Rob’s Roundup: Everyone’s talkin’ ’bout Meerkat

Rob’s Roundup: Everyone’s talkin’ ’bout Meerkat
Friday, March 20, 2015
Rob Walker

It’s been a busy week. Here’s a recap.

Everyone’s talkin’ ’bout Meerkat

What is Meerkat? Founder explains most-discussed app of SXSW | Mashable

SWSX 2015 just finished up, ending the jockeying quest of thousands of marketers, entrepreneurs and major brands for that coveted social media and mainstream spotlight. And just like every year it’s a small, unique bit of technology that caught a lot of attention.

Meerkat – an app that lets you live stream directly from your phone – blew up at SWSX, generating a bunch of live streams and a ton of discussion. Twitter’s decision to axe the app’s ability to post directly to Twitter helped stir that pot (as did the announcement that they had acquired Periscope, a beta product very similar to Meerkat). Meerkat is back on Twitter for now, but it will be interesting to see how those two get along once Periscope launches.

Not a lot of brands have jumped on Meerkat yet, which isn’t all that unusual for a brand new platform. Twitter itself started as a small collection of users and it took a while for brands to recognize the potential. The more ephemeral nature of Meerkat’s live streams may make it a challenge for brands to really leverage the technology.

Microsoft Retiring IE

browser1As a strategist who has watched IE’s market share and penetration drop consistently over the last few years, and given its less than stellar reputation (and less than stellar attempts to fix that reputation), I’m surprised it took them this long.

MS has announced a new internet browser will be packaged alongside Windows 10, codenamed ‘Project Spartan’. IE will still exist in some versions for compatibility reasons, but the new browser will replace it.

This is a pretty sure bet from Microsoft’s corner, especially when you connect it with their announcement on providing the majority of their software for free. It will be interesting to see how Project Spartan competes with Chrome, Safari and Firefox, especially since MS’s user base will be fragmented even further between multiple versions of IE on top of Spartan.

Starbucks #RaceTogether

Can’t we all just get along? After all, we’re all human and in this together, right?

That’s the latest message from Starbucks in their #RaceTogether campaign. In an attempt to generate an open discussion about race relations and equality, Starbucks has received some blacklash from their latest campaign.

In fact, their Senior Vice President of Global Communications Corey DuBrowa shut down his Twitter account for a time after tweeting an encouraging message about how we’re all human.

Since then, Starbucks in general and DuBrowa in particular have taken a great deal of heat from Twitter users who feel waiting in line for their morning coffee may not be the best place to have a discussion on race relations.

Starbucks has had success in the past mixing politics with their messaging (guns and gay rights, among others), but this latest foray may be more of a mixed bag. It’s unfortunate that their attempt to do something positive (with their heart seemingly in the right place) has caused such heated discussion – and potentially not in the way Starbucks had intended.

At the end of the day, if it inspires more conversation and communication about the topic, Starbucks may consider this experiment a good thing. And I for one would be very interested in hearing what the measurement for success was for a campaign such as this.