If you've been keeping up with the tech-world or checked your Twitter feed lately, you've probably come across words like 'Meerkat' and 'Periscope' and wondered what everyone is talking about and why. They are the latest live-streaming apps competing with one another for what could be the biggest thing to happen to social sharing since Twitter itself. Meerkat made its debut at South by Southwest this year, got the hype from tech bloggers and then got a large amount of funding. Then came its rival, Periscope, which was bought by Twitter in January for $100 million. Since then, it's been one expensive, live-streaming competition. But according to, well the internet, Periscope seems to have won based on its "immediate and broad consumer appeal." In just 24 hours after its release, Periscope broke the U.S. iPhone top-30 chart, which is rare for a social media app. So let's talk about Periscope. Periscope is a free, live-streaming app that you can sign up for, as long as you have a Twitter account. It can be shot on iPhones and iPads and watched on smartphones, desktops, and laptops through the Periscope app or through Twitter. Once downloaded, you are given the option to follow broadcasts of Periscope users that you follow on Twitter. You will receive a notification every time someone begins to broadcast, have the option to comment on the broadcast and even 'like' it will little hearts. When using the broadcast, you have the option to choose your audience and promote your broadcast via your Twitter account. Broadcasts can be shot both vertically and horizontally, but the app (likewise for Meerkat) doesn't yet allow for video editing or filtering.
"It may sound crazy, but we wanted to build the closest thing to teleportation. While there are many ways to discover events and places, we realised there is no better way to experience a place right now than through live video. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but live video can take you someplace and show you around.", via the Periscope website.
Now let's talk about the problems with live-streaming apps. From a personal or a marketing aspect, Periscope and Meerkat have loads of potential. So far we have seen lot's of refrigerators through Periscope, but what happens when everyone decides to live-stream? Once people get used to the idea of communicating and sharing videos live with the world, we will begin to see virtually anything and everything. Because these live-streaming services are so new, there is little to no regulation. Brands should be wary of sharing too much, and the journalism, reporting, sports-broadcasting industry should be worried about the average citizen doing their job for them. Periscope showed some of its mass-potential for sharing news updates last week when a NYC building exploded and was live-streamed for the world to witness. As far as regulating live-streams, we are looking at copyright, privacy, ownership and monetary issues to come.
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