When the Meerkat app references started popping up in my Twitter feed two weeks ago I thought it was just a fad. Then it started exploding among the people I follow and I couldn’t ignore it any more. I started watching a few live streams and now I’m hooked.
What makes it so appealing?
First, it’s really easy. People I already follow on Twitter tweet a Meerkat link when they start the broadcast. From that link it’s a quick “sign in with Twitter” (for the first time only) and that’s it, you’re viewing their livestream, either in a browser or in the app (only iOs for now.)
Second, people have been using it wisely. I’ve been in on interviews, walkarounds, conferences and yes, some more mundane scenes. Yet, because I have already put together a great list of people I follow on Twitter, I’m not surprised that they end up creating interesting streams. I like that Meerkat tapped into that social graph as opposed to requiring users to build their own or import from another social network.
Third, quality is more than adequate. Audio is great, video a bit shaker. But it is this unpolished feel to the video that gives it a sense of immediacy.
I do have one product wish though I admit I haven’t tried the app (Android soon, please?) Allow users to add more than location data to a stream. I get some of the info in the referring tweet but a stream title would be nice. Especially for interviews.
Mattermark analyzed the Twitter mentions of different apps in the first 100 days post launch. Meerkat had a nice initial jump and seemed to have plateaued. That said, I’ve seen several Meerkats from the SxSW conference and the conference might end up really boosting usage.
Now, back to viewing SxSW walkarounds.
PS As an aside, I love the branding, logo, and rules of Meerkat.
Update: a few hours after writing this, Twitter announced that it has decided to limit Meerkat’s access to its social graph. As reported by Buzzfeed: “when new users come on board, they will no longer be automatically connected to the other people they are already following on Twitter.” The move comes after Twitter announced that it had bought Periscope, a Meerkat competitor.
Your move, Meerkat.