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There are no filters and more "authentic".  How does BeReal, the new 'anti-Instagram' social network that is attracting young people work?

There are no filters and more “authentic”. How does BeReal, the new ‘anti-Instagram’ social network that is attracting young people work?

“BeReal won’t make you famous. If you want to become an influencer, you can stay on Tik Tok and Instagram,” the app description reads.

“It’s time for BeReal [Ser real]This is the notification that Joana, Eva, Mariana and about three million people around the world receive once a day, always at different times, from the new social network BeReal. It could be 09:00, 12:00, 20:00 or even Later – the notification pops up unexpectedly.By tapping on the notification, users have two minutes to take two photos at the same time: one with the phone’s front camera, in “selfie” mode, and the other with the back camera, to show you what’s in front of you.

The goal is to share with friends what is being done at that very moment, without filters or any other image manipulations. At this point, this app, created in 2019 by a French startup, assumes itself as a social network “Anti Instagram”. “BeReal will not make you famous. If you want to become an influencer, you can stay on Tik Tok and Instagram,” the app description reads at App Store or in google apps.

It is precisely this interest in originality that dominates young people around the world, if they were not the target audience of this social network, explained Graça Canto Moniz, a specialist in social networks, who defines this application as a “niche” social network.

“This is what the administration calls the Blue Ocean Strategy [Estratégia Oceano Azul], which is when we actually have a market with so much supply that successful new things become niche things. This is a great example of that,” he began by telling CNN Portugal.

BeReal is designed to meet the values ​​of younger generations, the so-called Generation Z and Millennials, who are, as a rule, “users of social networks who make more informed decisions,” without neglecting the values ​​they advocate. “Authenticity is one of those values,” says Graça Canto Moniz. “That is why it is so important to them [os jovens] They recorded, in moments of authenticity, their daily lives,” he adds.

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With this social network, young people do not feel “too much pressure” to post pictures, unlike in other applications. “To put a picture on Instagram, I have to edit it, and ask my friends what they think,” says Eva Rua, 21, who installed BeReal about two weeks ago. In this app, because it’s “a thing of the moment”, where there’s no opportunity to use photo-editing tools, there’s much less pressure to post the “perfect” photo, he explains.

Joanna Ribeiro, 26, also installed this social network just 15 days ago, but has already noticed a difference in relation to the others: “It is more authentic, because it does not give a chance to the ‘lies’ that have already been seen in other networks. There are no filters, and since That the image is taken simultaneously with both cameras, the goal is to capture reality.”

A “real” social network?

Despite promoting itself as a “native” social network, the truth is that you can always manipulate the photos we share – not with filters, but “playing” with notifications. It is true that the notification appears unexpectedly, but the user can choose to open it now or later. Only two minutes to take pictures count from the moment the notification is opened.

says Joanna Ribeiro, who realizes that while the concept of the app is original, in practice, it ends up being no different from other networks.

In addition to being able to “play” with notifications, users also have another way to manipulate the photos they post – which, incidentally, underlies all social networks: framing. Users only show what they want to show.

“This new network is sold with the value of originality, which goes through non-manufacturing, but there is still some industrialization, because any image only shows what we want to show. It’s a marketing strategy,” says Vitor Ferreira, a sociologist dedicated, among other fields, to studying Young.

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Club business model and example

Despite its success among young people, the truth is that this app, created by a French startup in 2019, is “still in its infancy”, as Graça Canto Moniz explains. “Last time I saw it, it didn’t even have three million users. If we want to compare, Snapchat has 347 million users. It’s an app that’s still growing. I don’t know if that much will be successful.”

This is because, in an uncertain economic context like the one we are facing now, “investors want to make less risky decisions and will invest their money in other things,” so “there will be a shortage of capital for these companies,” the expert predicts.

“I don’t know if [esta rede social] Snapchat will be new, I’m a little skeptical about that,” she admits.

In addition, as with other social networks, BeReal will have another issue at hand, which is the profitability of the application to justify the capital invested. Unlike Facebook, which “lives on ads”, and other apps, BeReal doesn’t have ads, so it’s not yet certain what its business model will be.

One app whose business model has also aroused some skepticism — which has also been very popular lately — has been Clubhouse, a social network that only allows you to communicate by voice. Launched in April 2020, the app has taken advantage of pandemic restrictions to assert itself as a social network that brings people together.

Andrew Chen of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, justification The company’s investment in the club ‘to reinvent the category [das redes sociais] In all the right ways, from the experience of consuming content to the way people interact, empowering your creators.”

But the success of this app was the “Sun Shortcut”. Clubhouse reached its “peak” of users in March 2021, less than a year after its launch, when it had 10 million active users. This number has decreased to 3.5 million A few months later, in September 2021.

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Lifting anti-virus restrictions appears to be the most commonly used argument to justify losing interest in the app, but perhaps the business model is driving this finding as well. This is because the club relies exclusively on capital from investors – it has earned $110 million since its launch – without counting, therefore, advertising revenue or other forms of monetization.

“You never know what the outcome of these applications will be. When there is advertising, it is clear to understand how it will be monetized, and how they will return the investors who put money there. In these cases, without advertising, it is also impossible to understand,” Graça sums up. Canto Moniz.

Why another social network?

Like Eva and Joana, Mariana Ribeiro also installed the BeReal social network recently, about 15 days ago. In a conversation with a Dutch friend who got acquainted with the application – in the Netherlands, this social network has been successful among young people for a long time, she says. Since she was already sharing the moments of her daily life with her friend, she ended up trying to do the same through this app.

But this was an exception in her social media consumption habits, says the 24-year-old, who only uses Instagram, as well as BeReal. Recently, Mariana felt the need to “detox from social media” and decided to delete many of the people she followed and even followers from her profile.

“I got to the point where I ended up absorbing the toxins of social media and thought It can’t be this way, I can’t allow myself to be affected by things I don’t even know if they are true or not“, the account.

BeReal has already gained around three million users, which is still quite a few compared to Snapchat’s 347 million. Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Although she doesn’t feel the same way as Mariana, Eva Roa says some of her friends chose not to install BeReal because they “didn’t want more social networking,” saying the ones they actually consumed “a lot of time” in their daily lives.

In this dilemma between the desire for digital presence and the desire to enjoy everyday moments without going across the screen, the question remains: Why do we feel the need to have so many social networks?

Sociologist Vitor Ferreira explains that social networks are a kind of “theater” where people can express themselves, and even more important for young people, where they discover and build their identity, for what they feel the need to present themselves as they want is perceived.

“Young people’s social networks are primarily spaces for social networking, self-presentation, and expression – but for the performance of expression,” he explains. This is because the “I” we show the other is always presented “in context”, hence its similarity to the concert stage, where “we only show what we want to show”.