Journalism Tech Radar - Meerkat

Name: Meerkat


(see also: Periscope)

What is it: Meerkat is a just launched app which works to turn Twitter into a live video streaming platform. Users send out videos along with a Twitter link to followers to watch live and to chat as a group while they are doing so. Videos can be recorded in advance and scheduled for release but must be watched live and can’t be stored. Matthew Panzarino and Alexia Tsotsis at Techcrunch report that Twitter is in talks to acquire Periscope (an app which does something very similar) in order to build it’s own in house version. ‘In many ways, a product like Periscope aligns with something like Apple’s FaceTime. It’s just video chat, which had been around for ages — but it’s the lubrication of that process that has made it so popular. When it’s institutionalized, in a platform like Snapchat, Facebook or Twitter, it becomes just another sharing option’.

Use for News: Sarah Gill at says, “The idea of, say reporters, being able to stream reports on the site is interesting enough, but the video-messaging potential is compelling to. Imagine a reporter being able to chat to a source, authority or eyewitness on the ground where an event is unfolding”.

Upside: Mashables Seth Fiegerman says it also works well for cat videos. ‘Not knowing what else to do, I tested Meerkat the way I test most visual applications: with our giant Maine Coon cat Ringo. On Sunday evening, I typed out a quick prompt and pressed “stream.” Within minutes, nearly a dozen people were watching our lazy cat. At one point, a viewer/follower commented that his son was watching and asked if the cat could do a trick. (We tried, but he didn’t cooperate.)’

Downside: Adam Gabbatt at the Guardian say’s of Meerkat, ‘One might venture that Livestream and Ustream are more useful, given that a meerkat broadcast is so ephemeral. It can only be watched while it is live. The broadcasts are not saved on the website. If you click on a link to a finished meerkat, you just get a message saying it has finished. There is also no option to embed your Meerkats, which limits the possibilities for journalists using it to stream live from breaking news scenes. Or for journalists wishing to embed their Meerkats in stories’.