How often are you actually yourself on social media?
Posting a photo to Instagram usually involves adding filters and light touch-ups. Tweets can be carefully crafted. Even Snapchat, which prides itself on the experience of sharing what you’re doing right now, can be doctored with filters, emojis, text, and hand-drawn doodles.
A new app called Beme wants to be the simplest way of sharing short video clips of your life. And it tries to do this by eschewing all of the editing and sharing options we have grown accustomed to on social networks like Snapchat and Instagram.
Here’s how it works: videos on Beme are no more than four seconds long, and you’re unable to see what you share before you post it. The way Beme shoots video on the iPhone is unique. The app taps into a sensor on the iPhone called a proximity sensor, which is next to the camera on the front of your iPhone.
It’s the sensor that detects how close the iPhone is to your body, and when it’s covered and Beme is open, the app starts shooting video.
Neistat demonstrated how shooting on Beme works in a video posted to his 800,000 YouTube subscribers on Friday. To take a video with the iPhone’s rear camera, he held the screen to his chest with the app open.
Beme makes a notification noise when it begins to shoot and when it finishes. The upload process happens automatically, and your followers will instantly be able to view your video.
You add people you want to follow in Beme by entering their usernames. The app presents a list of users you follow along with strangers it thinks you might find interesting. Tap and hold on a name to view a four-second video clip.
You have to hold your finger on the screen while watching, and once the video is over it’s deleted forever. The viewing experience is almost identical to Snapchat, although that app recently removed the need to tap and hold to play videos.
While you’re watching, you can send quick reaction selfies by tapping the screen with another finger. The person whose video you are watching will see your reactions under a dedicated section of the app.
Beme is an interesting concept. The posting experience feels nearly instant, and watching videos others have shared makes you feel like you have a raw, unfiltered window into what they’re seeing.
Beme is free to download in the App Store, but to unlock the app you have to get an invite code from someone already using it. There are no in-app purchases, and it’s not clear how the app will make money.
It will be interesting to see if people embrace the idea of what-you-see-is-what-you-get video sharing. Not only do you have no way of seeing what you shoot before you share it, but you can’t delete videos later if they’re embarrassing or you mess up.
Beme has plenty of issues it needs to address. Namely, it doesn’t appear to have been designed with women in mind, as Casey Johnston, a writer, pointed out on Medium. It also is difficult to find people to follow, and there are bugs that cause the app to glitch or crash. Neistat has even cautioned people to wait to download the app until an update with bug fixes comes out next week.
Given Neistat’s strong social media following and the app’s bold take on sharing video, Beme is sure to at least make an initial splash. But whether it will make a lasting impression in such a crowded space remains to be seen.