Candid Camera

A trending social media app encourages less scrolling and more real time.

The BeReal app on a smartphone

How many times have you aimlessly scrolled through Instagram or spent 30 minutes editing the perfect picture? Today’s generations are no strangers to social media, but should we be putting a little more distance between ourselves and the manufactured glamour represented on social media sites? A popular new app offers an alternative.

BeReal, a social media platform released in 2020, aims to promote authenticity via candid posts. Once a day at a random time, the BeReal app sends a prompt that gives subscribers two minutes to take a picture with the front and back camera and then share the post with friends. Participants can retake pictures within the two minutes, but the number of retakes are displayed along with the post. To prevent lurking and incessant scrolling, users are not allowed to see their friends’ images until they post their own.

Time recently reported that global downloads of the app have reached 22.8 million, with 55% of the app’s users in the 16–24 age group, according to A big draw for Rice students is the “same time, different place” character of the app.

“I love seeing where my friends are, whether they’re studying in Chaus [Rice Coffeehouse], taking a trip to Rice Village or hanging out in dorm rooms,” says Elysia Wu ’23. “BeReal makes me feel closer to the people I love by reminding me in real time that we’re all just a couple hundred meters apart from one another.”

BeReal encourages users to post as they are. “I feel more connected to my friends, like we are interacting in a meaningful way, compared to Instagram where the photos are staged,” says Zac Ambrose ’25. “Seeing what your friends are up to in real time is a very refreshing take on today’s forms of social media.” BeReal allows you to be your authentic self, with no poses or filters required.

— Emma Korsmo ’24