Last summer saw the launch of Beme, a social networking app created by YouTube sensation Casey Neistat. Whilst the app grew to instant popularity, it flopped almost as quickly, leaving fans disappointed by its underdevelopment. Beme then kept a low profile, whilst it was refined and brought out of beta.
Now, Beme is back with a bang, available on Android – so we couldn’t wait to try it out. We were intrigued by the concept and while time will tell whether it will catch on, we wanted to make it the focus of this month’s ‘App of the Month’.
In case you haven’t heard of it, Beme is a video app that allows you to ‘live in the moment’, by capturing unfiltered content as a way to share personal experiences. The app requires you to hold your phone to your chest, which then activates the proximity sensor so the camera starts recording whatever might be in front of you. There is no chance to review or edit the footage, and it is uploaded to an Instagram-style feed.
Whilst you may wonder what makes that different to other video apps, it’s safe to say that there is one huge standout feature. The screen goes black when you’re recording, meaning you can’t actually see what you’re filming. The app forces you to take in everything around you and engage in real life. We found that this feature, along with others – such as the inability to review a clip before it is uploaded, produced an experience that felt fresh and candid.
The aim is hidden in the name: “be me”; see what I see in an authentic way. Speaking about the app, Co-founder Matt Hackett says: “we intentionally turn off your screen so you can focus on the moment that was so exciting you wanted to share it, rather than making some precious creation that takes you out of the moment.”
When trying out the app, we saw that the honest form of broadcasting day-to-day life meant that clips had real potential to be fascinating and revealing – or dull and boring… However, this reflects daily life in a more accurate way and we wondered if people would respond to this innovative approach.
Conversely, the motivation to produce interesting content may push users to make something of their free time. In this way, Beme could be the social network that makes people interact and seize the day.
Upon opening the app, there is a simple sign-up process. The scrolling system feels intuitive, and the ‘search’ page displays an edit of popular or interesting clips. The page is divided into categories including: popular today, LOL, and by location. You can scroll through clips from people across the world as they bike, enjoy barbeques and have fun with their friends, it feels like a genuine and charming insight into people’s lives.
It will be interesting to see how Beme develops. As it has many similarities to Snapchat, there is a constant challenge for Beme to show how it differs and stay ahead of competing services. With the advantage of a receptive audience behind him, Neistat was able to get a novel idea off the ground that perhaps wouldn’t have gained the same traction from a new developer. Beme offers the authenticity and honesty that can be foundlacking in popular forms social apps, and it’s certainly a breath of fresh air.
Beme is available to download in the for free. Once you’ve given it a go, let us know what you think by either commenting below or getting in touch on Twitter.