If you're not on Periscope yet to "explore the world through someone else's eyes" as the tagline suggests, you're missing out, my friend. It's a new live video app (the videos have a 24 hour replay lifespan after that) and in my opinion, it's WAY better than Snapchat and Meerkat and it's tied with Facebook for me right now in terms of its level of addiction.
I saw Ellen using the app the other week but it wasn't until I saw this video on Tim Ferriss' Facebook page a few days ago that I saw its potential for a large community connection and decided to check it out.
I fell in love immediately and began broadcasting #likeaboss aka incessantly and without a clue as to how to best use it.
Since it's a fairly new app (I heard it launched March 26, 2015), I imagine a number of us are just exploring and experimenting and having a blast in the process, and we're also privy to all the glitches that come along with using a newbie app. More on that in a bit.
Periscope is currently only available for iOS (it requires 7.1 or later) but they do plan to make it available for Android in the near future. It is owned by Twitter and offers many language options: English, Bokmål, Norwegian, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian Nynorsk, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Swedish, Traditional Chinese, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese.
HOW TO GET IT
You download the free Periscope app from the App Store on iTunes and then you sign up using your Twitter account. You can only sign up through Twitter. Be sure you like your profile pic and your user name though because currently you can't change either one on Periscope once you've joined (ultimate fail) but I did read that they will eventually include these features in the settings. How about now? (plzkthxbye).
HOW IT WORKS
You (the broadcaster) click a square periscope lens button on your phone to prep your video, add a title to the broadcast so that viewers know what they're about to watch, and then click "Start Broadcast". It's super simple. You can even make the video private so that only those who you've selected can view the video.
Then your viewers type their comments and/or give you floating hearts while you're yapping or singing or doing absolutely nothing. These pretty floating hearts are equal to likes on Facebook, except viewers can give you as many as they feel like. Once a guy gave me 900 hearts for no good reason at all and it was awesome.
Most people use very basic titles and record very basic things. Examples would be "walking to work", "watching the game", "sleeping cat", "singing a Beyonce song", "waiting on the train", "eating Doritos - ask me questions!". Lots of broadcasters want you to ask them questions and keep them company while they're doing a whole lot of nothing.
While your video is recording, you usually narrate what's going on and talk to whoever is kind enough to watch your life unfold in real time. People type their questions or comments and it shows up on your screen and it's your job to respond to what they're saying (within reason). Sometimes you will get creepy comments, in which case you can just block the viewer, but overall it seems that people are genuinely on here to connect with new people, learn new things, and share things of interest with the world.
Fun Fact: Companies also use this app as a way to stay connected to their customers and the tech expert at NBC did an amazing broadcast covering the Apple Watch release the other day. The whole thing was fascinating (not the watch but the entire video) because of how much information he shared and how well he answered all of our tech and Apple questions. He sees Periscope as the future of how breaking news will be delivered to the public. There's just so much potential for this real time app.
TIPS FOR NEW PERISCOPERS
When you first start out, you may not get any viewers right away but within a few days (or a few videos) you will so keep recording! If you record it, they will come!
When viewers do finally show up, ask where people are from (although many offer this information on their own) and do your best to answer their questions and build a rapport with them. This makes them want to follow your feed (like following you on Twitter) and watch your upcoming videos. And it's always nice to follow people back but of course that's up to you.
Don't worry about the content of your video or worry that it's too boring to Periscope about. What's boring and familiar to you might be completely fascinating to others. We want to see how other people live. We want to explore new things. New people. New countries. New languages. New ways of life. So help us do that by sharing what your little corner of the world looks like.
MY BROADCAST EXPERIMENTS
I've been having a great time doing my broadcasts and so far my most popular and memorable one was Making Popcorn on the Stove since there was an actual fire during the broadcast. If you do watch the video, unfortunately you won't get to see the comments and the jokes I was seeing while recording. They're only visible while using an app and they disappear when you save the video to your camera roll on your phone.
On day 2 of Periscoping I did a video called My Hot Friend Texting and in this one Sheena had to endure about 5 minutes of me showing her off to the world in real time and we got plenty of supportive comments and oodles of floating hearts for our efforts.
GIVE ME ALL THE HEARTS!
The floating hearts are so cute and the colours correspond to the colour each viewer is given when they play your video. In the above example, I took my two viewers on a nighttime walk through my neighbourhood and noticed tons of newspapers strewn about on the sidewalks thanks to a delivery boy or girl doing a botched job, which turned into a fun game of them telling me where I should put/hide each paper at each house.
