Say hello to Beme – YouTube vlogger and superstar Casey Neistat’s new social video platform that has made it its mission to make social media authentic.

It’s a step change from all other social media out there: all of them allow for a carefully curated digital self through the simple function of reviewing what you’ve written, photographed or recorded before posting it. Some allow you to edit after you’ve posted.

Beme is the odd one out: no preview, no review, no filters, no editing, no second chances.

I love the simplicity of it. Launch the app, start recording by holding your phone to your chest, chin or just by holding your finger over the iPhone’s proximity sensor. Four seconds later, the phone chimes or vibrates to let you know that your recording is up. Repeat as often as you like.

Bemes recorded in quick succession are posted as one long clip – I don’t know how big the gap between Bemes needs to be for it to be considered a new Beme.

Call me old fashioned…

… but I don’t like that Bemes vanish after watching them. Much like Snapchat, this kind of ephemeral social media seems to be increasingly popular with younger people – I find it annoying that I cannot watch something again. Especially as the majority of Bemes are 4 seconds long.

I suppose this means that I am still of the old-school where your digital identity is made up of a collection of things, whereas the youngens see their digital identity as ever changing, right now, fluid.

Anybody here?

Two metrics let you know that you’re not just Beme-ing into the void

  1. a counter that tells you how many people have spent how much time as you
  2. reactions

Spending time as somebody else is an interesting concept and exactly the point of Beme: an unfiltered, unedited, raw look at somebody else’s life through their eyes. Also, while the app is pronounced to rhyme with the word ‘beam’ – it’d be much more appropriate to see it as an invitation to “be me.”

Reactions are essentially real-time selfies – taken while watching a Beme. And while it’s lovely to receive them – often from random people around the world – I find that ‘reacting’ on Beme is awkward.

Watching a Beme is simple enough: tap and hold on a name in your feed (a la Snapchat). To react to a Beme, you have to add another finger to the equation and tap – this activates your phone’s front facing camera and every tap takes a photo of whatever is in view. Most likely your double chinned, ‘concentration face’. And you have to do all of this in a four second window.

It’s odd that the reactions are the one place where you can actually see what you’re recording – as opposed to Bemes, which are shot entirely blind.

So. Do I need to be on Beme?

Not unless you’re cool with raw, shaky, poorly framed and completely ephemeral video snippets from your life.

And even then, there is a reason why most popular social media platforms allow you to curate a perfect and beautiful digitial version of your life: everyday life is kinda boring. Unless you’re a celebrity, most people wouldn’t give a crap about what you’re doing right now. Especially if the digital manifestation of what you’re doing is of a crappy quality.

And this is where – for me – Neistat’s grand idea of authentic social falls over: his wildly successful YouTube channel is deservedly famous for highly produced, painstakingly edited films. Every single one of his films provides a carefully constructed view into Neistat’s life – into just those bits that he allows us to see.

Beme (and any other form of media for that matter) is just like that – whatever you chose to broadcast is exactly that: an active decision to show something and not something else.

No matter. I want in. Gimme a Beme code

Beme is free to download from iTunes – but I think you still need a code to activate it. Let me know if you do and I’ll hook you up.

Oh, and if you’re on Beme already, follow me: thomasknorpp

Maybe that way the reactions I do get won’t all be from random weirdos…

Bits and bytes

Videos of the week

“It can wait.”

You know what’s going to happen in this clip. You expect it. When it does come, it punches you right in the face.

The flyer made out of chocolate that helps you lose weight? Witchcraft! 😉

It’s pronounced gif. GIF!

KFC in Romania wants you to troll your friends into thinking you’re on vacation – rather than stuffing your face with a Zinger.

And finally…

Trump Your Cat

  1. Brush your cat
  2. Form the hair you brushed into a toupee
  3. Place toupee on cat
  4. Share & tag @trumpyourcat, DM, or #trumpyourcat

Bonus and finally…

1,000 musicians play Learn to Fly by Foo Fighters to ask the band to come and play in Cesena, Italy.