A Great Moment with Meerkat
On Saturday night my perspective towards Meerkat and personal live streaming changed forever.
On Saturday night, I decided to go eat at one of my favorite Mexican spots (Dos Toros, better than Chipotle IMHO and they just raised some money I hear) in NYC. Seating outside in the West Village I was enjoying my food while watching others pass by. As soon as I started eating I saw this guy wearing a bright and yellow Meerkat t-shirt as if he was an employee or ambassador of the company. When he passed by I looked back and noticed he was actually live-streaming his stroll down the street. I decided to go into the app and see if I could find who this person was.
I open the app and to my surprise the first live feed I see is of a guy named @geoffgolberg. “Strolling Through NYC With @dolleebee” the stream was titled. I rapidly joined the stream and added to the comments “hey you just passed by me”. To that, Geoff, quickly responded through the comments that I should join him. So I ended my dinner and went to pay a visit next door, where Geoff was showing to the world his favorite pizza spot through the app.
Once I go there, I saw him again with the bright yellow shirt, and so I introduced myself. As soon as we started talking I was, at the same time, literally seeing and listening to myself in the feed since I had one of my earphones on with the live stream from my phone. It was a very awkward but exciting moment for someone like me who loves tech. I was part of the most pure intersection between the online and offline world that technology has helped us reach. Hundreds of people from around the world were viewing and commenting this moment in real-time while talking with Geoff. It literally felt as, if for a few minutes, I was the center of a live conversation with hundreds of people. It reminded me of that BuzzFeed article about the stolen iPhone that reached China.
After chatting with Geoff and his better half, Dollee, I started to think about the possibilities of the app. Lately, there’s been dozens of stories from well-known journalists talking about this medium for live content distribution and what the future holds for it. Some say it’s going to be the next big thing and some say it’s just a fad. I actually was never convinced on either side. I didn’t know how it could be applied to everyday living. Or if it’s in fact solving anyone’s issue enough to be turned into a profitable business. But hey, when Twitter started who ever thought it could be a huge businesss? I think the same is possible with live streaming apps.
I believe that at some point streaming an event will be as easy as taking a picture of it (it’s already happening). One of the reasons for which I think Snapchat has been highly successful it’s because of the app’s camera. It is way faster and easier to use than the native iPhone camera (or any other phone for this matter). I’ve literally seen dozens of my friends taking pictures with Snapchat rather than with the native phone camera. It takes less time to load while additionally the image quality is good enough to add filters right within the app. Just save the image to your camera roll and done! This is what helped Snapchat get adopted by the masses. And as we know, adoption of technology is either very hard or very simple. Snapchat won by making it very simple. In the end, this behavior is what started making Snapchat a better tool for taking pictures, plus additionally helping others communicate. But without it’s simplicity, the app wouldn’t have had the impact it’s had.
Now, as far as live streaming apps, Meerkat and Periscope have still a long way to go figuring out what users want and how to retain them. I think it’s a 5–7 year exploration while getting the apps in the right hands. As mobile technology improves, I just hope it becomes a standard in which by a tap on your screen you’re able to see the most amazing events in real-time around the world. You will be able to control what you want to watch or be part of. Users already search by hashtags in different platforms such as Instagram and Vine, now, imagine a world in which you could search for live events and join the conversation right from your mobile device.
Everything is possible, and technology is changing fast. A serendipitous moment solidified my perspective towards a technology that it’s still in its early stages. I hope to see more influencers and companies getting onboard with these platforms to help distribute their content freely. Users are eager to connect in new ways, let’s make it happen.
Thanks to Geoff and Dollee for allowing me to see the great behind this idea.