We’ve become obsessed with following the lives of celebrities, designers, artists and that barista from the coffee shop on social media. So obsessed in fact that scrolling through Instagram is often the last thing we do at night and the first thing we turn to upon waking. So it comes as no great shock that people are moving on to bigger – and even more voyeuristic things. Meet your new social media addictions, Periscope and Merekat.
The Periscope and Merekat apps allow you to stream video in real time all over the world. You might be watching Trelise Cooper’s show at New Zealand Fashion Week or standing in a queue at The Empire State Building in New York – but whatever you M.O, your friends and followers can be right there with you. Periscope, which is owned by Twitter, lets you broadcast live video to the world, notifying your followers who can join in on your live feed, comment and send you hearts all in real time.
Likewise with Meerkat, videos are made through your smartphone (thanks to that very useful front-facing camera) and broadcast across the web for all to see. As current technology stands, as many as 5000 people can watch one person’s stream at any one time. When Meerkat first appeared on the scene push notifications were automatically sent to Twitter followers, however this access has since been revoked following Twitter’s acquisition of the competing Periscope app.
Questions have certainly be raised with regards to the privacy of those who happen to be inadvertently caught on video through someone else’s live stream, but current privacy laws do not yet apply to live streaming apps such as these.
Creatively, these apps open up myriad opportunities for people to be able to tap into events from anywhere in the world in real time, rather than catching snippets through a video that lasts mere seconds on Instagram, Keek or Vine. Early adopters of this social media trend include the likes of Ashton Kutcher, Jimmy Fallon, Jamie Oliver and Madonna.