UPDATE: As of March 7, Meerkat has made a pivot and no longer offers live streaming capabilities.
Live streaming video just came to our phones in the form of Meerkat (currently available only for iOs) and Twitter-owned Periscope (available for iOS and Android). Launched first, Meerkat had its big coming out party at South by Southwest. It was quickly downloaded by celebrities and non-celebrities alike. Periscope followed close behind and has its contingent of early-adopters too.
Live streaming video got a big boost a few years ago when Google came out with its Hangouts on Air feature on Google Plus. HOAs could be done on a smartphone so it’s not as if this concept of live streaming video for the common-man is all that new and novel. But with Meerkat and Periscope, the barriers come down and the learning curve gets flattened so that anyone with a Twitter account and a smart phone can host what is, effectively, their own show in real-time.
Much of the discussion about both apps is focused on its use in marketing your brand or business. However, there are significant uses outside of marketing. It won’t be surprising to find the adult entertainment industry figures out how to put it behind a pay wall, as that industry dominates the live streaming video segment. However, for those of us looking for more family friendly uses I got to thinking about ways the Meerkat and Periscope apps can be used by those of us outside the brand and PR areas.
Given that both are public platforms you may not want to share sensitive or confidential information. But, here are my
14 Awesome Ways Anyone Can Use Meerkat or Periscope
1. Business meetings – gather people anywhere in the world for real-time conversations that allow them to be in the field or on-location. I can see this working especially well with Periscope since that app has a private feature.
2. Concerts – Both Meerkat and Periscope will allow you to share your experience at a concert with your friends and followers. I doubt the footage will be all that spectacular but I can imagine it would be pretty awesome to be part of a concert you can’t attend. Keep in mind there may be copyright issues with sharing a concert.
3. School performances or assemblies – sharing with family members who can’t attend would be a great way to stay connected. I can see this being a wonderful option for parents who travel or can’t get away from work during the school day to see their kid being awesome. There may be privacy concern if you’re showing other people’s children on a public stream, or other legal concerns since you’re on school property.
4. Tutorials – while it may be better to record a tutorial on something less fleeting, I can see both Meerkat and Periscope being useful for sharing information for a one-time engagement.
5. Doctor visits – this would definitely need to be a private experience so Periscope would win on this one, but I can see this being helpful to include out-of-town family members in a doctor visit for a parent or grandparent or other family member (or perhaps even a friend) when there is a need to share the information. Sometimes we may not know the questions to ask and this would give our support team an opportunity to ask questions in real-time. Again, if there is a possibility this can be shared with the public privacy concerns must be considered. In addition, given the privacy rules for HIPPA, medical staff may not be willing to permit this use.
6. Travel – I can already see hundreds of great uses for both Meerkat and Periscope for travel. I can also see it being as annoying at many say the selfie stick is, but as with the stick, there certainly many positives.
7. Education – Salman Khan started what is now the global enterprise Khan Academy in his closet doing math on YouTube videos for a family member. While I like the permanence YouTube offers, I can see there being a niche to live stream educational training.
8. Politics and public meetings – Live-streaming candidates from the local level may bring more into the political process. At higher levels, I can see this being a more intimate option than the traditional structured format. These live-streaming apps have the opportunity to bring the political process to those who may not be able to get out due to a variety of limitations. Since most governmental meetings are covered by open-meeting laws there should be minimal privacy concerns with the meeting itself. However, some may object on privacy ground (whether or not they have privacy rights exists).
9. Pop-Up Shows – In the entertainment industry, few things are really all that spontaneous. In fashion we have pop-up stores. We have mobile restaurants now with food trucks. One thing we’re really missing is the ability for musicians to broadcast. Jimmy Fallon has live-streamed his monologue rehearsal so why not have musicians of all levels connect with their fans in a similar way. This, of course, would be at the discretion of the performer so copyright concerns would be minimal since the performers would likely control that right.
10. Ask Me Anything expert sessions – why limit expertise to webinars or online text conversations when you can live-stream it? Both Meerkat and Periscope open the door (or is that window?) to bring experts in their field to the masses with few barriers. Students around the globe can chat with their favorite author, scientists can bring access to their expertise with a few taps on your smartphone. A skilled technician can share their knowledge with apprentices and novices alike. The possibilities are endless!
11. Weddings – you can’t invite everyone and not everyone invited can attend, especially if it’s a destination wedding, but with a live stream everyone can be there. Along with weddings, I’d add in Bar and Bat Mitzvah‘s too! Keep in mind there may be religious objections to sharing the even using this technology. In addition, if the event is on private property there may be rights that the property owner has that could trump your use of live-streaming. While most weddings and bar and bat mitzvahs would be public, there may be legal issues with privacy or copyright that could prevent the live-streaming.
12. News as it happens – no longer will we have to rely on photos pieced together or major networks sending out a crew, this ushers in the era of live broadcasting in the palm of our hands. There may be legal issues with this, but sharing news as it unfolds is often protected by Fair Use. Still, consider the copyright issues that may arise.
13. Cooking – with cooking shows being as popular as they are, both of these apps level the playing field on who may be the next cooking star. There are many great home cooks around the globe and this could be both informative and entertaining. Combine this with travel and all the mouth-watering food stands around the globe and we’re no longer left drooling over Pinterest pins trying to figure out what to make for dinner.
14. Social Good – I’m a big fan of paying it forward. And while I’m not big on broadcasting every act of kindness, I can see that having a live-stream of global goodness could be a positive and encouraging experience. Posting photos of leaving a gift card in a book at the bookstore or taping a few dollar bills on a vending machine are great. But why not bring it real-time and spread goodness and get others involved.
There will be no shortage of ways businesses try to incorporate live-streaming video, whether with Meerkat or Periscope (or any of the others that come along after). A quick search just a few days after they’ve been launched and there are already pages of results. All are focused on how a business can use these new apps. But who wants to download an app just to be marketed to. There has to be something in it for us other than just being an audience.
I think there are many great ways both Meerkat and Periscope will allow us everyday folks to embrace this next level in technology connectivity. How do you think you could use these apps in ways that would benefit you personally?