March 16, 2015
Meerkat Tells Your Story Live

Tweet Live Video

The Meerkat landing page says just that. It allows you to start a live video stream from the app which then tweets that your show has started.Meerkat was founded by Ben Rubin, and built on Twitter's Fabric platform.Up until Saturday morning, it tied into Twitter’s social graph meaning that it would give everyone who was following you on Meerkat got a push notification that you’re now broadcasting. This is just one of the triggers that the designers integrated into the addicting app.With Meerkat, there is major FOMO (fear of missing out). The only person that can view later is the host/broadcaster - in the form of downloading the video to their camera roll. Once downloaded, the user can index the videos how they wish although I haven’t seen anything yet (

Live Streaming Isn’t new

There’s no questions here, live streaming isn’t new. There have been applications and companies out forever in the space. Ustream, Livestream, Youtube / Google Hangout Broadcast. But Meerkat is different. It’s seamless and frictionless.It ties in directly with your Twitter account so after you authorize the app, your activity is also public on Twitter.For example, your comments on a meerkat stream is posted as an @mention on twitter to the host.When you create a stream, it’s a single-click action, and is announced live on your feed.You’re also able to schedule streams into the future and gain some initial anticipation.The people you follow on Twitter also show up available to follow on Meerkat. A problem of most new social applications - getting users and eliminating signup flow friction. Twitter tried to thwart Meerkat by disabling their social graph access but Meerkat will be building their own social communities, although more manual.

Behavior Design & User Experience

Meerkat uses the Hook Model, as pioneered by Nir Eyal&Ryan Hoover, to create a unique broadcasting model.Here’s a breakdown of some of those:


Triggers give users the cue to take an action and is paramount to the entire hook behavior model.

  • Internal Triggers
  • These are mental or memorized cues.
  • Ex: The want to give back to the community, your followers, and open windows into your life - personal and professional.
  • External Triggers (Earned)
  • These are coupled with information to tell the user what action to take next.
  • Push Notifications (followers) kiwigambling
  • Stream Started Tweet Announcement (by host)
  • @mention Engagements for followers of the same hosts on twitter. (followers)


A Single Tap on the link to open the stream in Meerkat or browser, depending if the user is on mobile or desktop.Three Ingredients required to initiate any any all behaviors

  1. The user must have sufficient motivation
  2. The user must have the ability to complete the desired action
  3. A trigger must be present to activate the behavior.

The Fogg Behavior Model is represented in the formula B = MAT, which means that a given Behavior will occur when Motivation, Ability, and a Trigger are present at the same time and in sufficient degrees.Here the user’s motivation is learning or experiencing something exclusive. It’s limited by time and will not happen again. As I mentioned before, FOMO is a huge factor here. The motivation also depends on the value the host brings by broadcasting live.

Variable Reward

You’re rewarding your users by solving a problem, which reinforces their motivation for taking action. Meerkat’s rewards depend on how the hosts use it. Meerkat is addictive.My first encounter was this morning, watching Kevin Rose make a cup of pour-over coffee followed by answering questions live and talking about startups, North, and other things in the industry.Our brains crave and seek rewards.Meerkat has rewards of the Tribe (makes you feel important, included - gratification from others) and the Hunt (exclusive information) with some hints of rewards of the Self (competency - do I think like Person X thinks?).


The investment phase increases the likelihood of users returning. The more a host runs live streams, the more feedback and ability the host has to hone their stream. Making the value increase and increase. Tying in closely with Twitter allows for 100% immediate feedback. For hosts, they also get to see how many people are tuning in at any specific moment. Reinforcing the value they provide with the investment of their time and experience / thoughts.Likewise, as a meerkat users, watching a live stream, I feel included, important, and my take-away value is produced by the host.My first experience with the app watching Kevin, was great. I learned something about coffee and startups. I’ll definitely be using Meerkat again, and have tuned into 3-4 different streams Today already.

Everyone Has a Story to Tell

With Meerkat, it’s never been easier to tell your story as it happens. Many of the reasons why Meerkat works so well is inherent in the design of the experience. Your activity is public on Twitter which attracts more users into the app, followed by the subsequent mention activity from followers in the form of tweets.

Launch Plan & Timing

I don’t think Meerkat could have launched at such a better time, especially with SXSW this weekend and the entire tech market’s gaze aimed at it. This morning I watched Kevin Rose in SF, and also tuned into Mike Mazzeo in a restaurant full of VC’s & Entrepreneurs at SXSW in Austin, TX. He interviewed some up and comers, listened to their ideas, provided valuable feedback. Not only can they learn from that, but anyone who tuned in. Have you used Meerkat yet? What was your experience like?