Introduction to Meerkat Live Streaming

Introduction to Meerkat Live Streaming

What is Meerkat?

Meerkat is an app which allows users to stream live from their (iOS only) devices. It’s amazing how much press Meerkat has been getting, especially since it only launched in the Apple App Store in February. Unlike popular video sharing apps like Vine or Instagram, you actually stream your videos live – no pre-recording or editing is available.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Vine limits to 6 sec, Instagram limits to 15 sec. Meerkat users stream as long as they want.” quote=”Vine limits users to 6 seconds, while Instagram will limit users to no more than 15 seconds of video at one time. Meerkat enables users to stream for as long as they want.”]

Audio and video quality are great for me (even with an “old” iPhone 5) – but for you will be dependent on your connection (as one would expect a streaming app to be) – try to broadcast only with a strong connection – and be sure you are on wifi, have unlimited cell data, or an unlimited bank account – as viewing or streaming for too long on Meerkat will use a large chunk of data. Same goes for battery power – Meerkat is a bit of a power drain.

Who is Using Meerkat?

It helps to have adoption by well known personalities (and favorites of mine) like Jimmy Fallon, Gary Vaynerchuk, Guy Kawasaki, and others.

Even brands are hopping on the Meerkat bandwagon: with companies like Mashable, Red Bull and MasterCard leading the charge.

Now, the best part about Meerkat – new friends and connections! I may have never heard of the following people before hopping on meerkat but now that I have, I can’t stop watching.

The Cody and Katie Trivia Meerkast on Meerkat

I am a huge fan of Cody Stevenson’s (@thecodyvision) streams – The first time I went in Cody and his wife Katie (@KatieS914) was for one of their Trivia Nights. Sure, it’s not a new format – but with their chemistry, ability to engage the audience – it really is a fantastic execution. I’ve been back a few times since then. Just a great couple, and so much fun to watch together.

I also like to listen to Carlos Gil (@CarlosGil83) who just started a new job at LinkedIn this past month – watching him settle into life on the West Coast has been interesting. Not only for the personal anecdotes and trips around his new home of San Francisco – but listening to Carlos talk about Social and Tech – I’ve been learning a lot that I can use in my own business.

Another great user who can’t go without mentioning is Brian Fanzo (@iSocialFanz) regularly streaming on Meerkat, and recently voted as one of the 25 top Social Business leaders by IBM and The Economist.

What does the future hold for Meerkat?

The future is unknown for Meerkat.

Built with the Twitter API, Twitter has recently distanced themselves from the new app, even going to far as cutting them out of their social graph, making it difficult to find new users to follow. This is likely because of Twitter’s recent acquisition of a direct competitor to Meerkat, an app named Periscope. Problem is, though Twitter is definitely validating Meerkat’s mission of the one-to-many live broadcasting, Periscope is still in Beta as invitation-only – while Meerkat has over 300,000 users, two-thirds of which come directly from the iOS app (as opposed to browser or unofficial Android app use).

Another point for Meerkat came in the news last week that they just closed on $12 million Series B thanks to Josh Elman of Greylock along with a few other anonymous angel investors.

Being removed from Twitter’s social graph makes it difficult to find new people to follow, and for that reason, harder to get people to follow you – unless you already have an active engaged audience on another network.

The potential for evil with this app is just as high as the potential for good. With instant video and moderation of content up to users, NSFW and other content that may be inappropriate for minors or public consumption could easily be viewed on the network. But then again, this would require you to go out of your way to find and then follow this creator – as of right now, I haven’t noticed any users on the leaderboard who are engaging in lewd behavior inappropriate for work or children.

As far as people commenting – I’ve seen a wide variety – from the usual trolls to link spammers – it seems Meerkat isn’t immune to spam. Bullying could be especially troubling as well, being that comments in Meerkat are automatically broadcast as replies to your post on Twitter  – so you don’t just gain a troll on one network – you have to deal with the same troll on both Meerkat and Twitter.

How To Watch Meerkasts

Check out the Complete Guide for Watching Streaming Video on Meerkat.

Scheduling and Streaming Your Own Meerkast

See the Creator’s Guide to Meerkasting (Meerkat Video Streaming) for that!

So what’s the verdict?

As I said above… not sure yet. I like Meerkat, but without an Android app, they are cutting out too much of the smartphone userbase to really get enough adoption – viewing via android and PC are nowhere near as good as viewing on an iOS device.

Until then – I’ll still play with Meerkat – since using it my Twitter engagement has gone up – and I have really met some amazing people thanks to the app – so I’ll keep on streaming!

Andrij Harasewych

Although I ended up graduating from Villanova University with a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering, a side passion of mine for the past decade has been business and marketing. After three years of working full time as a mechanical engineer, and part time as a freelancer, success in my freelance work motivated me to alter my path and focus fully on marketing.

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