At first glance, I didn’t want to like this app. I have written more than a couple of times about social media shiny object syndrome. Most of the sites that make an initial splash wear off and fade into relative obscurity within a couple of months. Think Highlight, Ello, Yo and so many more.
After spending a lot of time on this app over the last week (including getting sucked into an epic 7 hour long marathon Meerkat from Vincenzo Landino that lasted until 4am CST on Sunday morning and had more than 300+ people watching, including Marc Andreessen, in the middle of the night), there’s something about this app that feels different. There’s something super sticky that keeps you coming back. Both as a broadcaster and a viewer.
This app originally launched a couple of weeks ago via ProductHunt and Twitter. The timing couldn’t have been better executed as it’s right before SXSW. So far, the buzz is off the charts, with more than 19,000+ streams in the last week, according to Topsy.
Why is this app generating so much buzz? And, why am I so addicted to it? I have pretty much lived on Meerkat and Twitter this weekend. (Sidenote: It’s giving me flashbacks to the six months in early 2010 where I pretty much lived on Twitter, but that’s a story for another day). Going back to the stickiness of the Meerkat app, I think it’s a combination of three factors.
Seamless integration with Twitter
Everything within this live streaming app syncs with Twitter.
- When you favorite the stream in the app, it favorites it on Twitter as well.
- Comments in the stream show up as Twitter replies.
- Restreams are Twitter retweets.
All of this leads to increased virality.
Ease of use to stream video
Livestreaming isn’t new. There’s already Ustream, Livestream, Twitch, and even Google Hangouts on air. However, Meerkat makes it incredibly easy to stream from your iPhone or iPad via this iOS app. It eliminates many of the most common barriers to entry.
Once you complete the livestream, the video goes away (similar to Snapchat). The broadcaster has the ability to save it to their camera roll. However if the broadcaster doesn’t choose to upload it to Youtube or their video site of choice (I estimate many don’t), the stream is gone for good.
6 Meerkat Use Cases
As a community manager, I can see this app having a ton of really cool use cases not only when it comes to community building, but also for marketers and advertisers. It’s a way to merge online and offline experiences in an authentic way.
1. Taking offline meetups online and back offline
This is something Jeremy Cabalona is already doing via streaming Vine’s meetups on Meerkat.
— jeremy cabalona (@jeremycabo) March 7, 2015
2. Sharing unique perspectives and interviews
Hands down the most insightful and cutest example of this so far is what David Armano is doing. He’s essentially interviewing his 12-year-old son, Mason, to get a tween’s perspective on social media, gaming, Microsoft, and a bunch of other topics. It’s fun, super casual and have learned quite a few insights from the two I personally watched.
3. Creating tutorials and/or crowdsourced knowledge
One example I have seen so far is what Safia, a college student, is doing on Meerkat. She’s studying film at Fullsail University. In addition to live-streaming her daily life, she is also creating tutorials around film making and using Premiere Pro.
4. Meerkat Influencer Outreach
Similar to the talent that emerged from Instagram, YouTube and Vine, it’s very possible that top talent emerges from Meerkat. While super early, here’s a few Merkatters that are on my radar.
5. Steaming live news on the ground
There’s a huge opportunity to stream news on the ground for both journalists and citizen journalists. With the viral hook from Twitter, a lot of news could break via Meerkat.
6. Feedback loops
As more people get on Meerkat, this can be an awesome outlet to provide deeper relationships between both brands and their customers or musicians and their fans. In fact, we are already seeing some musicians, like The Jonas Brothers, experimenting with Meerkat.
The only real con is the app is pretty buggy, as that’s to be expected with such a new app. And, I had an initial problem with the app crashing every time I tried to stream. Huge shout out to Ryan at Meerkat for the fast support! 🙂
While it is nearly impossible to tell if this app becomes as big as Instagram or Snapchat, I can say it has a real chance of stealing the show at SXSW later this week. Something, no social media site has really been able to do since Foursquare in 2009.
What are your thoughts on Meerkat? Please share below in the comment section.