Meerkat & Periscope: The Newest Social Media Platforms

First there was Meerkat, now there is Periscope. You might not have heard of either one since they are the newest social media platforms to hit the internet. Both are available as an app for your iPhone. Android apps are in the works.

So what are these exactly? In a nutshell they are apps that let you live stream video.

Meerkat launched on February 27, 2015 and quickly became an internet sensation. The platform started out letting you live stream video directly on Twitter and your followers could comment in real time. It was hailed as a fantastic new media for influencers, but shortly after it began, it started to loose steam. Twitter had something up it’s sleeve: Periscope. Periscope had been in development for a year when Twitter acquired it in January 2015. Once that happened, Twitter limited the access that Meerkat had. You could no longer view Meerkat activity directly in your Twitter stream. You had to open another browser to see it. Periscope was built as a separate app to begin with, so it acts on it’s own accord.

So, what are the differences?

Meerkat is piggy-backed on the Twitter platform, meaning when you sign up for Meerkat, you will in essence still be connected to all your twitter followers. Although the app runs from your phone, you can see the live streaming on your computer screen… although you won’t be able to comment or like the stream from there. Your best bet is to stick with the mobile app for your viewing. Meerkat lets you immediately stream video OR schedule a live stream and the notification pops up on your Twitter feed. It’s pretty simple to use. When you tap on the STREAM button, everyone you are connected to will be notified and can watch you live. What Meerkat doesn’t do is save your video on the app for others to view later on. Your only option to save it is to download it immediately to your cell phone: not a fabulous idea since video takes up tons of memory. You’d have to download it from your phone to your computer pretty quickly. Unless you specifically want to use that saved video somewhere else, your followers won’t be able to see it again.

Periscope is owned by Twitter, but it really acts as a separate entity. When you sign up, you will be notified of your Twitter followers who are also signed up with Periscope. You can follow them and they can follow you. When you live stream on

Periscope, you have a few options. You can send out a tweet to let people know to come watch… or you can keep it private. You also have the ability to choose who you want to see the live stream. Once your stream is over, Periscope will keep it saved for 24 hours so anyone can watch the playback. You also have the ability to download the stream to your iPhone in Periscope.

Problems?

Both apps have their shares of problems.  Some people have been bothered that the video doesn’t work as well with certain browsers, but if you use your iPhone exclusively then you won’t have that problem.

With Meerkat, anytime you live stream anything, it lets all of Twitter know about it. You have limited control over what that notification will say. You also don’t have the ability (at least right now) to only broadcast to a select group of followers. And, like I mentioned before, if you don’t happen to see the notification that someone is live streaming until it’s too late… you are out of luck. That video is gone.

Periscope has more of a learning curve to use and you aren’t automatically connected to all your Twitter followers: you still have to go into the app and follow them… again!

Both apps are giving each other a run for their money and will no doubt be scrambling to offer more options and become more user-friendly. While Meerkat took a huge dive after Periscope came on the scene, it’s really  just a guess as to which one will ultimately come out on top. For now, it is looking like that might be Periscope, but only time will tell.

In either case, live streaming video is the new social media fad. I would definitely recommend you jump on the bandwagon and try out both platforms.

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