Recently two new additions to the ever growing plethora of social apps have been grabbing the headlines (in the right sections of the right websites anyway!) – Meerkat and Periscope. But just what are they? What do they do? And why did they both appear at the same time?
In a nutshell Meerkat and Periscope are livestreaming video apps which link to a user’s Twitter account. You could use them to stream a debate, the contents of your fridge or even the premier of a massively popular television show. Currently they are both only available for iOS, sorry Android users!
OK, so they’re both livestreaming apps that link to Twitter, how do they differ?
The biggest difference would be that Periscope was purchased by Twitter in January for a cool $100m. It doesn’t take a genius to guess which of the livestreaming apps is getting better support from the big blue bird.
Twitter has even prevented Meerkat from showing which of their followers are fellow Meerkat users. There are ways around this though.
On the other hand, Periscope lists everyone you’re following on Twitter under its People tab. It also presents a much larger database of user videos to tap into at any time from all around the world.
When livestreaming Meerkat automatically tweets a link to your video, on Periscope you have to actively opt in to sharing.
None of this answers why two very, very similar apps seemed to pop into existence at the same time. It seems to mimic a phenomenon I like to think of as the The Dante’s Impact Down Effect* but what’s the explanation?
In a recent interview, Periscope co-founder Kayvon Beykpour suggested four factors he considered the most important – better mobile cameras, better software development platforms, better connections and most importantly of all… The push notification.
“Push notifications as a concept did not exist [only a few years ago]… Push notifications solved the synchronisity problem, which is crucial. Like how do you know I’m live right now. What are the chances that my following can watch what I’m producing if they have to serendipitously find my content? The push solves that problem.”
So that’s why then.
To us it sounds like Periscope is the stronger player of the two, and the numbers seem to agree too.
*The Dante’s Impact Down Effect refers to the simultaneous launches of shockingly similar films such as Dante’s Peak and Volcano, Armageddon and Deep Impact, and most recently White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen. Obviously.
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