Meerkat is the hot new social media app. It’s getting kicked off Twitter just ahead of SXSW. And now it’s getting banned from tech events. It’s even made the transition from just an app name to a full on social media verb.
After experimenting with Meerkat last week, the Gabbing Geek podcasting crew decided to throw in with this bold new tech and we’re Meerkatting our podcast this week. Find out how you can watch or what it all means after the break.
Meerkat is a live video streaming service. One person starts streaming via their smartphone and others can follow the stream by watching the video as it happens. The others can also send messages to the broadcaster and others watching the stream as well.
How does it work?
Streaming video isn’t a new thing–FaceTime anyone? But what makes Meerkat different is how it piggybacks on Twitter to make it a more social experience.
When a user installs Meerkat the app is connected to their Twitter account. When they start streaming video a tweet is sent out with a link to the stream. The tweet starts “|LIVE NOW|” with the name of the video stream. Others can start watching the stream either by following the links on the tweets or through an alert sent from the Meerkat app itself (more on that later).
People watching the video stream can interact with the broadcaster by sending a message. The message will appear on the video itself for others to see and react to–and all of those messages are actually tweet replies to the original video announcement. The result is a fairly interactive experience between broadcaster and viewers.
Unfortunately, while you have to log into Meerkat with Twitter the simple interaction stops there. If you want to follow people on the Meerkat app you’ll have to manually type in their Twitter handle (without the @ symbol). Twitter recently turned off Meerkat’s access to users’ social graphs–before you could easily follow everyone on Meerkat you already followed on Twitter similar to how Pinterest or Yelp allow you to automatically follow all your Facebook friends when you sign up.
Why is Twitter fighting with Meerkat?
It’s the start of the personal video broadcasting cold war, especially since Twitter bought Meerkat-competitor Periscope. While Periscope hasn’t launched yet, Twitter sees no reason to help its soon to be competition. Making the user experience less than ideal.
Sounds cool. How can I watch?
You can watch our Meerkat with three easy steps.
- Download the Meerkat app for iOS or the unofficial watcher app for Android (you can only broadcast from iOS for now).
- Once you’ve logged into the app be sure to follow @gabbinggeeks by tapping on the magnifying glass and then typing in our twitter handle without the @ symbol. If you have notifications for Meerkat turned on you’ll now get a handy notice when we start broadcasting. If you don’t want a notification, just keep an eye on our Twitter feed for the Meerkat announcement tweet. (It should be Wednesday evening, maybe in the 6-7pm timeframe.)
- Once we start broadcasting, watch the stream! You can do it on your phone or on a computer. And let us know you’re watching by sending us a message!
This should be an interesting experiment–hopefully it works out and we continue to Meerkat the heck out of our fun little geek podcast.