Suddenly, see them stop all activity, to get agitated, smartphone in hand. And hear them justify, feverishly: “It’s BeReal time! » How many parents have recently observed this strange behavior in their high school or student offspring? This sudden and imperious need to take a photo on the fly? The “biril” phenomenon – that’s how it is pronounced – has been bursting into the daily lives of families for a good year.
Invented in 2020 by Alexis Barreyat and Kévin Perreau, two young French developers, the BeReal application imposes its tempo on 20 million users worldwide, every day. Who has downloaded it (free of charge) receives a notification once a day, at variable times. Mission is given, in the following two minutes, to photograph his face and his immediate environment, the front and rear cameras of the phone triggering almost simultaneously. These two juxtaposed shots then become visible to a network of chosen acquaintances.
“Keep smiling and don’t change a thing”, reads on the phone when taking the selfie. Unsurprisingly, the photo-sharing app, whose name means “be real,” promotes authenticity – and participation, since you have to have posted your BeReal to discover those of others. It banishes counters of likes or subscribers, filters and retouching, advertisements. Houspille whoever multiplies the shots before posting: the number of attempts is indicated under the final photo whose possible delay (compared to the two minutes of rigor) is also indicated. Until the infamous message, sent to the less spontaneous users: “Did you understand what BeReal was? 13% of your BeReals were on time. »
“Show who you really are”
Scary ? The cause is laudable, argues the mobile app’s website: “Find out what your friends are really doing in their daily lives. “Show them who you really are. » BeReal “won’t make you famous”. Besides, “if you want to become an influencer, stay on TikTok or Instagram”. In short, on BeReal, the ordinary of lives is exposed, without artifice, nor influence or risk of addiction (only one publication authorized per day), in a succession of unattractive meals, rooms in bazaar, sinister open-spaces, keyboards, screens, dogs, cats under dim lighting.
And it pleases. Without any advertising, the use of the application exploded last year. It has been downloaded 75 million times, according to the American firm Sensor Tower – just over 77 million times since its launch in 2020. The United States is the most fond of this return to reality (33% of downloads ), ahead of the United Kingdom (9%) then France (6%). At the end of November 2022, BeReal won the award for iPhone application of the year. It is imitated by TikTok, Instagram or Snapchat, which urgently drew new features. “What’s your BeReal?” » now replaces “What’s your Snap?” » in approach maneuvers. As a group, the question shoots out from all sides, at the fateful hour of the notification: “Would you like to be on my BeReal? »
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