Tool You Should Know: Meerkat

By Parrish Walton, April 3, 2015

Does one Meerkat? Or would it be, “Meerkatting”? The lexicon is younger than the app itself, but if the reception Meerkat received after it blew up at this year’s South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, is any indication, you’d better get on board. While the app didn’t debut at the famed festival (it went live a week or so beforehand), it didn’t take long for the app to become the talk of the technological town.

Meerkat allows anyone to live stream video from his or her phone via Twitter (or the Meerkat app itself). Your followers can tune in to whatever you’re showing—be it a behind-the-scene chat with the keynote speakers before they take the stage, or the speeches themselves. You can even live stream your lunch, if that’s your thing. The stream doesn’t record and can’t be replayed. It’s sort of like Snapchat, but for video.

Scott Bregman is director of content and communications for USA Gymnastics, one of the most active and successful groups in the social media arena. For Bregman, the practical uses of Meerkat were obvious. “We do a lot with live streaming, but something so portable would be great for interviews since we typically use stationary cameras,” Bregman said. “I think it could also be fun to roam the concourse on event day to show people at home what’s going on.”

While Twitter is putting limitations on what Meerkat can do—the company announced it acquired Periscope, an app for broadcasting live video—the app is climbing up the ranks in iTunes and the Android App store. Planners can use Meerkat to drive users to Twitter and other social sites by bringing followers a new side to their meeting or event. A quick Meerkat Q&A or a live stream of a delicious buffet spread being set up are only two ways the technology can begin to engage attendees.

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