Last week I downloaded the Periscope app and I've been playing with it ever since.
If you haven't heard of Periscope yet, it is a live streaming app. Which means what you say is being broadcast as you say it. Periscope is owned by Twitter (in fact, they liked it so much they bought it before it was even released!) Since it is owned by Twitter, you need a Twitter account to sign up.
When watching a Periscope video, you can tap the screen to make little hearts appear (which means you like it). You can also interact with the person streaming by asking questions. Which, in a way, makes it much more immediate and conversational than even Twitter.
The "trick" with Periscope is that it disappears from the app after 24 hours. You can save your own "Scope" to your camera roll when you are finished. When you do this, the hearts and interactive conversation aspects disappear and the video will look just like any other video. You can also use katch.me to save all of your scopes in one place. Mine are saved at www.katch.me/gmontoyapdx
There are similar apps and methods for live streaming. Google Hangouts and Meerkat are probably the two biggest names out there, but Periscope seems to be rapidly eclipsing them.
How it works
Once you are signed up, you'll see some different options:
The television icon shows recently finished "Scopes" by people you follow.
The globe icon lets you see what is live streaming now. You can see it as little numbers above countries or as a list.
To make your own periscope, tap the little Periscope icon. It pops up a window where you can caption your video. This is where a good, clear title and hashtags will help your 'Scope be found. Unlike other video apps, with Periscope you film vertically rather than horizontally. UPDATE 9/14/15: Periscope now allows you to film either way.
The final people icon along the bottom allows you to explore both people you already follow on Twitter (who have also joined Periscope) as well as popular Periscope users.
In the upper right corner, there is a single person icon - this is your own user information.
The periscope system has the camera default to the back camera, so you'll need to double tap the screen to turn it around once you start filming (which is weird to me and I need to work on my flipping skills). I've seen some users write the title of their 'Scope on a piece of paper and begin by filming that. I think that is very clever and gives a much better "cover" image than a floor or room.
As you broadcast people can join you. When I did my first quick Periscope, I honestly didn't think anyone would join me, so that was unexpected! The more you do it, the more you'll get the hang of it. I'm up to seven now and I feel much more confident than I did the first time. I'm still getting the hang of talking and reading and responding all in the same breath.
You have the option of pinpointing your general area or removing that information. I had a few troll issues when my area was pinpointed, but removing my location solved that issue. UPDATE 9/14/15: The general area comes within a few blocks of your location, so you may prefer to turn off the location option when you are at home.
Once you are done, you can save the video to your phone's camera roll. You can also share the link to your Periscope. But, here is the trick - your video will disappear from the app/online in 24 hours (it is like a self destruct envelope from Mission Impossible!!)
Periscope is a live streaming app, so it is a bit of a data hog. You might want to make sure you are connected to wi-fi before recording or viewing scopes to avoid using all of your monthly data at once.
Why bother with Periscope?
It is kinda fun and has some neat things going for it:
You can save and re-purpose the video to YouTube or Facebook or Instagram. Even your blog. It is your content.
It is neat to connect with people and take a look at what is happening in the world *right now* Fair warning - sometimes it is someone's dog staring at the camera or someone filming a street sign.
Depending on your business, it might make sense to use Periscope to stream a live event, offer a promo, or give video sneak peeks.
You can make the videos appear for only some people - offering a class or workshop? You can do it via Periscope or use it as add on support.
Super fast & easy to setup - so if you are in the "I'd do videos, but I don't have the right equipment" camp - that excuse doesn't work anymore!
Do you really need yet another social media platform to stress about?
But if you are comfortable in front of the camera (or want to practice), this could be a fun way to do it AND make new connections.
Is this going to flame out in three months? Totally possible - especially since Facebook is making noises about offering something similar. On the other hand, Periscope is growing like crazy and everyone seems to be curious about how it works and what it can do for them.
Who is this for?
Active Twitter users will likely get the most out of it since there is an option to auto-tweet a message when you are on Periscope.
I'm @gmontoyapdx if you want to follow me.
Musings about marketing, social media, and small business.