Meerkat And Twitter: The Battle To Live Stream Video

Justin Lehmann
March 20, 2015

I’m a big fan of the awkward, human moments — the unscripted events where we show friends, and even complete strangers, the core of who we are as a person. These moments might be horrible to see and/or deal with at the time, but they make up the basis of every “you had to be there” story you’ve ever heard. And let’s be honest, those are always the best stories.

In the world of social media, it’s hard to find an approximation to that raw feeling of spontaneity.

While Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others are fun, engaging, and social, they’re not spontaneous. And somehow, it doesn’t seem quite real.

That’s why when I started seeing [LIVE NOW] #meerkat popping up all over my Twitter feed, I was intrigued, but cautious. To be fair, live streaming services are nothing new. In fact, one of my favorite journalists, Tim Pool from VICE, championed the use of live broadcasting during his coverage of the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street. Meerkat felt different, and was slated to be the talk of the town at South by Southwest this year.

And it was. Meerkat is a live-streaming video app that’s super easy to use, and was built to work within Twitter’s social graph. That way, users didn’t have to build a whole new network to share their the real-time videos.

But, on Saturday, Twitter announced that, due to the competing app they had acquired, Periscope, they were cutting off Meerkat’s nbso online casino reviews access to their social graph, essentially taking away that built-in benefit. However, Meerkat’s founder, Ben Rubin, claims the blockage is “just a speed bump.” But it’s clear the first shot has been fired in the battle for the top live-streaming video app.

Where’s Meerkat Right Now?

ChatterBlast co-founders Matthew Ray and Evan Urbania were on the ground at SXSW, and heard the reactions of social industry leaders first hand.

“While Meerkat is getting a lot of buzz online right now, the chatter at SXSW was mixed. Meerkat didn”t invent anything new. Streaming has been around for decades. Instead, it provides a feature to Twitter that should have been there all along. While streaming is more ‘in’ now than ever, we”ll have to wait and see if users keep up the rate of adoption or abandon it as a fad.”

Despite the competition among apps, Meerkat’s ability to translate spontaneous moments to social media addresses a gap in the social media market. Something as simple as having a catch with your dog in the park, or a scenic walk through the woods becomes an intimate, instantly shareable moment. Or, if spontaneity isn’t your thing, you can schedule streams and tease them to your followers. But even then the scripted events can feel intimate. Watching the Meerkat icon try and ‘grab your stream’ from the ether makes you feel like a VIP who’s being given a secret pass to glimpse behind the curtain.

That’s what makes this app so powerful. Even without the use of the Twitter social graph, Meerkat’s sheer ability to host your live streaming videos gives you the chance to say to your followers, “Hey, come here. I want to show you something cool. But only for a minute.”

The Future of Live-Streaming Videos on Twitter

Will Meerkat last? Who knows. Maybe Twitter and Periscope will win this battle, but maybe Meerkat will win the war. Either way, the ability to instantly live-stream video from your phone will be booming on social media for the better part of this decade. And you can quote me on that. Its application for major media and on-the-ground journalism are obvious (some big brands have even jumped on board), so we’ll have to wait and see how the public at large embraces the new tool. But in our age of YouTube, Instagram and Vine superstars, I doubt it’ll take long before we see up-and-coming Meerkaters running all over other social networks.


What’d you think about Twitter’s announcement? Tell us in the comments below!