Time to BeReal.
At a random moment of the day, you and your friends receive a notification at the same time, and within 2 minutes, you use the front and rear cameras to capture the moment, no filters and no editing, and directly share each other's real moments of the day.
This is the "social death" game played by the French social media app BeReal.
Of course, from their perspective, the gameplay is as candid as the app's name, and it means you have real friends.
But the idea of dual cameras wasn't original to BeReal. Back in 2013, the short-lived iOS camera app Frontback supported this feature .
In the past two months, real social networking like BeReal has also been popularized on mainstream platforms, and it wants more and more people to keep Real.
Real social, TikTok, Instagram are "copying"
The "social death" gameplay of each platform has some shadows of BeReal, but it also incorporates its own characteristics more or less.
The latest to keep up with the trend is TikTok.
On September 15, TikTok announced that it will be testing a feature called Now in the next few weeks, after receiving a daily reminder, users can use the front and rear cameras to take still photos or 10-second videos, recording what is being done at the moment. things, and share with friends who follow each other.
Short videos are naturally a form of content that TikTok cannot give up. For TikTok, this is an extension of the video creation tool.
On August 29, Snapchat added a "dual camera" icon to the camera toolbar . It has four layouts: vertical, horizontal, picture-in-picture and cutout. It can also use creative tools to add music, stickers, lenses, etc. That's what makes Snapchat special.
Compared to BeReal, Snapchat's "dual camera" doesn't send daily photo reminders, but it has more editing tools. Perhaps this is because it "burns immediately after reading" and has a strong sense of the present, and what it needs to do is how to better record the present. The innovation of the "dual camera" is that it captures multiple perspectives at the same time.
Instagram moved to imitate BeReal even earlier.
On August 23, Instagram was revealed to be testing the "IG Candid" function , which means candid.
The naming is similar to BeReal, and the kernel is exactly the same. According to whistleblower @Alessandro Paluzzi, Instagram users who use this feature will receive a photo notification at random times every day.
After receiving the notification, the Instagram camera turns on both the front and rear cameras, giving the user 2 minutes to take a photo and then share the content in Stories. There is a striking blue border around the avatar to distinguish it from other stories.
If you want to see the Candid of others, you must first create your own Candid. After all, trust is mutual. Similar to BeReal, you can't scroll through other people's daily photos until BeReal uploads your own.
A Meta spokesperson confirmed in a statement that the feature was an "internal prototype" rather than an "external test," but declined to provide further details. To say the least, Instagram is indeed considering replicating this feature.
In fact, as early as July, Instagram has launched the dual-camera recording mode "Dual" , but it has not yet been matched with other experiences.
But “Dual” has actually been in development for several years, according to a former Instagram product designer . It was released when BeReal was in full swing, perhaps because the timing was just right.
Being asked to take pictures every day at unexpected times, without being able to edit and perfect the images, is what BeReal believes in "randomness creates authenticity."
When BeReal positioned itself as an "anti-Instagram", Instagram also took a different direction from the past, actively becoming less refined and less Instagrammable.
Reality or illusion, but sharing the daily life is the trend
The BeReal gameplay mentioned at the beginning, there are 3 interesting details:
If the photo is more than 2 minutes old, the photo will be marked as "late"; the metadata will show how many times the photo has been retaken before the final version is released; once a new photo reminder is issued on a new day, the previous photo will be disappear.
Therefore, on the one hand, there is a sense of urgency brought about by the restrictions of the rules, and on the other hand, there is a sense of relaxation that focuses on the ordinary and daily life.
BeReal is not so much a photo as it is an everyday ritual of sharing things with friends. It might not matter what a friend ate last night, but it's fun to share a moment of the day with them, and it's important to "remember to keep in touch."
But "The New Yorker" believes that BeReal is not completely real. When the photo reminder arrives, we will subconsciously make changes to make ourselves look as less awkward as possible, such as from lying down to sitting.
And BeReal's marketing rhetoric implicitly criticizes traditional social platforms like Instagram, which seem to encourage dishonesty and inauthenticity, reducing our social quality and mental health.
In fact, no matter which social platform we are on, we can’t help but show a better version of ourselves. This is due to human nature and is understandable. Deliberate pursuit of reality is an illusion.
▲ Picture from: Getty Images
However, the popularity of BeReal is enough to show that the way to socialize online has changed.