Newspapers ended up in trees and bushes and on top of cars, in a trailer, in a Christmas decoration (why was it still there in the first place?) to name just a few. I'm not proud of what I did (I'm lying) and in retrospect I did a worse job than the original deliverer, but the three of us had a blast and sportsgirl223 keeps asking me if any of my neighbours have said anything about what happened.
SHARING THE MUNDANE
Below is another example of one live video I did. You can tell by the title, "Charging phone and watching New Girl", that it's pretty mundane (seems to be the theme on Periscope) but it generated a ton of live viewers, comments and hearts and that's without anyone even seeing who I am. I only showed the show. You can also see that my location is visible but there is an option to hide where you're from if you'd like more privacy.
I basically talked all the way through the broadcast and people seemed to love my voice and said I should be on the radio. Too funny! I also got a few suggestions for comedians to watch on YouTube so we did that together as a group and laughed a lot. It was like hosting a cyber gathering and I loved it and so did they. I got to connect with a ton of people and learn more about them as the video went on (I think it went well over an hour) and we all seemed to get into a really sweet flow with one another.
Most broadcasters on here flip the cam and show themselves during the videos but I'm not comfy with that yet. I typically show my cats or my computer screen or something I'm making and last night I did a 4 part video series called "complete silence + pitch dark" which is exactly what it sounds (or doesn't sound) like and the responses were freaking hilarious! I had to hold the giggles in to stay silent but reading their commentary about my muted, black video was SO worth it. In the 4th video of the same thing some viewer spent the whole time giving me hearts. About 900 of them. It was crazy to watch!
I also did a video of Chloe in a pirate ship and also of me talking to the stray cat in our back yard and my viewers started sharing their own rescue stories and it filled my heart up so much. I've connected with a lot of fellow cat and animal lovers.
THE LEMUR BROADCAST
Here's yet another example of why Periscope rocks. You get to watch other people's live videos from every corner of the world and the other day I watched a woman feed and care for a family of lemurs and I got to ask her questions about them and have them answered in real time. I even asked her to pet one for me and she did!
If you look at the bottom of this pic you can see it says "say something" and that's where you type your comment and it shows up on their screen and most times people answer everything unless a lot of people are viewing and they can't keep up. Then you just retype it and they'll see it eventually. The number at the side is how many are watching with you and it changes by the second.
Usually when I watch people's videos I write, "SAY MY NAME!" and they always do. I don't know why but I really get a kick out of that.
I also watched an amazing freestyle session of 4 guys rapping like bosses last night and it's beyond incredible to know you're watching something in real time that you'll never find on YouTube. It was like being at a concert. For real.
Although I've only been using the app for about 5 days, here are a few trends I've noticed.
1. Lots of requests to see inside your fridge.
2. Lots of videos showing the contents of one's fridge.
3. Lots of requests to "flip the cam" if you're not showing your face.
4. Lots of requests to show boobs.
5. Lots of "ask me anything" videos.
6. People love to share where they're from.
OTHER THINGS WORTH NOTING
1. You'll get some vulgar commenters that require a swift blocking or you can change your settings so that only the people you follow can comment on your videos.
2. People can replay your videos for up to 24 hours and they can still add hearts to them but they can no longer add comments. You can also disable the replay option per video or delete the video entirely.
3. You'll probably get some regulars on your videos and learn to know them by their real names which is always lovely. It's also great when they refer to your past videos and follow your little life story with excitement.
4. You can choose to have every video automatically saved in your camera roll or you can do this manually with individual videos.
WHAT NEEDS WORK
1. We need the freedom to change our damn profile picture! (They said it's coming)
2. The app can only handle so many viewers on one video before it shows "Broadcast too full" and disables your ability to comment.
3. It's pretty glitchy. You get booted out of videos quite frequently and videos also freeze a lot and sometimes that means missing an awesome part of the broadcast. Sure you can watch the replay but what a hassle.
4. Even more glitches: some videos it looks to you as if no one is watching, commenting or giving hearts, only to look back at your replay video to see all that you missed. They were there but nothing showed up on your end. This has happened 3 times now so far. Not a huge deal and I assume this will get sorted soon enough. It's still a baby app.
Despite the various kinks, I love this app to bits. It still has lots to work out but it's guaranteed to become HUGE within a short period of time. It's a brilliant concept and I am hooked. HOOKED, I TELL YA! Want more information about Periscope? Here is a handy resource that covers even more of the nitty gritty.
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