Have you been on YouTube ever? Good. That means you’ve probably seen or heard of the film maker Casey Neistat. He’s the godfather of the short video medium (with 511,192,195 views more than me), a prolific vlogger, a brand ambassador and self professed workaholic. This is how he divides up his day:
About 9 months ago, Casey and a team of developers launched Beme (pronounced beam), a challenger to the giants of the social media industry.
In Casey’s eyes, the world of social media has become less about recording and more about self promotion. He and his team are sick of the filtered, polished and cultivated worlds that litter the social media landscape. How many shots did Kim Kardashian have to take before that famous naked selfie was perfect, huh?
Beme was founded with two challenges in mind.
Firstly, Neistat and his team wanted people to be more genuine in social media, and have asked them to "share how you see the world, not how you want the world to see you".
On top of that, the team bemoan social media’s inherent problem: that to share the moment, we normally have to remove ourselves from it. To catch that perfect sunrise, we have to see it through the screen of a smart phone.
To these ends, the user experience of Beme is markedly different to that of Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. The user’s ability to frame, filter and alter what they are posting is non existent. In fact, your eyes are removed from the process altogether.
You start recording your 4 second video by holding your smart phone to your chest. This triggers your phone’s proximity sensor, and 4 seconds later, the video is out there, visible to anyone who you want to share it with. There’s no editing, no filters and no re-takes.
In a literal sense, it’s a take it or leave it approach, showing very real and candid moments in people’s lives. Some may love it and some may hate it. But that's at the heart of every good challenger brand. Casey’s chosen to sacrifice the KK’s and the Kanye’s to Overcommit to real people and real moments. It's certainly the approach of an Enlightened Zagger.
It’s too early to tell whether Neistat and co. will hit the heights they so desire. Social media is a brutal business to get into, and there are many rushing to declare these challengers dead in the water already (along with many others who’ve tried to win in this space). While the initial flurry of activity (1.1m downloads in the first month) has of course died down, user reviews on the app store are still positive, and Neistat and the team are bullish about a product they say is still in Beta.
We’ll be keeping an unfiltered eye on Beme and the team over the coming months to see how things are going.
Nick’s a strategy consultant at eatbigfish and an Arsenal fan. He can often be found wandering around North London with Ruby, his French Bulldog, both of them looking for food that they don’t need.