BeReal launched in 2020, but it will be popular in 2022. It was initially followed by college students. Earlier this year, young people began to discuss the app a lot on TikTok. Many content about BeReal received more than 500,000 likes, and then this enthusiasm continued to Twitter, with many Out of circle diagram.
Today, BeReal has become one of Gen Z's favorite apps, becoming the No. 1 non-gaming app on the U.S. App Store in August for several weeks.
Nothing doesn't change, only change happens again and again.
In an interview, Instagram head Adam Mosseri emphasized that connecting people with family and friends is as important to them as it was two, five or eight years ago. However, as the way of communication has changed, so has the way in which platforms meet this need.
For example, when Instagram was first launched, there were no Stories or DMs. Communication has now moved to stories, private chats, and group chats. More photos and videos are shared to Stories in a day than to feeds.
Likewise, with BeReal now favored by Gen Z, Instagram, in crisis, must follow. Zuckerberg has said more will be done to win over young adult users between the ages of 18 and 29, even at the expense of older users.
Interestingly, BeReal has publicly stated that it will not make users famous, and if you want to become an influencer, you can stay on TikTok and Instagram.
And Instagram's imitation of BeReal may indeed keep more users on its side.
“People who currently use BeReal and Instagram will definitely find it more convenient to play on one platform, and even those who are criticizing the feature now will end up using it eventually.”
Instagram can't go back to Instagram
Instagram's recent "innovative" moves have been frequent.
Some time ago, Instagram was publicly requested to "make Instagram become Instagram again" because of its "TikTokization". They believe it should focus on photo sharing among friends.
▲ Picture from: Gizmodo
Aware of the number of opponents, Instagram had to suspend the closed beta of TikTok-like full-screen display and reduce algorithmically recommended content in the feed. But the head of Instagram made it clear that "the retreat is not permanent."
Meanwhile, Instagram's resolve on short videos hasn't changed. Because they noticed that when the internet got faster, when data got cheaper and people were turning to video more and more, "we just see this over and over again".
However, WSJ recently reported that Instagram has suffered setbacks in imitating TikTok, with "most Reels users not engaging at all".
▲ Image from: shutterstock
Reels is Instagram’s short video feature, which allows recording short videos and adding music, filters and other effects. It feels like a “copy of TikTok”, but it exists inside Instagram and is not a separate app.
From the data point of view, Instagram users spend less than 17.6 million hours per day watching Reels, while TikTok users spend 197.8 million hours, which is 10 times more than the former.
Instagram believes the main reason is a lack of content creators and influencers using Reels. A third of all Reels are created on other sites, many from TikTok, and watermarked on Instagram.
Going back to the voice of the Kardashians and being Instagram again, what is real Instagram?
In their view, the real Instagram is mostly about photos and friends, while the fake Instagram is made up of algorithmic recommendations and videos. Of course, it is more practical to change from the former to the latter, which will also affect the creative mode and revenue of creators.
Now, Instagram may be on par with BeReal.
Instagram has also had a lot of "imitation" experience before. In 2016, imitated Snapchat and launched Stories, which disappeared 24 hours after the release; in August 2020, followed TikTok and launched the short video function Reels.
▲ Picture from: [email protected]_prada
In this regard, Gizmodo commented :
Instagram and its parent company, Meta, are jerking off all competition with new players like TikTok and BeReal. However, instead of pushing the boundaries and trying new things, it just looks like it wants to turn the app into something else.
Instagram even got into a slightly contradictory situation with parody.
On the one hand, with the introduction of TikTok-style algorithms, more and more short videos of people not following people appear on the homepage of users, rather than static pictures of people following people. We are pushed by the attention economy in the information flow.
On the other hand, try a more realistic social model, like BeReal, which maintains real-world friendships and provides a short-lived online sharing in a fragmented social network.
In fact, Instagram and BeReal are not completely opposites. If BeReal is small and beautiful, Instagram is more big and comprehensive. The former is personal and focused, while the latter is universal and decentralized.
Granted, the world is changing fast, and Instagram needs to follow suit. Ease of use, rich filters, and a neat grid layout are the first images of Instagram. Those calls to bring Instagram back to Instagram, like the admiration for BeReal, aren't necessarily out of nostalgia.
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