Does Beme invent the new way of sharing our lives?
Past July 17 a new app was launched. It seemed to became a hype soon after, and a smart introduction campaign was set up by maker and founder Casey Neistat, a well-known filmmaker and vlogger. They have created quite a buzz. I also managed to get unlock code quite early and try the app now for about 3 weeks. Why the app is such a hype?
Casey Neistat is a video maker from New York that began over a year ago with the development of the app. Along with the former technical man of Tumblr Matt Hackett, he built with a small team the first version of the app. Neistat is known for his personal and passionate videos that quickly go viral. About the lack of respect for bicycle paths in New York or what makes Snapchat unique. As no other Neistat is using Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and Snapchat. He is one of the most powerful storytellers.
With Beme he wants to bring back the authenticity in sharing life moments again. With the app you make movies of 4 seconds without seeing what you record and without the ability to assess the recorded material or to adjust. The app responds to the proximity sensor of the iPhone which ensures that the screen dims when you call with your phone. In the video below Neistat explains.
The app is the ultimate form of the trend towards raw and ephemeral media. Snapchat was one of the first and most famous services that let you sent messages that disappeared immediately after watching. Snapchat later added the ‘stories’ functionality which can be 24 hours long look back before it disappears. It makes for a special way of sharing your life the day. Easy and direct.
Meerkat and Periscope belong also to this trend. Meerkat is pure live and direct sharing what you do, and Periscope also offers the opportunity to look back 24 hours. The material itself is not stored by default.
Beme seems to sit in between. The short direct videos you can watch just one time resemble Snapchat, but with Snapchat it is also possible to view the recorded material before sharing, evaluate and enrich with drawings and text. Beme want to keep it even closer to reality. The only control you have is the decission of sharing the moment itself.
Beme resembles to me the most with Taptalk. This app has the same principle that you share something (photo or video) you do not see before you send it. However, with Taptalk you can add text, but you have to think in advance. Taptalk is also very good for careless sharing the moment, like Beme does.
Difference between Beme and Taptalk is that with the latter you always chooses with who you share it. Thus, it is always 1 on 1 communication.
In Beme you can follow everyone and everything you share is directed to those who follow. And sometimes spontaneously to others based on location (far away stranger) or relationship (friend or friend).
Another particular aspect is the way of reactions in Beme. No likes or comments, but you can react while watching a movie with a picture of yourself during the watching. So you can only give a grimace. It is not really a way to communicate on the material, it is above all a way to share that you’ve seen it.
Neistat found a smart way to brought to the attention to the app. More than 100 days ago, he started a daily vlog. Everything is shared in it, Work (the making of the app), and in particular private life. Neistat is quite adept at this and knows to capture his life in a teasing manner. You feel as a viewer (around 400 thousand viewers per day) part of his life. The videos have a clear format and it also makes it clear that is a time consuming piece of work for Neistat.
The vlogs seem a direct testcase of the form for Beme. You could say that Neistat tries to make his work and talent in making life story movies available to all with the app.
The question is whether it works. Will this app make sharing moments more accessible and create more authentic, closer to reality?
Sharing a moment certainly going to be very easy. A 4 second clip is quickly made. The physical control by holding the phone against your chest (or your chin) is a swift interaction.
The reaction-function is a gimmick that seems not so much to add, but it is an important way to show that you have looked, or rather the other way around: it is the way to discover whether your video also reaches people. As there is also no indication whether people have viewed your videos than the total watchtime of all of you shares.
What I find contradictory however is the encouragement of sharing personal volatile elements on a public channel. That makes sharing in itself especially suitable for people who feel that their life is interesting for everyone. That in itself is of course the target group of the app. Which is a large audience, anyone who makes selfies in fact. Looking at the visitors of VidCon illustrates how important online video has become in popular culture of teenagers.
Is that what you share more authentic than other social media? It certainly works that you have no idea what you share. It stimulates ephemeral sharing moments. But does that make the videos also interesting for viewers? While sharing you have at least to tell why you share something to give it context. Everyone cameo as his own life.
The app still needs some structural updates. It is a pity that standard social media principles are not present. So I am not able to see the friends of my friends. This limits the spread of the app.
It would also be nice if you filter movies to your friends (of course only once).
The success is highly dependent on the spread. I still have too little people from my own network using it to share moments. The app is interesting if you can use it in to follow the lives of those close to your heart.
Initially, the distribution of the app was done with secret unlock codes, admittedly not too much to overload the technique but also convenient for creating the hype. It is now possible for anyone to use the app (check Twitter for the latest unlock code). See if it can thereby become a serious player in the sharing services.
Oh and if you are curious to my life: follow me @iskandr
Published before on Adformatie (in Dutch)