BeReal’s Struggle to Maintain Authenticity and Market Share

KEY TAKEAWAYS
​​BeReal, a photo-sharing app, once grew rapidly as an "anti-Instagram" platform, but it has since faced a steep decline in active daily users.
The platform's emphasis on authenticity may have contributed to user fatigue, as users were expected to post spontaneous, unfiltered images daily.
BeReal attempted to introduce new features, such as the "RealPeople" timeline and an additional photo-posting window, but these changes may not have addressed the core issue of user burnout.
The decline of apps like BeReal and Twitter has led to a search for a new dominant social media platform, but many contenders lack truly novel features and instead clone each other.
Alternative understandings of social media platforms could offer opportunities for disruption of tech giants' monopolies, but it remains uncertain whether any new app will successfully capture the market and offer a genuinely new experience.

 

The once-popular photo-sharing app, BeReal, is now facing a steep decline in active daily users, dropping from 20 million in October 2022 to 6 million in March 2023.

Despite its rapid growth within seven months, BeReal’s purported authenticity as the “anti-Instagram” may not have been enough to keep users engaged long-term.

A Brief Success Story

BeReal was released in 2020, providing users with a more candid and unfiltered experience compared to apps like Instagram.

The platform required users to take a photo from their smartphone and selfie camera at a random time each day, only allowing those who posted their own photos to view others.

This unique feature was meant to counter the curated content culture prevalent on other social media platforms.

The Reality of Authenticity

While BeReal aimed to offer users an authentic social media experience, it may have ultimately added more pressure for self-presentation.

Users were expected to be genuine and spontaneous, in contrast to the polished images often found on Instagram.

However, this demand for authenticity may have been tiring for users, and the novelty of BeReal’s unique features eventually wore off.

The once-popular photo-sharing app, BeReal, is now facing a steep decline in active daily users, dropping from 20 million in October 2022 to 6 million in March 2023.

Attempts to Stay Relevant

As BeReal’s popularity declined, the company began introducing new features to maintain user interest.

One such addition was the “RealPeople” feature, which offered users a curated timeline of candid images from famous personalities, such as athletes, artists, and activists.

This feature aimed to provide a more authentic look into the lives of well-known figures, without the emphasis on influencing or promoting brands.

In the UK, BeReal also tested a feature allowing users to post two additional photos per day if they posted their first photo within the designated two-minute window.

However, this change seems to stray from the app’s original vision and may not address the core issue of user fatigue with the platform’s authenticity demands.

The Search for a New Social Media Giant

The decline of apps like BeReal and Twitter has led to a search for a new dominant social media platform.

While numerous contenders have emerged, such as Mastodon, T2, Post, Nostr, Bluesky, Meta’s untitled project, and Artifact, none have introduced truly novel features that set them apart. 

Instead, these apps often resort to cloning each other, reflecting a lack of innovation in the social media space.

It is essential to consider the potential losses in the race to create the next “all-consuming” social media app.

Alternative understandings of social media platforms could encourage a diversity of tools and media, offering opportunities to disrupt tech giants’ monopolies.

However, it remains to be seen whether any of these apps will successfully capture the market and offer users a genuinely new experience.

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