It was only just short of a year ago, in July 2022, that the photo-sharing app BeReal had a major breakout moment which pushed it to the top of the app store charts. Like most ‘rebellious’ social media platforms looking to disrupt the Meta monopoly, BeReal arrived with a refreshingly creative constraint: users were only given a once-a-day window to post, delivered at a different time each day via push notifications. What’s more is that users couldn’t see their friends’ posts unless they had posted themselves.
It was celebrated as the one social network that truly pushed us to create a less performative online persona, inviting users to post bits of their lives at its most mundane, rather than just the flashy parts. But BeReal faced a ticking clock, one that has since rang a couple of times.
In early April 2023, The New York Times reported that the app’s novelty had worn off among the app’s core gen Z demographic, leading to a steep decline in monthly users. “The number of people who use the app daily has dropped 61 per cent from its peak, from about 15 million in October to less than six million in March, according to Apptopia, another analytics firm,” wrote the publication.
Fast forward to today—well, to Monday 1 May to be exact—and BeReal is desperately attempting to claw its way back into the cold, cold hearts of gen Zers. How? By introducing yet another feature, only a week after a previous announcement was made about another unveiling.
Introducing RealPeople, what the app calls “a curated timeline of the most interesting people” to users in the UK. It will be available globally “very soon,” in case you had any interest in testing it. Before we even get into the details of what exactly this new feature will bring the loyal users who have stayed on the platform, it should be noted that its very name already sounds completely misaligned with the anti-influencer ethos that BeReal had promoted until now.
Announcing the upcoming feature, BeReal explained: “RealPeople isn’t about influencing, amassing likes and comments, or promoting brands. You won’t see perfect Photoshopped pictures, product recommendations, or ads disguised as posts.”
Instead, the app claims that RealPeople will be a combination of people you know and some you don’t, helping it promote the idea that influencers and celebrities are real people too who can also be boring, just like the rest of us. Right…
As mentioned before, the now-dying photo-sharing app had unveiled another ‘mind-blowing’ feature only a few days prior to this recent news. Dubbed Bonus BeReal—come on now, at least be more creative when it comes to naming them—the tool allows users to post an additional not one but two BeReals throughout the day, but only if you post your first during the allotted two-minute window.
In other words, it pushes users to post authentically once a day… and then share two more highlights where they can be as fake as they want. Understandably, the feature was not received very well. It’s painfully obvious to see how this addition only distracts from why users enjoyed the app in the first place—you only needed to go on it once a day.
BeReal also recently partnered with Spotify to allow users to share what song they’re listening to with their dual camera selfie. Yet another poor attempt at saving its last 6 million users if you ask me. Sadly for our nostalgia-prone selves, it seems like it’s no longer time to BeReal. Instead, it’s time to BeRelevant.