Meerkat, We Hardly Knew Ye

header_lookingI don’t generally cover brand new tools in this blog, and Meerkat is the latest example of why I take that approach. Despite much media type, it appears that  Meerkat is going the way of the dinosaur. Any of us who put time into figuring out this new tool have probably wasted it.

Meerkat is a mobile twitter streaming app. Streams captured with the app are pushed to followers in real-time via push notifications. Watchers can re-stream any stream to their followers in real-time. Scheduled streams are distributed in the community by subscribers.

Soon after Meerkat was declared the next great thing, Twitter launched a rival streaming app called Periscope. Twitter’s Periscope app broke into the U.S. iPhone top-30 chart within a day, demonstrating  immediate and broad consumer appeal. Meanwhile, Meerkat downloads continue to plummet.

Instead of my planned post about the potential benefit to communicators, this is a post about how to evaluate the latest new bright and shiny tech tool and decide whether to dive in.

First, be cautious. Make your own evaluation of the tool. Visit the website, download the app, give it a try personally before you involve your organization. Don’t believe what you read unless you can verify it with your own experience.

Second, know the numbers. Meerkat’s highest daily ranking on the U.S. iPhone download chart was No. 140, on March 20. In a typical week, a dozen new apps crack the top 100. Apps that don’t crack the top 100 during their debut run almost never turn out to be viable, no matter how much they are tinkered with. This is the basic axiom of the mobile app industry.

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