The future of online streaming is here. Both Meerkat and Periscope provide nice ecosystems so film and live stream your life over mobile devices. My experience with Meerkat a couple of days ago was simply amazing and I very much prefer it over Periscope.
These two platforms are riding a new wave of innovation that will prove crucial to social media. Citizen journalism, real estate open houses, forums, events, parties and conventions will all benefit from these new apps. However, the most crucial and interesting feature of these apps is not their live streaming capabilities per se, but the social networking layer they put on top of live streaming.
Broadcasters are able to find an audience and integrate them to their Twitter or Facebook communities. Conversations are real and more personal than in sterile chat rooms. These platforms allow for audience discovery in a streamlined and natural fashion. Therein lies their power. You can set up events and live streams that will onboard new users and potential customers into your established social channels.
Meerkat and Periscope are by nature “pan social networks”. Or platforms that join other social networks and facilitate the flow of information and people across silos. One of the first pan social networks, Airtime, provided a great experience and got a lot of early press for a nicely produced app and good initial traction. Such traction faded over time due to the nature of the market and the growth dynamics of one-on-one communication platforms. It was simply to hard for Airtime to grow along establish competitors such as Skype and Google Hangouts. The discovery and matching algorithms of Airtime were great but not enough to make it go viral or make enough people switch from dating apps.
For pan social networks, is very important to reach a critical mass of users with each socially shared video, post or event, because the aggregation of people is exactly their key selling point. You go to these virtual events and meet new virtual friends, in a less formal and maybe less awkward fashion than say Airtime or chat rooms. Meerkat and Periscope matter simply because of this small progress. But, if initial adoption and popularity are good predictors in this case, pan social networks with clever on boarding mechanisms and natural content will become even more common in the future .