Breaktime Buzz: Periscope and Meerkat

Breaktime Buzz: Periscope and Meerkat

Our series for staff in schools and colleges exploring what’s trending in the world of apps and social media, helping you find out what’s popular in the classrooms and corridors around you.

What is it?

The recently launched Periscope and Meerkat are live-streaming apps that allow you to watch or broadcast video in real time. Users can access feeds from across the world and see what friends, family, celebrities or total strangers are up to. These apps take real time social media to a new level, putting you in the moment as it’s happening.

How does it work?

Users can choose to either broadcast or view video via the apps. There are some key differences between the two apps in terms of video broadcast; Periscope users can restrict who has access to their streams, whereas everything on Meerkat is public. Periscope videos remain available for 24 hours (unless you manually delete them), whereas Meerkat streams disappear once the broadcast ends. In both apps, viewers can comment on the streams in real time, asking the broadcaster questions or showing their appreciation; they can also choose to follow the user and therefore be notified of new streams when they happen. Both apps can also be synced to a user’s Twitter account.

What do people use it for?

Anything and everything! A quick browse through the live streams happening at any one time might include someone enjoying their morning coffee, walking the dog, a behind the scenes look at a business, a cookery tutorial, a class at school or someone asking for opinion on how they should style their hair.

There is obviously potential for the apps to be used for less innocent purposes, and both companies state in their Terms of Use that they will remove content that is illegal, and may disable the accounts of repeat offenders.

What could it mean for your institution?

The live streams are just that – live, and once people have seen them there’s no going back. Watch out for use in class, and any instance of pupils making public anything that should remain private. On a more positive note, this technology might have useful applications for education in the future… real time streaming of lessons, or coverage of sports, music or drama events perhaps?

Try it for yourself

Download Periscope and Meerkat via the App store (both apps are free to download, and are currently only available for iOS users), and find out more via www.periscope.tv and meerkatapp.co

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