BeReal and the Never-Ending Quest to Uncover (and Ruin) the Next It App

Your seasonal update on the latest exciting app comes in: BeReal, a French photo-sharing app that has captured the hearts of teenagers globally, has been crowned the new It by all both your familiar neighbors on the beat online culture as well as the ever-ready venture capitalists. Earlier this month, the two-year-old startup was reported to have quadrupled to more than $600 million, and New York Times Call it “boring” as a compliment.

In case you haven’t enjoyed having a more sophisticated young friend explain to you about canned espresso, BeReal is kind of a Frankensteined mix of your old favorites in their heyday. their own—think of the small-scale Instagram feed, but with the intimate ephemerality of Snapchat and the low-key, once-daily instruction of HQ Trivia or Wordle. Every day, the app sends out a random notification, and prompts the user to capture and post anything in view of both the smartphone’s front and rear cameras. You can only see a compilation of your friends’ selfies once you’ve posted yours; The next day, it all started again.

The catch, of course, is that posting on BeReal is like a reaction against entering any of the other large online spaces we currently occupy, where everything feels both messy and cluttered. so shiny at the same time. Like many of its authenticity-obsessed predecessors, the app promises (somewhat… menacing?) to help you “discover who your friends really are in their everyday lives.” So far, my personal experience on BeReal over the past two months has at least been getting to know the insides of friends’ apartments and our various work-from-home setups; it’s pleasant if not unsightly. Our real selves mostly don’t seem to have interesting angles in our living rooms.

In the rare cases when the notification arrives while I Not when I got home, I was boiling with ecstasy at the opportunity to show the world (meaning: my 17 BeReal friends) clear proof that I was out and about — doing big, important work! Participate in public life! —Or at least take the scenic route to the pharmacy. It’s only a matter of time before I realize that you maybe adopt a small strategy for your BeReal presence as you are allowed to post any time before the next announcement (although the app will have a little disclaimer if you do). But it doesn’t undermine BeReal’s seemingly purest premise: Save Instagram for the month-end “photo dump” while you continue to manage your day on another app. Online, candor can always be gambled.

So if BeReal really isn’t the novel of an app, its growing popularity is perhaps better understood as an indictment of our current state of social media. Like the most recent fad, Wordle, BeReal is an enjoyable experience mainly for what it does. Not: No heavy-handed algorithms calling the photos, no loads of ads and brands flooding the feed. You can’t even like someone’s photo in the traditional sense. Compared to a typical swipe through Instagram — now practically unusable when you have to wade through tons of ads, “recommended posts” you never asked for, out-of-order disorder time in general, etc.! a lot of! not required! roll! before coming up with a post from a real acquaintance — or even the old app, now mainstream TikTok, where the light touch of your wrist can send you down your rabbit hole. eating disorder or conspiracy theory any day, it’s no surprise that BeReal feels like something more akin to civil society, or at least a place to take a breather.

However, the incentive for every industry that borders the internet to identify the outdated app at the moment, whether it’s BeReal or the next, is lucrative because it’s mostly self-defeating. : Picture people flocking to one side of the boat at first sighting of new land, or simply remembering what happened to the Clubhouse. Whether BeReal will drown under its own hype first or just live to become inundated with ads and toxic mud is the only real question here. As a kind of forerunner, I think what we will remember most about BeReal is that we worked so hard to find a suitable place to connect online that we were willing to play by even silly interactive rules. most silly. Right now, everything is pretty good. I can’t wait until we ruin it for others. BeReal and the Never-Ending Quest to Uncover (and Ruin) the Next It App

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