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Meerkat & Periscope: What Problem Does This Solve?

March 30, 2015

Blog | Culture | Meerkat & Periscope: What Problem Does This Solve?
Meerkat & Periscope: What Problem Does This Solve?

Oh, Monday. Why must you be so difficult? I thought we agreed that you would start being kinder, gentler and easier to navigate. Instead, you bring hyperbolic (and perhaps a tad absurd) news.

Truthfully, it started last week. On Friday, I stumbled across a new Kickstarter project called Hand Chord. Billed as “a shortcut for people who don’t have the time to learn guitar,” this gadget, while laughable to anyone who has invested hours practicing an instrument, purports to actually solving a problem. Unlike, say, Meerkat or Periscope.

If you haven’t heard, these out-of-nowhere rival apps allow you to view and comment on live-streaming video on your smartphone. Meerkat took South by Southwest by storm, with celebs and pols singing the juggernaut’s praises. Their promo claims to accelerate “spontaneous togetherness.” Meanwhile, Periscope asserts that their team wanted to build, “the closest thing to teleportation” and allow users a way to “discover the world through someone else’s eyes.”  (I’m in marketing and even I am rolling my eyes.) 

Mic Wright, over at The Next Web, opined, “The more people start to get excited about an app, the more the instinct to push back starts kicking around in my guts.” The tech-hype cycle may trumpet otherwise, but live streaming, he wrote, isn’t going to change the world, but rather how a subset of people works.

Both apps seemingly typify the Silicon Valley riddle: why do they invest so much in creating solutions for problems no one ostensibly has? Do we really need another platform for sharing the most banal of thoughts and actions? Do you really care what I keep in my fridge? Are these apps just exacerbating FOMO?

It’s difficult to say what will thrive and what won’t. Admittedly, even though I have an account, I’ve never understood the allure of Pinterest. Inarguably, though, a lot of women love it.  Perhaps, then, the demand for live streaming and commenting is huge and one app will survive the hype.  If not, we’ll breathlessly await the next big thing. Either way, I’ll still be asking: What problem does this solve?

Are you using Meerkat or Periscope for business? For fun? We’d love to hear from you. Tweet us @GeekHive!


Heather Waters

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  • Technology

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