SXSW: The Meerkat Bubble?

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 84 views 

Editor’s note: Emily Reeves, director of digital innovation and insight planning for advertising powerhouse Stone Ward, will be providing contributions to Talk Business & Politics from the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive festival in Austin this week. She is providing additional content on her observations from SXSW at Stone Ward’s Waiting For The Elevator blog.

Every year at South by Southwest, there is at least one app that becomes the talk of the town. Twitter was the most well-known of these apps from 2007. Foursquare was the app of 2009. Other apps haven’t faired as well with the masses post-SXSW. This year the hot app is Meerkat.

Meerkat is a live video streaming app that uses Twitter as its distribution channel. Live streaming video is not a new technology: Google Hangouts, UStream and others have been around now for a while.

The problem up until this point has been the quality and consistency of the video and the technology to watch the video. Our mobile devices have become sophisticated and powerful enough to watch live streaming anywhere we are rather than “scheduling an appointment” for watching a live event on a desktop computer.

Meerkat’s chances for success are directly tied to the timing of its launch just weeks before SXSW.

What is so fascinating about live, of-the-moment video?

Meerkat takes video from a passive experience to an interactive experience: viewers can comment, ask questions and see who else is viewing.

Social media has become a way to craft the life you want people to believe about you. It is a lot of pressure. Live video is raw with no expectation for perfection.

The broadcaster can turn it off and walk away when they are done. The recording is optional. It is like the Snapchat of video.

Meerkat conversation and adoption managed to surpass Periscope at SXSW despite Twitter having just purchased Periscope, a similar live streaming video app.

Who will win and who will fade away? Only time will tell. One thing is certain: everyone is now a broadcaster and a publisher.

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