Casey Neistat’s Social Networking App ‘Beme’

On Friday, YouTube star/Filmmaker, Casey Neistat, launched his vision for what social media should be… Beme. The app is currently available for free in the iOS app store and will be available for Android soon. As for the sign-up process right now, you can download the app and reserve your username, but you need to either wait 99 days (from launch day) until it unlocks, or obtain an unlock code from someone who has already unlocked the app (and has unlock code available. They tend to be released it spurts). If you DM me on twitter and mention you read this blog, I’ll bump you to the top of the list when I get more codes (@treding).

For those unfamiliar with Casey Neistat, he burst out on the YouTube scene a few years ago when he made a movie for Nike where him and his friend Max (the same Max from MTV’s Catfish) took Nike’s money and traveled around the world for as long as they could until the money ran out. The movie’s goal was to support the Nike Fuelband, with the message “Make it Count”. Since the explosion of that movie, Casey has continued to make interesting and fun movies throughout the years, but it wasn’t until recently that he started doing a daily vlog, where he outlines the things going on in his life on a daily basis. And while that may sound pretty boring, he’s actually a very interesting guy, and he presents the information in a stylistic, easy to watch, way that makes watching the blogs seem more personal and more fun.

It was through the vlog that he started to introduce people to his new app, which was finally released last week.

Beme is a social media platform in the same vein as Snapchat. You take short, 4-second videos (no pictures), and upload them for your friends to see. Once your friends watch the videos, they disappear forever. Sounds just like Snapchat right? The difference is, you cannot see what you are recording, you cannot preview what you’ve recorded, and once you record it, it’s just posted out there instantly.

The idea behind this method of sharing is that people these days are too worried about how something looks on social media that they end up staring at their phone instead of enjoying, and watching, the thing they are currently experience. Since people are never going to stop wanting to share what they are doing, Beme allows you to focus on the experience you are having, but also, at the same time, share that experience with your friends.

Watch the quick video below for a better understanding of how Beme works.

Beme – My Thoughts

Now I wanted to take a minute and give you my thoughts on the app. There are definitely things that I really like about the platform, and there are things that I think need to be addressed, and things that may hold it back.

I know the app just came out, and it’s in extremely rough form, so I’m not, by any means, holding any of these UI quirks and bugs against the platform, but they are things that I hope will be addressed in future releases.

First of all let’s talk about the overall concept of Beme. The idea that you should not be watching your experiences happen through your phone screen is genius; I love this idea. I try so hard not to be on my phone when we are out with friends or family, but there are still times where I do want to just grab the phone and send out a snapchat story, or snap a quick picture. And I’m fine with doing it for a quick second and then putting the phone down because I’m not the type of person that sits there and has to make sure I get the perfect video or the perfect picture, but I know there are a lot of people out there that have to make sure everything is perfect, whether it’s the snap they want to send or the selfie they just took, and this completely takes them out of the experience they are having.

Beme takes this idea and tries to give you a way to do so without worrying about how something looks, or making sure it’s framed up perfectly, etc. The screen goes black as soon as it starts to record and once it’s done, it immediately sends the video out to the world, so you can’t review it or delete it or try again no matter what; it’s already out there.

The concept and idea is awesome, but after using it over the weekend while out with friends and stuff, I still found myself concentrating on the phone itself and where I thought the camera was pointing; which kind of took me out of the experience. It works totally fine if what you’re looking at is viewable from your chest, or your chin (if that’s where you hold the phone), but otherwise you have to use your other hand to cover the proximity sensor and still point the phone in the general direction of what you want to share, which causes you to still stare at your phone. Now, the screen isn’t on so you’re not paying attention to what you’re actually recording, and you still can’t see what you’ve captured after the fact, so you can’t spend time reviewing it, but during the process of recording, I still found myself paying attention to my phone.

I do definitely see potential in the idea behind it, but the process is a little weird still. Maybe if there was a button that you just tapped and held on the screen, like snapchat, but with a black screen while recording, it would give people a better recording experience since you could hold it different ways with one hand. I do feel that the idea of instantly publishing the videos without being able to review is awesome though.

In regards to the UX/UI of the app, it’s very simple, which I think works well, but at the same time might turn people off to the app. I think they need to adopt Snapchat’s new method of just clicking to watch a video, as holding the screen gets super annoying at times. And by tapping to play the video, it would make sending reaction selfies to your friends a lot easier.

I love the idea that it shows you “nearby stranger”, “interesting stranger”, and “far-away stranger”, and you can watch their beme’s without being friends with them. But in addition to that, I don’t like the main app screen in the fact that it shows multiple Beme’s from the same person. I think it should be like Snapchat stories where each person is just 1 line on the main screen and you can just watch through their Beme’s at your leisure.

And then of course I wish there was a way to see your follower counts and friend suggestions based on who you follow or Twitter/Facebook integration or something. Obviously this is the first version of the app and I know like 2 actual friends that have it anyways, but this would be a nice feature to have in the future.

So other than those couple small things, I think the app does have some potential, but I’m not sure about the staying power of the app. It’ll be interesting to see how people adopt it over the next few months. I know Casey has a huge following on social media, and those people are jumping all over the app, but I think it’s going to need a few changes in order to really keep people coming back over Snapchat. Thankfully Casey also has a bunch of friends that are YouTube/Social Media Celebrities, so the platform will definitely gain a very large user base, very quickly, but only time will tell if the app has what it takes to stick around amongst the current giants.

I will continue to post various Beme’s and stuff for the next few months at least, to give the app a fair shot, and give it a chance to work out the kinks, so if you want to follow me you can find me on Beme at username treding.

Let me know what you think of Beme in the comments, I’m curious as to other people’s thoughts/experiences with the app so far.

1 Comment
  • Berserk Hippo
    July 21, 2015

    It took me a long time to “get” Snapchat, so I don’t expect to understand this for a while either. I totally agree with the *idea* that people spend too much time watching their phones and not the thing they are videoing, but not being able to see what you are sending feels like it makes even less sense. If I am trying to send a video of something and have no idea whether or not it’s in frame or not, what I could be sending could be utter crap. If you want to keep the automatic sending so that people just do it once, that makese sense, but not letting me see what I am shooting just doesn’t register for me.

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