New social media platforms and apps come along pretty regularly these days, as everyone tries to jump on the huge cash cow of building a successful social network. Some of these get a lot of hype early on and then are never heard of again (remember the buzz around Ello, the ‘anti-Facebook’, last year?). Every now and again though, some come along that look promising enough to make it through the initial attention and grow beyond just the early-adopters.
So, where does new video-sharing app Beme sit?
What is Beme?
Beme (pronounced ‘beam’ or ‘meme’ with a B) is a video-sharing app with a difference. Working in a similar style to Snapchat, Beme users can send their contacts a four-second video which disappears forever after it’s been viewed.
What makes Beme different though is that the content creator cannot preview or review their content before it is sent. When recording the video, the screen turns black and there’s no way to view what’s been recorded before it’s been sent. The way video is recorded is different too – rather than needing to tap a record button on your screen, they’ve cleverly used the proximity sensor near the top of your iPhone as a record button. When the proximity sensor is covered, recording will start automatically. Beme’s example of this in action is holding your phone against your chest to show people what you’re doing. The purpose of all this, the unedited format of the video and the supposedly more natural way to start a recording, is to create raw and real moments of social media to show what is really happening in our lives, rather than the highly edited, highly filtered versions of reality we share on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The other big difference with Beme is how users interact with the content they receive. When you receive a video, there’s no like button. Instead, you can tap the screen while watching the video to take an instant selfie to show your reaction to the content. Again, all in the name of making Beme content as real as possible.
Why could Beme take off?
Beme’s had a very strong start – in the first week since it launched its users have shared over 1.1 million videos and 2.5 million ‘Reactions’. Massive numbers for a start-up.
A huge part of its early success is down to the existing fan base of one of its creators, Casey Neistat, a viral filmmaker with a large social following of his own, including almost one million YouTube subscribers. Co-creator Matt Hackett is a former VP of Engineering at Tumblr, so between them they certainly have a lot of experience of working with viral and engaging content.
Beme comes at the right time too, as there has been a trend recently towards apps where people can communicate at an individual level (WhatsApp, Snapchat, etc). This shift has coincided with a rise in ‘raw’ content through apps like Periscope, providing something very different to the heavily polished and branded content that you’ll often see on Facebook and Twitter.
Sharing real moments at an individual level – perhaps, for teens, on a channel where their parents aren’t – has been a growing trend throughout this year and Beme is perfectly designed to take advantage of this.
So, what could hold Beme back?
I think the big question for Beme is whether it’s providing something different enough to existing channels. It feels a bit like a hybrid of Snapchat and Periscope – but with the current popularity of both of those apps, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
A big part of how far Beme can go will ultimately be decided by whether people actually want to share unedited video that they can’t check first. Yes, Beme is providing something different by creating an app that doesn’t let the creator view or edit their content first, taking a different route to the highly filtered versions of our lives we like to paint on other social channels… but maybe people like that edited view of life?
The different way of filming video is potentially a bit gimmicky, but I think it’s the ‘Reactions’ feature as a response tool that could actually be the most interesting aspect of Beme.
Having only launched a week ago, Beme will certainly go through many changes along the way. How successful it will be is hard to tell so early on, with the app limited to invite-only for the time being, but it certainly looks like one worth keeping an eye on.