Success, Failure and What to do Next: The Story Of Beme
Success, Failure and What to do Next:
The Story of Beme
What do you think of when you hear the word “beme” (pronounced beam)? You may not even think it sounds like a real word, and in a way, you are correct. It’s an app, or rather, was an app. This is the story of Beme.
In 2015, one of the most successful YouTubers (I know there’s a lot of them these days) Casey Neistat alongside Matt Hackett cofounded and launched Beme, a new form of social-media that aimed to get away from social media. “The point of Beme, though, is to erase some of what Mr. Neistat sees as the façade created with social media in its current forms, stripping away the identities people consciously produce with the perfect Instagram filter or cutesy doodles on a Snapchat photo”.
At the start, the app was quite successful due to the fact that it was new, fresh, and exciting. “Within eight days of the app's release, Beme users had shared 1.1 million videos and logged 2.4 million reactions.” Instead of looking through an app or your camera on the phone you were finally able to not really think about the content you were filming, and instead just enjoy it for what it was. Then, later, other people can view what you uploaded and “react” by sending Snapchat-esque photos back and then the video was gone forever. But that was it. As of January 31st, 201,7 it the was shut down and that was the end of Beme.
Or so many people thought it was the end. A few months after Beme had shut down, it was purchased by CNN, one of the largest new sources in the U.S. and, quite frankly, the world. The purpose of this acquisition by CNN was to “allow the news company to tap into Mr. Neistat’s large, young digital audience…As part of the acquisition, CNN will by summer of next year launch a standalone media company led by Mr. Neistat and Beme co-founder Matt Hackett that will focus on ‘timely and topical video and empowering content creators to use technology to find their voice,’ CNN said in a statement.” Now what could this mean for the future of Beme?
This was a brilliant idea on CNNs part. Take a small company (Beme only had, and still only has, about 50+ employees) that has large names attached to it (Casey Neistat, famous YouTuber and Matt Hackett, former VP of engineering at Tumblr) and combine it with a pseudo-social media function to provide people with the most up to date and interesting topics happening in and around the world.
From this crazy idea formed the newly launched Beme Panels on September 6th as a beta test (I was lucky enough to be a part of this early testing) as well as Beme News, a new YouTube new source. Beme News “officially” started producing content with a dual-story trial video on July 18th, 2017. Since then, they have been producing content just about every week, ranging in topics from discussing the recent natural disasters to human interest stories. The way Beme Panels works with Beme News is a question is sent out on Beme Panels and then people can respond to it in a video format. From there, their opinions might make it into one of the Beme News videos. These “panels” or questions are directly correlated with the topics of the videos that are then produced later on the Beme News channel. “Panels is real perspectives from real people about the news… We’re tired of hearing the same opinions. We want Panels to be a place for seriously honest perspectives, with short video opinions of people across the world. To keep it that raw, we’re growing the community slowly.” This is such a turnaround from the previous iteration of the app that it's almost startling, but in the best way possible. It’s an entirely different app just with a similar name.
This is an exciting time for social media and news outlets. With the way news channels are running now, often times they can be biased one way or another. But Beme News along with Beme Pannels is different. “As [Neistat] freely admits, the emphasis of de-politicization is part of [his] attempt to distance himself from his bankrollers at the embattled and highly politicized CNN…” It’s an important distinction to make when creating such a visible app that in the future could be used by millions of people to talk about their opinions and add to the discussion.
So this is where Beme is at right now. Back from the ashes as (another) fresh faced app ready to take on the world. Alongside Beme News, Beme Panels looks to take social media and discussion based topics to a whole new level. It’s a good start to a new and alternative news source, and we’ll just have to stay tuned to find out what happens next with Beme News.