Culture Hack

Was 2022 the Year of BeReal?

As an early adopter of social media (i.e., MySpace, Hi5, Six Degrees), I was on social media when they were just called, wait for it… websites! My history in social media goes so far back that I remember Facebook when your university had to be registered with the platform in order to sign up and use it.

So, like many OGs in the social space, I’m always excited to see another platform debuts itself to make a formidable connection with audiences.

Enter stage right: Be Real, the French-founded social media platform launched in 2019, is making its way around the world as the new Gen-Z app of choice.

Like its predecessor, Snapshot, Be Real has deemed itself not another social network as it enables users to upload photos for their followers and friends to see temporarily. However, the brand has a unique offering where users can only share their daily photo for two minutes a day before it disappears.

To many, that may sound unappealing, but the brand has been downloaded 52 million times. And although it doesn’t have the same growth as TikTok, it is increasingly becoming a popular app. Gen-Z users are trying to find an escape hatch from an oversaturated Instagram and an alternative to TikTok. This is increasingly becoming so as more and more users cross-post on Twitter, Tik Tok, and Instagram.

This activity has attracted major brands who are increasingly trying to find ways to connect and authentically engage with Gen-Z audiences both emotionally and financially.

And despite the platform’s anti-ad position, which states users are not allowed to use Be Real content for advertising or commercial purposes, brands are still trying to utilize the platform and its app to increase reach.

This raises the question of whether a platform such as Be Real has the wherewithal to last in the social market and connect to consumers with such limitations. And recent news that despite the 52 million downloads, only 9% of those open the app daily. Only time will tell, but in the meantime, let me share a photo with the two minutes I have left today.

-W. Sky Downing