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App developer fights social media inauthenticity with more social media
YouTube filmmaker and app developer Casey Neistat knows it's a given people will use their phones to share information with friends, but his new app, Beme, looks to limit the phone's encroachment on everyday life. - photo by Chandra Johnson
For anyone who's ever been to a concert and found themselves standing in a sea of cell phones, Casey Neistat has an app for that.

Neistat, a YouTube filmmaker turned app developer, has created Beme, an app that claims to make sharing and reacting to content (especially video) less, as he puts it, "fake."

"Social media is supposed to be a digital version of who we are as people," Neistat said in a Beme promotional video. "Instead, it's this highly sculpted, calculated, calibrated version of who we are."

Neistat isn't alone in his gripe about social media somehow making life on Earth much more fake. This summer, Wake Forest University English professor Eric G. Wilson penned an entire book on the philosophy that the world, and the people in it, are becoming more fake.

"On the Internet and through social networking, theres more opportunity in our current culture than previously to live through fabrications," Wilson said. "So, I may live in small rural town, I may not be the best-looking guy in the world, but I can create anything I want to be on social media and that idea can stand for me."

Neistat's answer to the inauthenticity of social media is, well, more social media, namely in the form of his minimalistic social app, Beme. Neistat argues that Beme allows people to share their experiences through short snippets of video and selfies without dominating the event being captured.

Users capture video and share it instantly by simply holding the phone to their chest covering a sensor in the smartphone activates Beme, which records a 4-second snippet of video, shares it in the app and then disappears ala Snapchat. In turn, Beme viewers can offer feedback not with comments, hearts or clicking a thumbs-up, but rather by taking on-the-fly selfies while watching the Beme, which are also shared instantaneously. No filters, no editing allowed.

"The result is a tool born directly from the mind of someone who has lived much of his adult life online," The New York Times wrote of Beme. "The authenticity that his app offers will be incentive enough to win over a community eager to broadcast their lives in a different way."
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