Bad Girl, Good Business

Being Meerkatty

Reading Time: 3 minutes

First, what’s Meerkat?

Meerkats are African animals of the mongoose family who live in groups known as gangs, mobs, or clans. They also apparently make cute chattering sounds.

And a different kind of Meerkat (capital M) was all the rage at SXSW. It’s basically an app that allows one to shoot real-time video and post it in the moment.

Just so a mob of meerkats, the media and self-proclaimed social media gurus have been scampering around with their iPhones in front of their faces, shooting stuff.

I find the whole thing rather disconcerting. All of a sudden, everyone is now a live news producer. As if Twitter and Instagram and Pinterest weren’t getting tedious enough, we now have the ability to read your recipe for grilled cheese, see the pictures of it on your plate, and watch you eating it — LIVE!! I’m getting so excited just thinking about it!

OK. Enough snark. Like many social media innovations, Meerkat has a practical application too. When crises are happening (like natural disasters or political uprisings), we can actually see first hand (or first eye) what’s going on rather than combing through Twitter feeds and, if we’re so inclined, do something to help. Meerkat is great for mushy stuff too — like sharing a kid’s birthday party with a long distance grandma.

I see the value. But the person who is holding the phone or iPad in front of his/her face is shooting the moments, not actually living the moments. And that makes me sad.

It has more than 200k users after only a couple of weeks. But, the same way Vine sort of died on the vine, Meerkat may just simply crawl off into a corner. (The mongoose variety only lives 12-14 years.)

How would the original meerkats feel about having their name used for this new thing?  In fact, when you Google them, they seem to have gone extinct. The only mentions on Page 1 are for the app. The meerkat clans may be chattering about it, but unless you speak their language you’ll never know. And, something else to ponder…has anyone yet Meerkatted a meerkat? Hmmm..

NEWS ALERT: While the Meerkat was napping, Twitter’s app Periscope just caught up with it. Read my next post, please.

Random facts about the meerkat and the Meerkat. Not a mere kat (but it never was…it’s a mongoose…please see above)!

BGGB.OkeyDokey-fred Meerkats appeared in this British TV “advert”
BGGB_ShakingHands How do meerkats mate? (C’mon…you really DO want to know! It’s pretty interesting!)
BGGB_Thumbs-Down-fred What about privacy? We’re talking about the issues around Meerkatting technology — not mating meerkats here. Here’s a great article in Fortune.
BGGB_Pointer $14 million in funding? Really? Yup! Read all about it.




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