Purchased by Twitter for a reported $100m, Periscope is a live streaming app that at first glance, appears quite similar to Google Hangout. When you broadcast on Periscope, you can transmit live recordings to both Periscope and Twitter fans. That means a whole group or online community can link up and interact with questions or comments. Any interactions from followers appear on your screen, which gives you the opportunity to answer questions and react to viewers.
That is where the similarity to Google Hangout ends. Periscope, in a similar fashion to Instagram, is for people on the go and can be used while you are out and about. Periscope also automatically links to Twitter, and Twitter synchronisation means live transmissions will appear in real time on your feed, making it easier for followers to tune in.
If you are following a person, it is easy to stay informed about their live transmissions via Twitter. Once you opt into sharing, you will receive notifications every time your chosen celebrity starts to stream. If you miss a transmission, you have twenty four hours to watch the live broadcast. If you are feeling bored (or perhaps adventurous), you can click the World Map tab that displays all of the live broadcasts happening on Periscope at that moment. Dive in and you will find the weird, the wonderful and the downright wacky.
Periscope is user-friendly. The app lists everyone you follow on Twitter under the People tab and presents an extensive database of user videos from around the globe. It is quite easy to scroll through the videos and tap to join in the conversation.
Periscope is an ‘access all areas’ platform. You can check out people sightseeing in Paris, watch protests in the UK or see in the New Year in Times Square. You can share in the political campaigns across the globe or watch the latest news unfolding before your eyes. There’s also plenty of structured material from musicians talking about their latest album and actors discussing upcoming films. On the wackier side of things, you can take a guided tour of someone’s sock drawer or check out the contents of a refrigerator in a country on the other side of the world. Periscope turns an eye to everything everywhere from the mundane to breaking news.
Despite its accessibility, there is not much reason to worry about disturbing content. The Periscope community is similar to that of Instagram – the content is checked, but it seems to be mainly clean.
Periscope has real potential for news reporting, especially breaking news and celebrity events. It is also a useful platform for writers and artists who want to be more accessible to their audience. One very appealing aspect of Periscope is the ability to set up private broadcasts. This means you can live stream a family event to friends and family in other countries.
Although all streamed broadcasts disappear after 24 hours, you can still save copies of every broadcast or individual broadcasts.
You can automatically save copies of your broadcasts to your phone with the following steps:
- navigate to People tab
- tap Profile icon (top right corner)
- from Profile page tap ‘Settings’
- turn on ‘Auto-Save to Camera Roll’
To save an individual broadcast as soon as it ends:
- on iOS, tap ‘Save to Camera Roll’ when broadcasts finishes to download to your phone
- on Android, tap ‘Save to Gallery’ when broadcast finishes
Do you want to try live-streaming, or maybe catch the latest offering from your favourite celebrity? Periscope is available as a free download on Android and iOS here.
*Warning: streaming of copyright materials without permission on Periscope could land you in hot water!