Doesn’t it seem like there’s a new smartphone app every second? And honestly, most of them are just a waste of time, right? So when Twitter came out with their app, Periscope, I thought I would give it shot. I’m on Twitter all of the time so I hoped that this app was going to make my Twitter experience even better. I was not disappointed! Periscope is an amazing app that allows you to stream live video and have your followers interact with you via scrolling chat, on screen in real time.
The more I used it, the more I was drawn in to a world filled with wonderful people and events. I love the news, so I started following news stations and journalists like Rochester’s Nikki Rudd & Pat Taney, or Tampa’s Lindsey Mastis to begin with. I watched them behind the scenes, preparing for their shows and getting insights from them that you wouldn’t get from a regular broadcast. I saw storm chasers in real time, like Mike Bettes & The Weather Channel, and felt their panic and excitement while watching all the comments from people like myself who were just as amazed. I followed some of my favorite morning drive time crews like the Elvis Duran Show, Kane or the Bobby Bones Show. If you have a wanderlust, I suggest you follow people abroad, or those who travel a lot. While having my coffee in the morning, I watched a tropical rain storm on a beach in Bali, and even got an up close & personal tour of London by UK footballer Stan Collymore! One night shared tapas with some new friends in Barcelona and tossed back a few with some mates later in a Brisbane bar.
Periscope also has great practical and business uses. I watched several of my peers at the Social Media Marketing World this year in San Diego, an event I was unable to attend and I constantly watch reviews by Lance Ulanoff of Mashable on a whole host of tech topics. And, if you know me, my day would not be complete if I didn’t watch a few live cooking shows by Food 52 or Epicurious. These are just a few of the ways that Periscope opens the world up to me.
Twitter’s Periscope (free) lets you watch or shoot live streaming video and has a constantly updated list of live streams to browse. It’s iPhone-only (for now), but with an easy-to-understand interface and the excitement of seeing what’s happening right now in other parts of the world, Periscope could be the next big thing on any platform.
Periscope came out hot on the heels of Meerkat, a live video-streaming app that released in mid-February and immediately skyrocketed up the most-popular-app lists. I compared the two apps side by side, but it quickly became clear Periscope had more features, more ways to discover content, and might be the app that makes this new way of viewing live video an everyday thing.
What does Periscope do?
Periscope lets you set up a live video shoot by adding a title and deciding whether you want to share your location so people can see where you’re shooting from. When you start your broadcast, notifications go out to your followers that have Periscope so they can touch the link to watch the live stream instantly.
During your live video, audience members can type in comments that you and other audience members will see at the bottom of the screen. Audience members can “like” your video live, by touching anywhere on the screen to make a heart icon float up that everyone can see. In this way, your live shoot becomes a conversation where you can interact with the audience watching your show.
When your broadcast is over, you can save your video to your camera roll or choose to make your video available for replay so people who missed it still have a chance to watch. Unfortunately, the replays stay up for only 24 hours after you post them. Ideally, you could go to a person’s profile and watch every Periscope they ever made. Obviously, that would be an enormous amount of information in the cloud, but even if you could go back just a month, it would be better.
Still, Periscope makes live streaming easy and accessible on your smartphone so shooting live from the game, concert, party or political rally can be done by anyone. Not only that, but the excitement of seeing something happening in your friends’ life right now is what makes apps like Periscope special.
More to explore
Even when you’re not shooting videos or watching what your friends post, there’s plenty to do on Periscope. The app displays three featured live streams at the top, then a long list of live streams being shot by others in that moment.
With the app’s current popularity, there is no shortage of new videos being posted and — at the moment — it’s not an ideal experience. While there’s always something to watch, the videos are coming in so fast that a pull-down refresh will replace almost the whole list. It’s a problem because there’s no way to catch it all, and sometimes you’ll see a stream that looks interesting only to accidentally refresh, pushing it off the list.
One way that this section might be improved is to separate live streams into categories so people could browse just the travel streams, sports, music, or other categories. This would lighten the load to each list making sure you get a chance to catch what interests you.
You can choose to post your Periscopes to all your Twitter followers by selecting the Twitter icon right before you broadcast. If you don’t, the only people that will see your broadcast are those looking at the list of live streams in the app.
Periscope will also suggest people for you to follow in the People section of the app, based on your Twitter network. But if you find a person that talks about things that interest you regularly, you can follow them on Periscope so you always know when their broadcasts go live.
Periscope also lets you just send video to the people you want. For example, if you have a group of friends that want to see live video of your trip to Hawaii, you can pick and choose which followers will get the notification for your live show, and it will only be broadcast for them.
It’s a neat feature, because you can send quick video hits to friends or family when you’re away from home, and the live video aspect makes it seem much more personal than a photo or even a prerecorded video.
Periscope brings live streaming video to everyone with an iPhone, and it has great features for discovering new video. Periscope isn’t the first streaming-video app to the App Store, but its ease of use, GPS locations, and the ability to browse current streams puts it in front of the rest of its kind.
With its early popularity, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of videos coming in — even the app isn’t fast enough to catch it all. But hopefully new categories and other ways to break up the continuous stream of new content will come in future updates to the app.
Still, while Meerkat may have put streaming video from your smartphone on the map, Periscope is set to take over, with more features, more ways to get connected, and the power of Twitter behind it all.
Great article and I couldn’t have said it better myself. Bottom line is that Periscope is a wonderful app with so many applications and possibilities! I could spend hours and hours trying to tell you how much fun and exciting it is, but that would pale in comparison to actually experiencing it yourself. So celebrate Cinco de Mayo with people in another country, or cheer with others watching the 4th of July fireworks in New York. You could even take a sailboat ride this summer on Lake Michigan or a leisurely stroll down the Champs-Élysées in Paris. What are you waiting for? Your world is out there waiting for you!
I grew up in the kitchen with my mother and grandmother and it's where I love to be every day cooking for my wonderful family. I hope you enjoy!
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