Editor\u2019s note:\u00a0Traction Watch\u00a0is a new column focused obsessively on growth, and is a companion to the\u00a0DEMO Traction\u00a0conference series, which brings together high-growth startups with high-potential customers.\n\nLive video streaming has exploded in the past week as the next big \u201cthing.\u201d Will it maintain its traction\u2014or become the next Viddy?\n\nRecently, Twitter introduced Periscope, an app that lets you broadcast live video from your iOS device -- real-time video \u2018selfies,\u2019 in essence -- to followers. Twitter acquired Periscope for a reported $100 million in January. The app had been in development for more than a year and enjoyed a high-profile beta program, with celebs such as Jimmy Fallon and Al Roker sharing live video streams.\n\nPeriscope popped up in the iTunes App Store a week after competitor Meerkat\u2019s buzzy SXSW debut, which generated second-coming media headlines (The Verge: \u201cHow Meerkat conquered all at SXSW\u201d). Meerkat is also an iOS app for streamlng live video and sharing it on Twitter.\n\nNot to be outdone by Twitter, Life On Air, Meerkat\u2019s developer, announced on Thursday it had raised around $14 million in funding so far, led by Greylock Partners and including a variety of individual investors that include actor Jared Leto and YouTube cofounder Chad Hurley. Then on Friday, Meerkat released an update to its app with all sorts of new features.\n\nPeriscope and Meerkat are already being hailed as the future of news reporting, brand marketing, and more. Clearly, both are gaining traction, with \u201cMeerkasting\u201d already a word and Periscope being lauded as \u201cthe best livestreaming video app yet\u201d (Engadget).\n\nBut we\u2019ve seen this movie before, with some of Meerkat and Periscope\u2019s predecessors gaining -- and then losing -- traction.\n\nYouNow is a quirky site\/app currently popular with teens, who live-stream video of themselves sleeping (hashtag: #sleepingsquad), talking, and generally doing what teens do. The developer, BNow Inc., started off with $500K, raised about $2 million more through two additional funding rounds, and received about $7 million more in funding last year, according to Re\/code.\n\nThen there are traditional live streaming services such as Ustream, Livestream, and the now-defunct Justin.tv. All three launched in 2007 with desktop-oriented webcam streaming. Ustream has raised a total of $60 million across 5 rounds of funding. Livestream, which enables users to watch or broadcast live events, made headlines in 2008 when the Foo Fighters played their first Internet-only live concert via Livestream. Livestream (the company) received a total of $14.7 million in four funding rounds from Gannett.\n\nJustin.tv was a pioneer in online \u2018lifecasting.\u2019 Developed by Justin Kan and partners, it debuted in 2007 as a constant video feed of Kan\u2019s life. It later expanded into a platform for other users. The startup raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding followed by an $8 million series A funding round in 2007. In 2014, Justin.tv shut down so that its parent company, rebranded as Twitch Interactive, could focus on its other live streaming video platform Twitch.tv -- which Amazon subsequently acquired for $970 million.\n\nAnother offshoot from Justin.tv was Socialcam, a mobile video-sharing app started by former Justin.tv CEO Michael Seibel. Socialcam raised an undisclosed amount in funding in 2012 from a group of angel investors that included Laurene Powell Jobs and Ashton Kutcher. In July 2012, Socialcam, which had been Facebook\u2019s top app, was acquired by AutoDesk for $60 million. Though still available, Socialcam\u2019s popularity faded after Twitter\u2019s six-second video capture\/sharing app, Vine, debuted in 2013.\n\nThere are other mobile live video streaming apps as well. For instance, Camio (aka CamioCam), by Camiolog, turns your smartphone or tablet into a surveillance camera and also offers live video streaming. The developer has raised $1.6 million in seed funding. But the focus is more utilitarian than social.\n\nThen there was Viddy, once hailed as \u2018Instagram for video,\u2019 which had as many as 50 million users during its peak. The developer raised $30 million in May 2012. But the service shut down in December 2014 after losing \u201clarge amounts of traffic following a change to Facebook\u2019s highly-influential algorithm,\u201d according to TechCrunch. The release of Vine as well as Instagram\u2019s ability to shoot and share video made matters even worse.\n\nGiven the spotty track record thus far of livestreaming and mobile video apps, is there anything to suggest that it is going to be different this time? Well, yes.\n\nIt could be that these apps have come along at just the right moment. The combination of ubiquitous mobile phones with HD cameras, wireless broadband, and Twitter as an instant distribution network for media give apps like Meerkat and Periscope a huge boost right out of the gate. As Chris Sacca, founder and chairman of Lowercase Capital, summed it up for The New York Times: \u201cAll of a sudden, the world\u2019s pockets are full of good cameras and good screens with good data plans and good social platforms to let everyone know you\u2019re broadcasting.\u201d\n\nBut challenges loom. For one: Is there room for both Meerkat and Periscope? It\u2019s too early to declare a winner, but the race is on to create an entirely new network built on mobile live video. Twitter is trying to recreate the success it had with Vine, but this time with Periscope. Meanwhile, Meerkat is building on its first-mover momentum. While the two apps seem almost identical today, they could very easily move in different directions with divergent sets of features (public vs. private, live vs. archived). Periscope\u2019s deep ties to Twitter is definitely perceived as an advantage, but what if Meerkat was able to leverage Facebook and start livestreaming there?\n\nOther questions: Will consumers already using Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest make room in their lives and on their home screens for yet another social app? And after the novelty wears off, will they grow tired of livestreaming itself?\n\nThe ongoing selfie stick craze may provide a clue. It\u2019s still going strong -- even Beyonce uses a selfie stick. But there\u2019s already a selfie stick backlash brewing, as critics find them obnoxious and potentially dangerous (some people have died while taking selfies) and a potential violation of privacy for passersby -- a concern that\u2019s already been raised about livestreaming video apps. Or do we as humans need to communicate visually, and is live video the next logical step in our communications evolution?\n\nIt all boils down to whether anyone else is listening. Everyone can now be a broadcaster, and everyone has a built-in audience -- even if it\u2019s just their friends. That audience is theirs to lose -- or expand.