A livestream app revolution!
There sure are an awful lot of mentions of meerkats and periscopes in social media of late; but, before you go looking for the nearest safari or submarine you should know a few things... First, Meerkat and Periscope simply mean live-streaming from your mobile device. Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, thanks to the advent of a couple pretty slick and oddly-named mobile applications, you're now able to broadcast live from your phone. So, think of it this way: If you wanted to broadcast your House Party on Party Day for a bit - say as guests are arriving or opening-up their goodie bags, you could always stream it on one of these apps for other folks to enjoy...as it happens!
My word technology has come a long way, hasn't it? While there are some fundamental differences in functionality and look-and-feel that distinguish the two mobile apps, they accomplish this in relatively similar ways.
The same way that you'd skim through your Twitter Home Feed or your Facebook News Feed, both apps open-up to a screen that will seem oddly familiar to anyone who's used social media platforms in the last couple years: Your home screen feed. Of course, at first it won't be populated with much that's personally relevant (since both apps will pull-in some of the most active livestreams that are currently or recently streaming).
Once you've had a chance to search for noteworthy folks and friends though, the streams will become more and more customized to what you like. And, let me just say, it's a bit crazy to know that when you're watching one of these, it's literally happening live with a touch of a few buttons and, no, it's not CNN!
Both apps offer you the ability to peruse some of the more active livestreams going on or you can easily search for other users to follow.
As you'll no doubt quickly find on both of these apps, you by NO MEANS have to be trained or a veteran broadcaster to have fun with these apps. Simply brush-up on a steady hand and stream away to your heart's content. Part of what's authentic and wonderful about being able to enjoy a livestream is arguably some of the grittiness and realism of the stream itself. It shows you there's another person on the other end and not some highly-produced bit of paid content!
One additional thing that's nice about Periscope is that it gives you a bit of a performance summary of each stream when you finish-up. As it's saving the stream for you to be able to replay, this little log of activity is kind of nice as a recap!
So, while each app has a slightly different interface around streaming and different functions, such as "Likes" on Meerkat and the Stream Summary on Periscope, one thing to keep in mind is that the streams themselves are only visible for a short period.
In addition to being able to find folks in both Periscope and Meerkat, one feature that Meerkat tends to focus on is the gaming/ranking aspects of users. So, if people like the streams that you're producing they can view (obviously!), like and comment in real-time on the livestream. Meerkat calculates an engagement score and ranks users, only the luckiest and most engaging of whom show up on this Leaderboard that's available in the app.
Periscope only keeps a tally of how many followers you have, similar to Twitter (which is no coincidence, given that Twitter acquired Periscope a little over three months ago.)
I'm just going to go right out and say it: I like Periscope better, myself. Now, don't get me wrong, there are a bunch of great things about Meerkat...beyond one of the cutest names. However, in terms of a slick-looking and intuitive mobile app, Periscope feels more capable. The great thing is, only YOU can decide for yourself. So, if you haven't already started playing around with these apps, give them a try! They're addictive and a pretty amazing technological feat - accomplishing something that only a few years ago well-equipped news stations weer only capable of.
While you're at it, be sure to keep your eyes peeled, we'll be finding some fun ways to incorporate Meerkat and Periscope into House Party, too. Whether it's moments in the office, sneak peeks and more.
How have you been using these livestream apps so far?