very different.

Now that you know the gist, here’s our team’s take on whether BeReal is really worth it. 

Cassey (@blogilates), Rating: 6/10

The fact that you only have to post once a day makes the anticipation exciting, almost like a game! On the other hand, everyone’s hopping on at the same time, so sometimes I miss my 2 min window because the app is crashing. The front and back cam situation is scary and makes it tough to get a good angle on BOTH sides (which is the point). It’s fun to do with friends, but I think they need to gamify it and give you more points for how quickly you post, and then decrease points for late posts! Now that’s the realest!

Jen-Ai (@jen.ai), Rating: 8/10

Jen Ai BeReal image

I feel the realest on BeReal. I love that it hits you at random times, and there are definitely moments when I’m like, “Wow, this would be a great BeReal moment,” but like life, you can’t control it. Social media has become so curated, and as someone who is a “one-sided” social media user (it takes me a lot to even like someone else’s post), I love BeReal. It’s quick, easy, and you feel comfortable in your own realness because everyone is showing that version of themselves.

Also, maybe this is kind of weird, but I love seeing the other parts of people’s lives that don’t make it infeed. Their taste in interior design, what they really do at 8 p.m. on a Thursday—it’s enlightening… or creepy? You decide. One thing that has actually creeped me out is that you can see people’s EXACT locations if they let you. I don’t love that, and the fact that there are like zero settings in their app is confusing.

Jennifer (@jenjohnson6120), Rating: 2/10

Jennifer BeReal

BeReal, I wanted to like you, but you wronged me the moment you took that front-facing photo without asking, and you only asked me to BeReal when I was asleep. This app made me realize that I’m more of a consumer than a creator of personal content, and sparked some probably overdue inner self-reflection as to WHY?

This could be because sharing photos of myself is outside my comfort zone. I really struggle with perfectionism, and the dual camera shot made me feel not in control of the image I’d be sharing. But let’s rewind. I used to be in a work environment where 2-3 days out of the week, I was in a fit room with co-workers who would stand in front of a mirror in their underwear and pick themselves apart.

These women were beautiful, successful, and seemed to “have it all.” I thought, “If she looks like that, and is saying such horrible things about her body, I shouldn’t feel so great about myself.” I experienced this every week over the course of 10 years and it did a number on my psyche and self-confidence when it comes to body image. So, while I didn’t like this app experience, I do have gratitude for it causing me to realize that I have some internal work to do to heal and move forward. 

Kristen (@k.klochko), Rating: 7/10

Kristen BeReal image

At first, I thought, “This is stressful!” because I’m not always ready for it. I didn’t even think that was a weird thought process because social media is so focused on being curated with peak-life moments. Now, I think it’s funny! Being in east coast time, sometimes I miss the posting window because I’m already asleep. However, the moments I do post in the window are hilarious. Seeing a snapshot of your friends and what they’re doing at the same exact moment is the fun of it. It makes the day-to-day feel celebrated. 

Overall, I think this could create a shift in social media and our mindset of life as a whole. Let’s not live for the Instagrammable moments, but the in-between times when we’re working, hanging out with friends, doing laundry, etc. That might be too much pressure on one app… I guess we’ll see.

Brittney (@brittirw), Rating: 10/10

BeReal screenshot

I am really enjoying BeReal! As someone who spends my days planning social media feeds, it’s fun and refreshing to see an uncurated glimpse into everyone’s sometimes goofy lives. I feel like I’m getting to know everyone better, and I enjoy the challenge of taking a picture in 2 minutes—even though the notifications come at the most random times, like when you’re showering or taking out the trash. It’s also funny knowing we’re all struggling to figure out the app together. Like, “Did so-and-so have to post a bad selfie because they were running out of time?” ME TOO.

Maybe a con, but should I feel stressed when the notification comes right after I’ve finished doing something interesting? I go back and forth between being in love with the realness, but feeling the pressure to curate life like on Instagram. I do feel like BeReal exposes how truly repetitive each weekday can be as an adult who works from home. If it’s 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., I’m at my computer. If it’s after, I’m either eating dinner or sitting on my spot on the couch. Should I try to be more interesting? NO! That’s the realness of it. Welcome to my routine life friends 🙂 

Bre (@bre.woods), Rating: 7/10

It’s been fun seeing an “unfiltered” snapshot of everyone’s day. The rushed blurry selfies, the dead grass in the yard (ok, that was mine), and everyone’s WFH setup. It feels like a behind-the-scenes perspective. However, I find myself struggling with the “realness” of my own posts. For example, trying to aim my back camera at the ceiling so no one has to see my messy living room, or feeling tempted to post “late” when I know I’ll be doing something more interesting. 

Turns out years of conditioning on very filtered platforms will take some time to work out. But overall, I like BeReal more than I expected! I truly have no room for more social media in my life, but this feels a little different and less time-consuming than the others. 

Kennedy (@kennedy4real), Rating: 8/10

Kennedy BeReal Post back

Like I said up top, I’ve never been a big social girl. I hoped things would be different with BeReal, but the same insecurities I feel on Insta followed me here. I found myself constantly worrying that the BeReal would come when I was doing something boring (which it usually did). What made matters worse was seeing my friends out “living life” while I was rewatching Bridgerton. At least on Insta, I could explain away people’s outings as pre-planned posts, but seeing an old college friend at the beach or gym every time I was home was pretty demoralizing. 

When I was out and about, I was desperately checking for the BeReal notification. I wanted to share something that said, “Look, I have a life! I promise!” That only happened once, and grabbing takeout wasn’t exactly the glorious moment I hoped for. These anxieties probably say more about my image issues and need to impress others—2 things I could argue were caused by social media in the first place—than they do about the app. 

It’s still only been a few weeks, so maybe BeReal will help me work through these issues. Maybe I’ll get honest enough to post 4 hours late with the caption, “Sorry, but you guys didn’t need to see me watch Succession,” like a friend did recently. At first, I thought she was ignoring the point of the app, but then I realized that being truthful about why you chose to post late also fits the assignment. Real is a candid photo fresh out of the shower, but it can also be admitting when you want to show off or are insecure about where you are in life. 

I’m in my early 20s, so I’m doing a lot of work to find the real me online and IRL, and while I doubt I’ll be able to quit Instagram for good, at least BeReal can remind me that there’s another way to stay connected without staying camera-ready.

 

Kennedy signature

5 thoughts on “We Tried BeReal – Here’s What We Thought of this Anti-Instagram”

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  1. Megan says:

    Thanks for creating this post, Kennedy. I hadn’t heard of BeReal until today, so thank you! Everyone’s feedback seems very honest, introspective, and highly self-reflective. Maybe that’s what we all needed? Another Lens to look at ourselves from? I, myself, have big dreams and large ambitions…but my biggest struggle is gaining the confidence to take it online….and show it. I’m so scared…even when people I know validate me all the time. For some reason, I still don’t believe in myself. So for me, I would agree with Jennifer, in that I’ve become more of a consumer than a creator of personal content. Who knows….maybe I will check this out and find it works as a better option?

    With love,
    Megan

    1. Kennedy says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the read, Megan! It’s definitely been interesting for the whole team to explore BeReal together, but I hope we all come out the better for it with more confidence and willingness to share our authentic selves!

  2. Jen-Ai Notman says:

    Such a great read, Kennedy!! I love how different all of our opinions are.

  3. Garance says:

    Super interesting, thank you for these insights!
    I love how you analyzed deeply how it made you feel and what came up along the way!

    1. Kennedy says:

      Thank you so much!