Mobile Streaming Apps in the Political Sphere

It seems like you hear about a new technology every week. Often, they disappear into the ether, never to truly affect our lives. But sometimes, you just know that a new technology will make a huge impact. And whether you prefer Meerkat or Periscope, streaming live video to your Twitter followers is something we believe only grow and become more ubiquitous.

Now, if you’ve downloaded Periscope (which we have), you may be disappointed at the live streams you find. We can confirm that it is most definitely not interesting watching someone wait for a train. And yes, pets have already become a very popular topic for streaming video.

But this technology is in its infancy and you dismiss it at your own peril. Though Periscope only takes the 22nd spot in social networking app rankings and Meerkat is number 120, there are still opportunities for these apps to climb the charts (App Annie via TechCrunch). Remember when Twitter was just a bunch of people tweeting out what they had for lunch? Today, Twitter is used by corporations, politicians, government agencies and organizations of all stripes to communicate information from lighthearted jokes to serious news.

And Periscope (and/or Meerkat) will get there. Just last month, when a prisoner escaped in Fairfax County, the County used Periscope to live stream the police chief’s press conference to the public. Just last week, Madonna debuted a new music video via Meerkat live stream; granted, she did run into a few technical difficulties. So live streaming to your Twitter feed will only find new uses – just as Facebook and Twitter did as they grew and evolved.

And while not all new technologies transfer to the political or advocacy space, this one most certainly will. It’s not hard to imagine the many conferences, policy breakfasts, or galas that occur in our nation’s capitol one day being streamed live to Twitter followers who may not be able to attend or may not reside in Washington D.C.

Live streaming video will also increase the value of a Twitter following. Currently in the political and advocacy space, Twitter is often used as an ‘elite’ communication tool. But with the ability to communicate in more than 140 characters and with live video, one could envision a Twitter following having more than just an elite audience.

There are other ramifications to consider, from privacy to copyright to safety. And what will this mean for journalism and citizen journalism? For now, we’ll just keep logging on to see if that train ever arrives.