Abstract

We conducted a mixed methods study of the use of the Meerkat and Periscope apps for live streaming video and audio broadcasts from a mobile device. We crowdsourced a task to describe the content, setting, and other characteristics of 767 live streams. We also interviewed 20 frequent streamers to explore their motivations and experiences. Together, the data provide a snapshot of early live streaming use practices. We found a diverse range of activities broadcast, which interviewees said were used to build their personal brand. They described live streaming as providing an authentic, unedited view into their lives. They liked how the interaction with viewers shaped the content of their stream. We found some evidence for multiple live streams from the same event, which represent an opportunity for multiple perspectives on events of shared public interest.