I left Instagram for BeReal, my opinion after 3 months

There are those who completely disassociate themselves from social networks and those who download BeReal, the French anti-Instagram application that wants to improve their mental health, or at least prevent it from the negative effects of screens. In April 2022, they were more than 7.4 million downloaded the app. 65% have done so this year, even though the app is only two years old and only has 10,000 users as of January 2021.

To put an end to the time wasted on my phone and the hundreds of superficial photos that the Instagram algorithm recommends, I left the American application of BeReal. three month time. An interesting experience, especially with a French application, launched by Kévin Perreau, who passed through Ecole 42 (Xavier Niel’s school of developers). In hipergrowth I was able to follow the (shy) evolution of the application, my use and its appropriation by users.

Not being won over or disgusted by the app, BeReal is clearly taking a path of its own, one that no competitor has yet explored. In my opinion about BeReal, I will detail three main points in the use of the application (and social networks in general): my daily usage time, sanity and entertainment. Other publishers of lemon squeezer He accompanied me on the adventure of giving him his own opinion.

To put an end to the time wasted on my phone and the hundreds of superficial photos recommended by the Instagram algorithm, I left the American BeReal app

without filter, for the moment

It is customary in BeReal to publish a photo every day. To do this, the application chooses to send you a notification, at a random time during the day (it can also be at night, early enough). It is not mandatory to respect the time of the notification to be published, but it is essential to publish so you can see the photos shared by your friends. To view other people’s content, you must post it yourself.

Between Instagram and Snapchat, the French application only offers one photo per day (it is possible to recover it) and only in the form of a story (but it is transmitted in the form of a content flow to scroll). It is not it is not possible to send a photo to a particular user in message form. However, when posting, you can choose to broadcast only to friends or in public. The “public” mode is useless at the moment, but it seems to open a path to popularity, should influential accounts of the app ever emerge.

Without filters, at the moment, BeReal’s image capture has the peculiarity of using both the front camera and the main camera. Therefore, it is difficult to escape from a selfie, early in the morning. The goal is really to share the diary without brightness and without scenery. In addition, during the shooting, a 3-minute countdown is activated to take the photo. A way to force authenticity, once again.

The application has also lacked a small detail to play with the codes and stage. There is a slight delay between the shot from the main camera and the front camera. This little time allows you to play with the angle for the selfie. If you take a low-angle photo with the main camera, you can check the angle of view directly after clicking the capture button (the selfie photo will only be taken a second or two later).

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Waiting for new friends… or not

Throughout the weeks, BeReal gives us a glimpse into our lives. And be careful if you are going through a routine period, the application sends us a pretty depressing image in the face. By dint of always taking the same kind of photo to describe your day, our daily life only gets more boring and we quickly found ourselves asking the question : “Am I going to post a picture today or wait for a better day?”. Also, it’s quite possible to take a lambda photo so you can refer to others’ photos and then delete your own (even if the button isn’t easy to access the first time).

Very soon the question arises our friends list. BeReal is based on the Facebook model and not on Instagram, with the need for mutual subscription. When I started with the app, few of my contacts had an account and I found myself very fast alone, not being able to consult the content of others. So I imagined with all my registered relatives, and the interest that BeReal could have in being aware of the day to day of their closest relatives, those who may be interested in the passage of a vacuum cleaner on Sunday morning.

With 315% growth in monthly active users to date, I’ve seen the app change as more and more of my contacts joined the app. To follow its use, it was double or waive. Some never stopped posting while others quickly fell into inactivity. And me, my interest in seeing more people there for less boredom had changed.

In my contacts, it was resignation or double. Some never stopped posting, while others quickly fell into inactivity.

BeReal Test App

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The BeReal problem and my opinion

With a longer friends list (we’re talking about twenty people instead of 3 when I signed up), my use of the app has changed, to the detriment of BeReal. Instead of finding more interest, my limits to posting my daily life were now tightening. Too intimate to be visible to everyone, too boring to be shared… there are more and more reasons not to take a photo one day… or always.

There are more and more reasons not to take a photo one day… or always

I wouldn’t have said no to a video mode. Maybe to be able to show more when I share a moment outside my house. Or to be more creative, more entertaining. With its current formulation, use is very limited. and it could be summed up in giving news and if the trait is exaggerated: saying that one is alive.

BeReal Memories

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The use of BeReal is limited by its interface and its model. But in my opinion, it’s very possible to post the same kind of content on Instagram (or Snapchat, for your convenience). off). The real advantage of BeReal, on the other hand, concerns screen time. we will not pass no more than ten minutes a day in the application I can not do more.

As for the entertaining and fun side, everything will depend on your list of contacts and their lives. Between the poorly framed photos taken with no other interest than to respect the daily rhythm requested by the application, and the members who, like me, bother to have to take photos of the dead times of our daysdifficult to pay a lot of interest.

The actual disconnection does not imply a change of application

And the problem may be there: wanting too much authenticity, BeReal forgot that our time in front of our screens was usually in our downtime, in our moments of calm and rest. The rest of the highlights and interesting moments to share will be prioritized in Instagram stories. And if, like me, you prefer to delete Instagram, then it is not through another application that you will want to share your moments, but without a smartphone in hand. Because the real disconnection does not go through an application change.

The opinion of the rest of the newsroom

Romain Vitt, head of the Tech and JV section. I found BeReal’s promise interesting on paper: a limiting social network that forces us to share only one piece of content per day with the people who matter. To be constantly connected to social networks, therefore, I saw there a way to continue sharing photos with my loved ones.

Unfortunately, BeReal didn’t really turn out to be that appealing. If the promise is beautiful, the reality is very different. First, because the app can quickly become invasive if you turn on notifications. Every day we receive an alert that tells us that we have not shared our photo of the day. Then another to let us know that our friends just posted theirs.

In addition, the application suffers from the same limit as most alternative social networks: there is no one. Other than Hadrien (author of this article), no one around me used the app. From then on, the social network loses all its social character, and therefore its initial interest.

All your questions about BeReal

Who created BeReal?

BeReal’s founder is Kevin Perreau, who joined forces with Alexis Barreyat to launch the app in 2020.

How many users does BeReal have?

As of April 2022, 7.4 million people have downloaded the app worldwide, which ranked in the top 5 most downloaded apps on the US App Store. It is difficult to know the number of BeReal users, as a large number of users remain inactive after a certain discovery period.

Who invested in BeReal?

BeReal has already raised more than $30 million in Series A thanks to investment funds Andreessen Horowitz (A16z), Accel and DST. At the moment, this is the only capital of BeReal (which does not charge its users and does not broadcast advertising).

Where to download BeReal?

BeReal is available on the App Store (iPhone) and the Play Store (Android). The app is only available on smartphones.

Who is BeReal for?

Unlike other social networks, BeReal has a model that could be liked by both young and old since its inception. The app is halfway between Snapchat and Instagram with a format suitable for those who don’t want to spend too much time on their smartphone and want to guarantee the authenticity of the posts.

What languages ​​are available in BeReal?

It is possible to use BeReal in French, English, German, Spanish, Japanese, Korean and Mandarin.

What are the differences between BeReal and Instagram?

Do not trust messages, stories, likes or a subscriber count on BeReal. Unlike Instagram, you can only post one photo per day and it won’t be possible to use filters or drill down into your image gallery. Videos are also not supported by BeReal.

We love

  • Drastic reduction of the time we spend on our smartphone
  • Another way to receive news and give it
  • No filter, goodbye to the superficial

we love less

  • very limited use
  • A good app to find your uninteresting life…
  • Being able to make short videos would not be a negative


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