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Peer to peer live interactions are clearly here, and on the rise. Snapchat dabbled in it with their new chat function that launched about a year ago. Now Meerkat has been getting a lot of press around their new product.
However, if I were Meerkat, I would be very worried right now.
Twitter’s recent acquisition of the company Periscope (which is still just in beta testing) is not the best news for them. If it functions the same as Meerkat, which it is rumored to, they will have an advantage over Meerkat that will be very tough to overcome. The advantage? Native in feed. Because Periscope will be owned by Twitter, the seamless transition between the apps is inevitable, and we will probably see embedded images, and maybe even the ability to watch live streams in feed. As of right now, Meerkat pushes a tweet out on your behalf that is nothing but text and a short link. Not super eye catching in the feed, nor is it very user friendly.
Integration between platforms is key; it’s one reason Vine was able to take off so quickly. Users want an easy, friendly experience that allows them to interact with all platforms equally. But platforms don’t always play nice. You may notice that when you push an Instagram photo to Twitter, it appears merely as a link, no visual whatsoever. However, Vine transitions with no problem. This is the upper hand that Periscope will have.
So I would be concerned for Meerkat. Absolutely. But truly, we’ll have to wait and see how this pans out. If it’s a fast move by Twitter to integrate, it could be bad. But maybe not. When Facebook launched check-ins, everyone said Foursquare was dead. That didn’t happen. Both have survived and evolved.
But Meerkat is built on top of Twitter, from the sign in to the push outs. It relies on Twitter for all the aspects of its platform, except for the actual streaming part, which happens in app. So it is bound to be a different situation than Facebook and Foursquare, which were separate entities entirely to begin with. And I’ll be watching to see what happens. I absolutely plan on using Periscope so I can compare it to Meerkat. I see a scenario where this is detrimental to Meerkat, but I also see a scenario where Twitter tries to see if both can survive.