In social media this week, Meerkat changes direction, WhatsApp introduce file sharing, Facebook rolls out Live and makes it easier to create Instant Articles.
It has been a roller coaster year for Meerkat. With it’s launch to much acclaim a little over a year ago, Meerkat hit difficulties early on with the announcement just after their launch that Twitter had purchased Periscope and would be cutting off Meerkat’s access to its social graph. Within the next 6 months Facebook had launched Live and Twitter was continuing to muscle in with its build up of Periscope.
The announcement this week that Meerkat are dropping their concept of live streaming to a large audience isn’t therefore surprising. With the increased efforts of Twitter and Facebook, which Meerkat recognises hampered their growth, it is perhaps more surprising that Meerkat has lasted this long.
Meerkat still exists but Ben Rubin, Meerkat’s CEO, has shared that they are working on a new social network. The details haven’t been announced but early indications from Meerkat are that it will allow live streaming but to a smaller network or group rather than one large broadcast to all. Live broadcasting is still here to stay and clearly still part of the future but for Meerkat at least it will look slightly different.
As part of the latest WhatsApp update, document sharing is now available. Following the announcement in January that the messaging service would no longer charge but would remain free from third party adverts, this could be WhatsApp’s first move towards making the service more business friendly.
With the promise that WhatsApp would be working on ways to allow consumers to communicate with businesses this could be an important first step.
Document sharing allows businesses to share price lists, product details and technical specifications, e-tickets etc. with their customers. Document sharing is available on both Android and iOS.
Facebook Instant Articles
Instant Articles was specifically created to improve the user experience for news articles, in particular the slow loading time of published articles for mobile web users. In mid February Facebook announced that by Facebook’s F8 conference on April 12th their Instant Articles program would be available to all publishers, no matter what their size or where they are.
This week Facebook and WordPress have announced a free WordPress plugin “for WordPress publishers to reach and engage their audiences in new ways” which helps make Facebook’s promise a reality. With both WordPress and Facebook suggesting that the more immersive experience of Instant Articles leads to higher engagement, the collaboration could be a great route for communicating with and engaging customers. The plugin can be activated for self-hosted or VIP WordPress users.
Facebook have made no secret of the fact that they believe live broadcasting is an important part of Facebook’s future and iOS users in more than 30 countries now have access to Live. At the end of February, Facebook announced that Live is coming to Android with the rollout starting in the US this week.