I left Instagram for BeReal, my opinion after 3 months

There are those who completely cut themselves off from social networks and those who download BeReal, the French anti-Instagram application, who want to improve your 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, despite the app being only two years old and having only 10,000 users in January 2021.

To put an end to the wasted time on my phone and the hundreds of superficial images that Instagram’s algorithm advocates, I left the US application to BeReal. three months time. An interesting experience, especially with a French application, launched by Kévin Perreau, who went through Ecole 42 (Xavier Niels school for developers). In hyper-growth, I was able to follow the (cloud) development of the application, my use and its appropriation by the users.

Without feeling conquered or disgusted by the application, BeReal is clearly heading down its own path that no competitor has yet explored. In my opinion of BeReal, I will detail three main points in the use of the application (and social networks in general): my daily use time, common sense and entertainment. Other editors of lemon squeezer joined me in the adventure to give you their own opinion.

To put an end to the wasted time on my phone and the hundreds of superficial images that Instagram’s algorithm advocates, I left the US application to BeReal

Without filter, for the moment

It is customary at BeReal to post a picture every day. To do this, the application chooses to send you a message, at a random time during the day (it can also be in the evening, early enough). It is not mandatory to respect the time of the message to send, but it is important to post so you can see photos shared by your friends. To see other people’s content, you have to post yourself.

Between Instagram and Snapchat, the French application offers only one image a day (it is possible to take it back) and only in the form of a story (but broadcast in the form of a stream of content to scroll through). It is not not possible to send an image to a specific user in the form of a message. For postings, however, it is possible to choose between sending only to friends or in public. The “public” mode is useless at the moment, but it seems to open a path to popularity if one day influential stories should emerge from the application.

Without filters, at the moment, BeReal’s image capture has the special feature of using both the front camera and the main camera. It is therefore difficult to escape a selfie, early in the morning. The goal is really to share the daily without glitter and without staging. In addition, a 3-minute countdown is taken during shooting to take the picture. A way to enforce authenticity again.

The application has nevertheless missed a small detail to play with the codes and stage. There is a slight delay between shooting the main camera and the front camera. This little time allows you to play with the angle of the selfie. If you take a low-angle photo with the main camera, you can review the viewing angle immediately after clicking the record button (the selfie is only taken one or two seconds later).

© Lemon press

Waiting for new friends … or not

Over the weeks, BeReal gives us a glimpse of our lives. And beware, if you are going through a period of routine, the application sends us a pretty depressing image right in your face. By always taking the same kind of photo to describe your day, our daily life only gets even more boring and we quickly find ourselves asking the question : “Should I post a picture today or wait for a better day to come?”. In addition, it is quite possible to take a lambda picture to be able to see other people’s pictures and then delete your own (although the button is not easy to access for the first time).

The question arises very quickly our friends list. BeReal is based on the Facebook model and not Instagram, with a need for mutual subscription. When I started the application, 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 myself with all my registered relatives, and the interest that BeReal might have in keeping up to date with the daily lives of its closest relatives, those for whom the passage of a vacuum cleaner on Sunday morning might interest us.

With a growth of 315% in monthly active users from year to date, I have seen the app change as more and more of my contacts acceded to the application. To follow their use, it was double or ends. Some never stopped publishing, while others quickly fell into inactivity. And me, my interest in seeing more people who for less boredom had changed.

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

BeReal test application

© Lemon press

BeReal’s problem and my opinion

With a longer list of friends (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 boundaries for writing my daily life were tightened. Too intimate to be visible to everyone, too boring to be shared … there are more and more reasons not to take a picture one day … or always.

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

I would not have said no to a video mode. Maybe to be able to show more when I share a moment outside my home. Or to be more creative, more entertaining. With its current formula, its use is very limited and could be summed up in giving news, and if one exaggerates the feature: to say that one is alive.

BeReal Memories

© Lemon press

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 on Snapchat, for more of). The real benefit of BeReal, on the other hand, is concerns screen time. We will not pass no more than ten minutes a day on the app. Can’t 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 interest other than respecting the daily rhythm requested by the application, and the members who, like me, find themselves bothered by having to take pictures of the dead times of our dayhard to pay many interest.

The actual interruption does not imply a change of use

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

The rest of the editorial staff’s opinion

Romain Vitt, Head of the Tech and JV Section. BeReal’s promise seemed interesting to me on paper: a restrictive social network that forces us to share only one content a day with the people who matter. Therefore, to be constantly connected to social networks, I saw there a way to pick up while continuing to share photos with my loved ones.

Unfortunately, BeReal did not turn out to be very attractive. If the promise is beautiful, the reality is quite different. First, because the application can quickly become invasive if you enable notifications. Every day we then receive a warning telling us that we have not shared the picture of the day. So another to inform us that our friends have just published theirs.

The application also suffers from the same limit as most alternative social networks: there is none there. Except for Hadrien (author of this article) no one around me used the application. From then on, the social network loses all its social character, and therefore its original interest.

All your questions about the BeReal

Who created BeReal?

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

How many users does BeReal have?

In April 2022, 7.4 million people downloaded the app worldwide, which was among the 5 most downloaded apps in the App Store in the United States. The number of BeReal users is difficult to know, 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 Serie A thanks to investment funds Andreessen Horowitz (A16z), Accel and DST. Currently, this is the only capital of BeReal (which does not charge fees to its users and which does not broadcast advertisements).

Where to download BeReal?

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

Who is BeReal for?

Unlike other social networks, BeReal has a model that could appeal to both young and old from the start. The application is between Snapchat and Instagram with a format suitable for those who do not want to spend too much time on their smartphone and who want to guarantee the authenticity of the publications.

What languages ​​are available on 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 rely on messages, stories, likes or a subscriber counter on BeReal. Unlike Instagram, you can also only post one photo a day, and it will not be possible to use filters or dig into its photo gallery. Videos are also not supported on BeReal.

BeReal test application

We love

  • Drastic reduction of time spent on our smartphone
  • Another way to get news and give it
  • Without filter, goodbye to the superficial

We love less

  • Very limited use
  • A good application to find your life devoid of interest …
  • Being able to make short videos would not be a rejection


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