Despite the technical frustrations, people keep coming back for their daily post. BeReal users kept with the app at higher rates than the top 10 social apps, according to numbers from data.ai, a consumer and market data platform. For the month of May, users who are still with the app after 7 days is almost 50% at BeReal, compared with 37% for other apps. After 30 days, those numbers level out at 35% and 34%.
One user, 19-year-old University of Michigan student Brianna Fox who uses she/they pronouns, would try to take a picture but see instead their face toned purple and multiplied into a kaleidoscope-like grid, an effect their normal iPhone camera doesn’t have. When friends also got technical bugs, they joked that Fox passed it to them. Still, Fox continues to post daily.
“The only reason I would say I keep using it is it’s funny,” Fox said. “There are no filters like Instagram or Snapchat. It’s more candid, and I like that more.”
Omer Cayir, a 22-year-old law student in London, also posts to BeReal every day. He started using it in April, and after a couple of weeks saw glitches like the caption or whole post deleting. For about a month, he wouldn’t get the notification that it was time to post. Cayir said it was frustrating, but he was happy to deal with it because he was still in the honeymoon phase with the app.
“There was a week or so where it felt a bit like a chore,” he said, “but the app luckily in the nick of time started to fix itself and started to get more exciting again.”
Not every user is enamored. Ben Boehlert, a 22-year-old research assistant in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said half the time when he gets the “Time to BeReal” notification he doesn’t bother, and the other half he tries and fails to post. Many days he doesn’t see the notification, because it’s in the middle of the work day.
“It’s made it kind of impossible to use,” he said, “which is unfortunate because it’s cool.“
Fox, Cayir and Boehlert all got on the app after friends convinced them to join. Lakshmanan said when people talk to their friends about the app it creates a network effect that can help the app take off. But the platform needs to invest in making it usable so people’s behavior becomes ingrained, the professor said.
With the infusion of capital and “a little more investment” in the product and infrastructure, the glitches should get ironed out in time, Lakshmanan said. “Now, whether this will go the way of Facebook or Twitter, that’s an open question.”