Meerkatting. (or soon to be Periscoping?)
One of the newest developments in social network communications is being called Meerkatting - named after a new (free) app that allows anyone with an iPhone (and inevitably it will be available on all smartphone platforms) to live stream video from their smartphone - and thus everyone is a potential roving reporter. The app works by piggybacking on Twitter's network and porting people's social networks over from Twitter to the Meerkat service - the so called social graph. Here's a brief description from an article on the latest phenom.
"The free application called Meerkat has become a virtual overnight sensation since its low-key arrival on Apple's online App Store late last month, winning over journalists, politicians, self-anointed pundits, social media celebrities and others.Meerkat integrates with Twitter, allowing users of the messaging platform to launch live video streams with a single touch of an on-screen button.In the rapid-fire Twitterverse, Meerkat has become a sudden hit with tens of thousands of users trying it.Meerkat "marries the wide potential of livestreaming with the instant and social strengths of Twitter. Two great tastes that go so well together," wrote Hawaii-based consultant and blogger Ryan Ozawa."
The article goes on to note Twitter wants to own its own version of the app and so this week announced its purchase of a rival platform called periscope. And as of this writing, according to Buzz Feed, Twitter has shut down Meerkat's access to its platform, which means Meerkat users would have to build their own networks rather than have the ability to automatically push notices to their entire Twitter universe of followers (which may not be that hard for arts organizations). So maybe the idea will ultimately be called Periscoping as Twitter rolls out its version. Or maybe Meerkat will develop an easy way to aggregate followers for use with its app. It hardly matters which app will become dominant; one will prevail if the idea resonates with users (and I'll bet it will). The point is that there is now a new tool that seems to me to be readily adaptable and suited to the arts.
As we compete in the limitless world of communication, trying to distinguish our brands, our offerings, our wares, the ability to live stream dress rehearsals, museum curations, bits of performance pieces, fundraising events, informal pitches, day to day life in our organizations and more - all as part of our strategy to win over new audiences, media attention, donors and supporters - seems a natural fit; easy to do, cost effective (cheap), limitless creative applications and all built on an ever growing platform already part of our arsenal of tools (or one that would perhaps not be so hard to develop).
The original article went on:
"Danny Sullivan, founder of the blog Search Engine Land, "meerkatted" -- some are calling it "meercasting" -- a stroll around the South By Southwest Festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, shortly after arriving there on Friday.
"It is kind of neat to give a taste of South-By to people who have never seen it and want a taste of it," Sullivan said, referring to the festival by its informal name. "It works surprisingly well; it is very impressive how easy it was to get going with the live stream."
With Meerkat, a tweet is fired off containing a link that anyone can click to be connected to the stream while it is in progress. Tiny profile icons pop up to show who is tuning in to broadcasts.
Videos are available only at Meerkat while they are live, but the app gives users the option of saving what they have recorded on their devices."
Have a performance with tickets still available? Meerkat (Periscope) a poignant one minute video, or better yet three quick rave testimonials from exiting audience goers and send it off. Trying to complete that Kickstarter project, video a one minute synopsis of the project using your smart phone, and Meerkat (Periscope) it to your list. The possibilities are endless. You only need a smartphone, the app and some inspiration. Obviously, to distinguish your message, you will need to be creative in the content of what you Meerkat (Periscope), but we're suppose to be creative people. And remember, the purpose of that kind of content marketing is not just to get people to respond, but to get them to pass your message on. In fact, passing the message on may just be the most important goal as it increases the chances of the response level.
So, if you aren't Meerkatting yet - or Periscoping in the near future - perhaps you need to take a look at getting on the bandwagon now, and incorporate this tool into your communications / marketing strategies. It seems a natural fit for us.
Have a great week.