7 days ago, a company called LIFE ON AIR, released a new app for iPhones and iPads. It is called MEERKAT. It is very simple to use. It allows you to live streams from your iDevice to your audience and to the web. There have been a few live streaming apps before. But all of a sudden this one, only planed as a side project by LIFE ON AIR, has become the new super cool hot thing in the tech world.
So four days ago I read about it, downloaded MEERKAT, and since this day, I am playing around with it (Sorry to a few of my Twitter Follower, who I confused the last days…)
So, I am trying to explain you how MEERKAT works. Its connected to Twitter. So you need to have an Twitter account first (and hopefully some following there).
Here is how MEERKAT works (as far as I think):
- You have to install the app on your phone.
- If you follow people on twitter and they also have installed the app, you will get a notification if someone of the people you follow on twitter starts stream a live stream
- Next to the people you follow you can have a look at the leaderboard. Here they show the people who are engaging most on the app. In the Moment, it a kind of stupid battle from some people to stay in this board. They act like kids to get likes and point. Guess this will take a few days to sort the kids from the real people out there. Because, next to the people you follow on twitter, you could have a look on the leaderboard and follow this „influencers“ as well. So the app will notice you if they start streaming.
- If you want to stream live, you open the app, give the stream a title and press „stream“. Works quite well, often even without Wifi (in general it will fuck up your data plan of your cell phone contracts :) )
- When you start streaming, the app sends a tweet to your Twitter. Like „ NOW LIVE :….“ So all people following you on twitter can see that you start it and join on the web or via app.
- It is also possible the announce and schedule a date for a stream, maximum 24 hours before you start. The App while tweet an announcement to your twitter feed, and you can „subscribe“ this scheduled stream inside the app.
- You can watch the live stream of the person in the app or on the web (but the Web Stream kind of sucks yet)
- People who watch the stream on the app can rewetted it and this will show this stream to all their twitter followers (in show up in the apps of them) So, the stream can become super viral.
- When you use the app, you can comment on the stream. All people following, also the person streaming, will read the comments via the app while streaming.
- The comment are also becoming a tweet on twitter. It always start with the @personwhoisstreaming as a kind of reply. So, no fear: If you start a tweet with an @person only the people who follow both will see this tweet in there Twitter Stream. You will not FUCK UP and Spam all your followers. Its ok.
- The stream can only be viewed in real time. There is a small buffer if you may lose connection for a short time. Which also means your comments have a little time delay. Sometimes its like 10 seconds. Sometimes up to a minute.
- And the end of the stream, only the person which is broadcasting has the possibility to save the stream to the camera roll. (Which never worked out on my last 5 streams) Also this „copy“ is without all the comments etc coming via the twitter api.
- So, this is like snapchat for video. You watch it and its gone. Nobody als can view it again. Its gone. Its history. I love it! Technically for sure it is possible to make a copy from it with the right tools - but not very realistic.
So, if you made it to this point, you may ask yourself: Why the hell is Mr. Meyer telling me all this?
I know, normally I talk about drinks, bars and bartenders. I am not a „Social Media Expert“, I don’t want to be one, and I may better shut up and mix you a drink. But, as a bartender, I can say that I am kind of professional in communication. The greatest skill for a good bartender is understanding your customers, listen to them and be possible to communicate. So, even if you think I may have no clue about communication, I make a living out of it.
Bartending is communication and from time to time it is important for us bartenders to catch up with the tech guys and the world of communication (which is easy. Tech guys love drinking and always come to a good bar!)
Before I talk about how MEERKAT could be interesting for a few of us in the bar and hospitality industry, I will just explain you what I realised the last days watching and streaming on MERKAAT and whats different to other social media apps.
IT IS ALL ABOUT LIVE and FOMO. Cool!
Currently, this app is a great playground, like all new things. People play around with MEERKAT and its interesting to see how different they use it. Some people already create kind of art in MEERKAT. Wicked stuff, especially late at night. Lovly. But not my focus.
Most people around in the moment are tech people. And most people talk on MEERKAT about MEERKAT and Social Media Marketing. That’s boring. And lets face it: most of it sounds like cheap copies of @garyvee.
Speaking about the one and only @garyvee - for people like him who have a great following on twitter this will become super interesting. Gary Vaynerchuk f.e. does also do a Youtube Show called #askgaryvee . Since three days, he is streaming live while he is recording the youtube show. Kind of „making of“ - live - extra footage which you never would see in the show.
Today he tweeted a live stream from the „making of“. In two minutes he had more than 500 people watching and very much engaging via comments. And this is just the beginning. „Celebrities“ of any kind will freak of on MEERKAT I guess. BACKSTAGE TIME for fans.
I am a @garyvee fan boy. I love everything he does. Everything. „PERIOD“
When my telephone today told me „Gary Vaynerchuck just started a stream“ I stop everything. I stopped my car and parked it on the side of the street and watch 15 minutes GaryVee Live. Because I WANTED to watch this. Because if you miss it, you will never see it again! Because it was super cool. LIVE and FOMO will kill it. Because its special, intimate and camp fire atmosphere.
