I spent the morning playing around with Periscope, a new app from Twitter that lets you start live broadcasts from your mobile phone. It's weird at first, but it makes you feel like you're right there with the person streaming. Casey Newton of The Verge nails the allure of live-streaming:
Live-streaming apps are the thirstiest of all media. A Facebook post wants a like, a tweet begs for favs, and a snap means little without a response. But for sheer drop-everything, look-at-me arrogance, nothing beats the push notification that says "LIVE NOW." I’m doing literally anything, the notification says. Watch now, or you’ll miss out forever.
Meerkat, which does the same thing as Periscope but was released a couple of weeks ago, made a lot of noise at this year's SXSW. The people are thirsty indeed.
But Periscope is backed by Twitter, the champion of up-to-the-minute updates. Periscope instantly feels more polished and stable than Meerkat, but what's really damning is that Twitter took away Meerkat's access to its "social graph" (the social graph lets users connect using their Twitter accounts, taking away the need for Meerkat to have its own username / profile system).
Both apps are still young, but it's apparent to me that interactions like this are the future. When you think about it, even the simple fact that we have the technological capability to do this is mindblowing. Protests, concerts, shows — any highly-public event will never be the same.
One last thought: I'd love to see Snapchat buy out Meerkat. I already confuse their icons as it is. One big difference between Periscope and Meerkat is that Periscope saves your videos for 24-hours post-broadcast. Meerkat broadcasts, on the other hand, are gone once the stream is over; that fresh-hot ephemerality feels like a pretty good match for Snapchat in my book.