Woman taking a video.

Coming to you live... It's Periscope!

Inspiration and ideas for the new live-streaming platform

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Posted: Aug 12, 2015

Twitter (and beyond) is still all-abuzz about the announcement of Periscope this past spring. The new platform brings people the opportunities for real-time, live broadcasts right from a phone for all to share.

Think about how a tool like Periscope can bring you into a room or city - imagine broadcasting your child’s first steps live to the rest of your family, or watching what’s happening on the ground moment to moment in Ferguson, or sharing a concert with a friend who couldn’t make it at the last minute?

Periscope is a powerful development for the future of media, and for bringing communities and people even closer together. 

Why don’t we start at the beginning for those who haven’t yet had a chance to learn about this new platform? 

What is Periscope? 

Periscope is pretty simple in its purpose. Available now on iTunes and Google Play (Windows Phone availability is still TBD), Periscope brings the real-time feel of Twitter to your camera. It allows you to show your followers what’s going on around you by live streaming video from your mobile device. 

The interface is simple: it’s vertical video style with an area for viewers to add and share comments and a touch-to-like interface, so a broadcaster can see what their viewers think of their broadcast. You can follow a Periscope user, just like you can on Twitter, and tweet out a link seamlessly to Twitter when you start a live broadcast. Because Periscope is developed and owned by Twitter, it has all the benefits of a seamless integration with a channel we already know and love.  

Think of Periscope as a happy marriage between Twitter and Ustream. 

What should I broadcast anyway? 

Unsurprisingly, Periscope is already going through some awkward growing pains. Like when Twitter first started out, a lot of people are trying (and failing) to understand how and when to use it most effectively. While we may see a few broadcasts of people eating sandwiches to start (just kidding - I hope too many people aren’t doing this), there are some great opportunities for local governments and organizations in particular to bring real value to your communities by way of Periscope. 

Here are just a few ideas for Periscope moments: 

  • Announcement/Press Conferences: If you're planning to host a press conference, consider opening up Periscope and bringing it to your constituents live. 
  • Interviews with leadership or notable people: Share Q&A type sessions and take questions from the community. People can easily participate and it can be a nice way to highlight a partnership, or your work with a notable spokesperson. 
  • Behind the scenes tour: Have a special exhibit up, or is a notable musician making an appearance? Why not share it live?
  • Engagements out in the community: Are you sponsoring an event or are you attending an event on "official" job purposes? Pop open the Periscope app and share your POV. 

What should I consider when embarking on a new platform?

Great question! Well, as I always say (over and over, sorry!), be clear about your goals and let that guide your focus. We know that sometimes it can be exciting to use the latest and greatest tools, but if you’re focused on what you’re trying to achieve and what your capacity is realistically, then you can make a strong judgement about whether to take up a new channel. 

At this point, Periscope is still new and there aren’t a lot of examples of best practices out there just yet. As a result, think carefully before you hit that “broadcast” button and be ready to make some mistakes along the way. Learning and failing fast in these situations can help you figure out the right strategy for how your team should use a tool like Periscope, but that does involve accepting some risk. But high risks often have high rewards. 

Also, you might try playing around with it on your own and tuning into other broadcasts before you start using it on behalf of your organization, just to ensure you’re fully familiar with the functionality. 

A note about Meerkat

Now you may be thinking, this sounds just like Meerkat, right? Well, you would be correct. They basically offer the same functionality of live streaming video. Meerkat came on the scene first, and managed to capture and leverage a lot of buzz around SXSW. Within a matter of weeks of Meerkat’s dramatic growth, Periscope dropped in and stole some of their thunder. Time will tell which channel will win fan loyalty, but it’s safe to say Periscope’s pairing with Twitter makes it more of a heavyweight to Meerkat’s lightweight status. Stay tuned! 

This article was previously posted on ELGL.

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Twitter: @kimervin
Kim Ervin is Pyramid’s Senior Social Media Strategist. She develops social media strategies and campaigns which aim to deepen connections between organizations and their communities. When not sharing the ins and outs of social media management and her tips on using all the latest platforms, Kim is likely reading and researching ways to change the world on multiple screens. You can connect with her on Twitter @KimErvin.