Meerkat as a journalism tool, Periscope

Meerkat shoots in a horizonal preview but people view in vertical , so make sure the image is loose and in the center.

Meerkat shoots in a horizonal preview but people view in vertical , so make sure the image is loose and in the center.

Meerkat may be broken before it gains any traction.

Meerkat may evolve into a great journalism tool, but Periscope may be the anointed live video streaming service by the Twitter gods over time.

Updated 03/14 @sadandbritish sent me this link:  Twitter Starts breaking Meerkat Features by Limiting Social Graph Access.

And so it goes with new ideas that depend entirely on someone else’s highways. Twitter has their own  idea for live streaming service, Periscope.

Twitter rolled out a similar service after services like Tout, that edits and posts short videos in social streams.

What makes Meerkat so cool, is live interactions with Twitter (what Twitter is breaking).

Notifications in iOS app tell you about streams in your twitter stream.

Notifications in iOS app tell you about streams in your twitter stream. Here Mashable has scheduled a live stream and I was notified and it appears in the app.

Meerkat is more a video live stream extension of Twitter than a stand-alone product.

You log in with your twitter account and the interaction within  Meerkat works with your social stream. Your twitter name is your Meerkat name.

  • Auto posting of live stream to your Twitter account when you start broadcasting.
  • Comments you leave on screen also post to Twitter.
  • You receive notifications from people you follow that they will be scheduling a live stream (see photo)
Stream viewed in iOS

Stream viewed in iOS. Note: you can see all the people watching your stream and comments show on the screen and are posted to your twitter feed in real-time as you broadcast.

Meerkat goes with the vertical video output, like Snapchat because they think people hold their smartphones vertical most of the time so we should just give up and do it too theme.

From the perspective of getting more junk on the internet and gaining followers, Meerkat is successful, but from a journalism perspective it presents new challenges. Throw shooting tight and horizontal panning though the preview frame out the window

Meerkat assumes that you will be far away from your subject, as most smartphone shooters are.

Stream stretched and cropped as viewed in web browsers.

Stream stretched and cropped as viewed in web browsers.

The viewfinder is horizontal while the output video vertical.

Make sure the subject is in the middle! and not too close or you will have your content cropped out into nonsense. If the subject moves, keep it in the center. It makes you almost want to mask out the viewfinder while using it.

When stream has ended you can save to camera roll.

When stream has ended you can save to camera roll.

The web view takes the horizontal preview, outputted into a vertical and stretches it back to a horizontal!. so the image can almost make no sense and is all morphed.

This is mostly a mobile platform.  

When the steam ends, the thumbnail window is back to horizontal. You can save a vertical video to your camera roll.

All of this doesn’t seem to matter to the growing popularity of the service, as it goes with the visual evolution.

You can only produce videos on iOS at the point but you can view live streams on both iOS and Android.

Time will tell if Camp Meerkat or Camp Periscope wins the live streaming Twitter battle. The Periscope kids hold most of the camp door keys at the moment.

About Paul Kuehnel


Paul Kuehnel
has worked for the York Daily Record/Sunday News since 1984.

Follow him on Twitter @paulkuehnel.

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