There are two new apps in the social media landscape. If you have not noticed Periscope and Meerkat you should open the app store on your phone and have a look. I am always fascinated by new apps that seem to take the world by storm and these are two apps that fit in this category. And yes, I am doing a social media project for my final COETAIL course so I immediately wanted to see what these apps were about!
It’s funny, the ability to stream from the phone in your pocket is nothing new. Ustream has been around for years. So what is the big deal with Periscope and Meerkat? I installed the apps and created accounts in an effort to figure this out. (Hint: It’s not about the app itself as much as it is about being “found”)
Meerkat was first on the scene. It is heavily integrated with Twitter which works great for me personally but I know that will be a problem for some people. Personally I like the interface on Meerkat. I live the flow of viewer icons that “roll” into the screen. The quality seems good too. My biggest gripe, and this is true for Periscope as well, is that you cannot search for a hashtag on video streams. You seem to only be able to search for users and this is a serious limitation.
Periscope, which came out later, is Twitter’s own response to Meerkat and I think it will be very successful because of that. Imagine how hard it would be for anyone else to compete with Facebook’s messenger app. This is similar to the Twitter video streaming competition we are seeing here. Twitter owns it and that may be it’s biggest advantage.
So we have two apps that do very similar things, with huge growth over the last month or so. One of them is “going down” but only time will tell which one!
Now on to the education application of these apps…
The very first time I looked at Meerkat and Periscope I immediately saw the application for education. In fact, I was totally hooked on watching a garbage collector do his job. Yes, a garbage collector. It was on Periscope. Because you cannot search for hashtags (only users) I was just checking out the “popular videos” section. There was a guy with a stream listed “Watch me collect garbage”. This sounded interesting to me so I jumped on the stream. Immediately I realized that this guy was driving a garbage truck, alone. His truck had one of those automatic “bin grabbers” that would just pick up the garbage as he drove by the bin on the street.
Now in both Periscope and Meerkat you can post comments. It’s what makes the whole thing truly social. I noticed immediately this was not your typical “Eating a sandwich” stream with people making comments like ” you suck”. People were actually asking real questions of the driver. “Are you union?”, “How long does the route take you?” Things like that. I found myself wishing I could have a whole grade 1 class next to me! I asked a question about how he aligns the bin with the mechanical arm. He answered me (and the world) right away, “I just eye it” he said with pride.
Meerkat seems to have a popular channel with a restaurant in Sweden where the chefs show what they are making, giving insight into how the kitchen runs. Sure it may also give them a business boost, but honestly most of the people in the restaurant probably don’t have a clue what Meerkat is and don’t care. It’s just sharing, teaching the world.
So what about you? Which app do you think is going to win the war? More importantly how do you see these apps being used in education? Is this just another simple way to “flip” a classroom or is there potential to use them in a more social way? Hit the comments area and let me know your thoughts.