Meerkat, a live-streaming phone app, has shot to popularity on Twitter by offering users the chance to send live videos of their lives from their phone.
The app allows Twitter users to send out a link to followers to watch a video, and enables people to chat with viewers while they do. It is far from the only live video streaming service for phones but sets itself apart by letting viewers only watch videos as they’re broadcast — while videos can be recorded in advance, they can only be viewed once over.
The links to posts stay in users’ Twitter feeds, however, meaning that followers can’t be sure whether a stream has finished. If they click and a feed is over, though, they’re greeted by a message telling them the video has ended — a feature that developers hope will play on users’ fear of missing out.
Meerkat was launched only last week, and has already signed up 15,000 users. Together, those users have posted thousands of live streams.
It took off this week, with mentions of the app on Twitter rising hugely on Tuesday and Wednesday. Twitter initially shut off the ability of the app to auto-tweet links, but that has now been fixed — and many are speculating that it will soon be bought by the social network.
The app can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store. Users then log in using Twitter and can start sending videos straight away. Streams can be started from the “What’s happening” field, which will start the video running and send a tweet out to followers.
During filming, users have access to most of the features of the iPhone camera, including flash and the front camera. During filming, users also receive comments from followers and can reply from them within the app.