YouTube sensation Casey Neistat and former Tumblr engineer Matt Hackett launched their social video app, Beme, in July 2015 to much fanfare. The reaction was swift, with half a million downloads within just a few days and critics speaking in glowing terms about its fresh, unique approach. However, the buggy beta version didn’t live up to its promise. Neistat spent nearly a year refining Beme before relaunching it in May, so now is the perfect time to explore why this social app stands out from the rest.
Beme Is About Capturing Unedited, Unfiltered Moments
Most video sharing platforms let you spend time refining your clips before sharing them. YouTube lets you upload videos you’ve painstakingly edited elsewhere. Snapchat is a little more organic, but you can still review your video and add drawings and text. Beme bucks the trend because its videos are automatically posted once they’re made — before their creators see them.
Users open the Beme app and cover the proximity sensor to start recording. Once the sensor is exposed again, the recording ends and the video uploads to the platform. It might terrify online users who are keen to present the perfect image, but the app aims to get you living in your moments rather than analyzing them. Once you give yourself over to the process, you’re likely to find it so liberating that you’ll be glad for the iPad Pro’s 10-hour battery life — because, as everyone knows, few things drain a device’s battery like capturing video content!
“On Snapchat, I see so many fun faces, filters and drawings in my feed, and all of these are creative expressions,” Neistat explained to Mashable. “However, Beme is less about an expression that represents you creatively and more about sharing what is in front of you as a raw piece of video.”
Beme Disables Your Screen During Recording
Many people use their mobile device screens as mirrors. As they take selfies or videos, they’re just as concerned with how their hair looks and the expressions they’re making as capturing a moment. But this kind of self-editing, even in real time, is against the Beme ethos. Beme prevents it by turning off your screen while you’re recording. This measure helps you focus on the moment that was so compelling that you wanted to share it — rather than on the recording process.
Beme Encourages Real Interaction
Other social networks encourage users to like, share, or favorite posts that speak to them. These acts are meant to be measures of engagement, but how engaged can someone be if he or she is merely clicking an icon? Beme promotes real interaction by encouraging its users to send photo or video responses recording their reactions to the posts they see as they see them. Again, this measure aims at capturing an authentic response rather than one that’s been measured and filtered before it’s seen.
Beme Profiles Create Complete Pictures of Users
Beme’s first incarnation saw videos disappearing after they were viewed, à la Snapchat. However, in the latest version, the creators chose to keep clips on a user’s profile to create a fuller, more complete picture of the person posting them. Users can view up to 25 videos from their contacts to get to really know them.
See Interesting People, Not Ads
As social networks like Facebook and YouTube have become more popular, they’ve been taken over by corporations. It’s no accident that we sometimes see more posts from advertisers and viral content creators than meaningful posts from our friends these days.
“Social networks are trending toward more and more concentrated sugar water, algorithmically placing content that will keep your eyes glued first, at the cost of a more meaningful overall experience,” Hackett explained to PSFK.
Rather than introducing you to companies, Beme’s creators want you to meet people through their app. While you can use the app to connect with friends, it’s worth taking a look at the “interesting strangers” Beme recommends. “Some of my favorite people on the platform I discovered this way, like a US Army soldier deployed in Kandahar, or a Taiwanese high school student,” Hackett said.
In a world of filters, fine-tuning, and shameless ads, Beme is refreshingly honest. It’s available for free download from iTunes and Google Play.