It is all about attention. We all use different social media canals and the „established“ ones spam us. Facebook has been taken over by brands and your parents - NOT cool anymore. Hard to find something which really interests you.
LIVE and FOMO is very powerful ! Snapchat uses this power. But Snapchat is popular at 12 to 16 year old kids in America. Nothing for serious bartenders.
What I spotted the last days, is that most people on MEERKAT are 20 to 40+, mostly tech related and looks like they have quite money to spend. This is a group serious bartender can deal with. Also, I do not know why, tech related people love got drinks. Many of them are regulars in my bars. Maybe you can explain?
The problem in germany is little bit, that twitter is not used by too much people. But I think it is ok. Facebook is super big. On the other side, everybody uses Facebook to promote their business and bars or personal brand in germany. So it is about leaving the Social Media Highway and try some other way to build a relationship to people. Leave to busy Highway.
If you are cool, and because you are a bartender you are, its about real relationship, cool people and something creative. Not the dump shit promoting Facebook posts. Come on - you are beyond this!
I think if you run a bar in a „Twitter“ Country like US, UK, Canada, Australia etc. MEERKAT can be very interesting. I think this FOMO aspect makes it big. Just some quick thought on what we could do on MEERKAT, please let me know yours:
- Tastings, Spirits reviews, Stories while prepping the bar
- If your bar is opening f.e. at 6.00 pm, why not broadcast you drink of the day or a short mixology „fun“ at 5.00 pm to pull your customers directly from the office to the bar?
- A restaurant could stream live from the kitchen and explain what they will serve this evening. People LOVE backstage. Imagine a celebrity chef starts streaming. Wow - thousand of foodies would join. But I guess even stream how you polish glasses and tell a story is cool and gives people this extra feeling that they are part of the backstage gang. Backstage is it. I swear!
- Stream from you events etc. But also, stream from industry events. When you enter DIAGEO’S WORLD CLASS or Bacardi’s Legacy stream backstage and show your fellow bartenders how it is. Give them first class information, because the brands, even if they pay a bunch full of video people, are always just producing stupid image films to make the bosses happy. Nothing of value for bartenders. I know, this is stupid, but this is reality. Its your turn baby - your change - the brands do not get it.
- Same with most of the great barshows and meetings we all travel to all over the world. Tons of cameras and no stream to find about all the great keynotes gives. So help your twitter friends and give them a live impression from a great talk or keynote.
- And if you meet other interesting people on this show, sit down for a talk and share it with us. Problem is, most of the trade media in our business ist not taking this events to serious and they miss amazing opportunities to share great knowledge. Do us a favor and create great 100% live, 100% no bullshit content if possible.
- If you do a great podcast like @scheideyshow / Steve Schneider does about bars and tenders from NYC - stream while you do f.e. interviews. If you create films for Youtube or brands stream a making of. First class content for ultra fans. I love it. I will do now also with our @bildungstrinken podcast from time to time. Sorry, @bildungstrinken is germany content.
- And, looking at a famous person like @garyvee and how successful he is on this new platform after three days, I am thinking of the Stars of our liquid world. @Simonecaporale should stream backstage when he does new session for DRINKSTUBE with Jamie Oliver. @Alex_Kratena should stream backstage from the best bar in the world. The MAESTRO @cocktailmaestro and King Cocktail @kingcocktl I would love to see all the day - LEGENDS! @Mixography, @mixellany @jamieboudreau @helmutadam @hungrybartender @davidwondrich @alcademics @zdenekkastanek @ryancheti @forkandshaker @dsoneil @xavierpadovani @hidetsuguUeno and @jeffmorgen would kill it. These people do in one week what normal bartenders do in one or two years. Intensive life and shareable. This masters of our trade should use this opportunity to have a real, live relationship with the people who look up to them. And with me. Cause I will watch. Love it.
- And last but not least: the rockstars of our trade, even if this real cowboys become less and less: The Global Brand Ambassadors: @vodkaprofessor @simonjford @johnniesworld @rum_ambassador @ @mixxit_wayne , @maccocktail , @tomasestes @MancinoVermouth - They should use MEERKAT to give us a look behind the jet set live style of traveling and drinking 24 hrs a day for living. And use this to build their personal brand. Cause someday, its time for them to leave the big players…
I personally will stream the next days from time to time and play around. Maybe we have more fun if more of us join. I already had a few stream with people I know. The great people ( @harryraymond @seenickcode) from SWIG (@swigHQ - the only serious drinking app) use MERKAAT quite cool. I would love to have more bartenders and friends involved. I am getting bored from all this Social Media and tech talks on Meerkat. But I love the tool. And I LOVE bartenders. Bring me in your little offices behind the bar and lets polish glasses „together“.
That is also why I write this little piece. Install the app and follow me on twitter. Its @joergmeyer . Please also follow my bars Le Lion • Bar de Paris @barlelion and THE BOILERMAN BAR @boilermanbar - we will stream live and in color from the heart of hamburg my friends.
Lets meet in „real“ time. It is like a good night in a bar. You have to be there. Be there or be square