There’s something new on the scene: live streaming through an app. Meerkat and Periscope are two apps that will help you do this. New to this? We’ll help you understand the ins and outs of this new service and help you find out whether it’s something for you to pick up on.
It all started when Meerkat came on the scene, some weeks ago. Meerkat is a simple to use app that allows you to add a live video stream to your Twitter account. When you install the app, you log in with Twitter – there are no other login options so you will need a Twitter account to use it. After logging in you can either start your own livestream or watch others. At first it sort of feels magical to just watch anyone from anywhere in the world live – of course there’s all sorts of livestreams online already and there have been for years, but as this is mobile, it does have a different feel to it.
While watching, there is a chat option, so at the bottom of the stream there are all sorts of messages going from people who are watching and asking questions to the streamer. At the top of the screen you can see the icons of others who are watching with you, clicking the pic will give you their Twitter description but unfortunately you’re not able to directly go to their Twitter account form there. However, the interaction with Twitter does result in the app posting on your account, ie retweeting the tweet of the streamer you’re watching.
Periscope, funnily enough, does not do this, even though it’s the official streaming service by Twitter itself. It came on the market just after Meerkat but will probably be more successful, just because it’s a bit more polished and has the bigger company behind it. Periscope is just as easy to use as Meerkat, but there are some small differences. You can’t see the other people who are watching (just how much there are), and officially there is a chat as well but for some reason this never sows on my phone (iPhone 6). Periscope also lets you directly check out the people you’re following on Twitter, to see if they’re broadcasting through Periscope.
Watching either Meerkat or Periscope can be fun, but to be honest, most of it is not that interesting yet. Some streams are just plain boring, others try to be fun (like the guy who filmed his teddy bear at the officer and lets him do all sort of stuff) which is nice for a short while, but not interesting enough to watch through a live stream.
This is the issue with these apps; a livestream just isn’t that interesting, really, unless there is something relevant happening. An event, like sports or news related, is very suitable for these apps, and a video game stream maybe. So when you’re deciding to use these apps, think about what you want to show to the world. Newshunter? Do use these apps. Interested in videochatting with people form all over the world? Try opening a livestream and see who answers – I’ve seen a lot of “I’m alone in my room who wants to chat” sort of streams on mainly Meerkat. But if you want to really convey something using video, this might not be the platform for you. Ask yourself “Does this need to be shown live, or can I show it in an edited video later on as well (or better)?” If the latter one is the case, you’d be better off by making a (non-livestreaming) video with an app like Together, and sharing it through different social media channels.