New Apps, Less Privacy

Two new social media channels were released in March, and they’re eerily similar.

Meerkat made its official debut at SXSW Interactive Festival. Periscope launched in late March as part of Twitter and describes itself as being “the closest thing to teleportation”.

I’ve downloaded and played around with both, and I have to say I prefer Periscope because of its beginner usability. As time goes on and I get accustomed to each, my preference may change, especially with the numerous app updates that always accompany new apps.

Quote from Meerkat founder

Meerkat lets you schedule your broadcasts with a description, exact time and optional picture. If Periscope has that option, I haven’t found it yet.

Close launch dates and similar app features reminds me of Vine and Instagram. Instagram had been around longer, but it introduced its video feature right when Vine was emerging.

Interestingly enough, neither of the new apps have an Android app yet.

Meerkat tweets a link from your Twitter account when you’re currently live broadcasting. Your followers can click that link and watch either through a web browser or through the Meerkat app if they have it downloaded.

Meerkat screenshot

Periscope users can tap on the screen, much like Instagram, and send the broadcaster hearts to tell them they like what they see. Both apps allow you to leave comments that appear right on the video, not below it, and see how many people are viewing currently the same broadcast you are. Periscope saves live streams to watch later, but Meerkat doesn’t give you the option to save your livestream.

Periscope screenshot

Reviewers and early app adopters think the app is popular now because it’s new and people are interested in sharing every bit of our lives now.

I would compare these two new apps to Snapchat’s option to live video-chat with people who are on at the same time, except these apps are made for broadcasting to any number of people instead of one-on-one like Snapchat. If you had a good following on your Meerkat and/or Periscope app, they would be great for breaking news you are witnessing live and citizen journalists. Or broadcasting live breaking events could gain you that large following.

The only downfall I can see of these apps is you can’t edit videos before posting them. That would defeat the purpose of a live broadcast I know, but slip-ups and accidents could be bad, but probably also rare. Another slight downfall, who will use these? And is it worth spending your time broadcasting if no one is watching? I hope to write another review of these same two apps in six months and see how different they become as they grow and find their place in our social media-ran world.

Receiving live broadcast

One comment

  1. Michael Lopick · April 27, 2015

    Interesting post, Julia! I’ve been curious about Meerkat and Periscope since their debuts, so it’s great to have your insight. Just for fun I downloaded both and right off the bat can say that I completely agree with you when you say that Periscope is better suited for beginners. I found myself spending much more time with Periscope than Meerkat simply because I could understand it better. In the race to see which app outlives the other, my bet right now would go to Periscope. Every day when I scroll through Twitter I see more and more news organizations and the like broadcasting pieces through Periscope, whereas the mentions of Meerkat have completely dropped off. As you said, though, with updates you never know which will end up on top!


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