Periscope: Making Ripples in the Digital Pond
Periscope: Making Ripples in the Digital Pond
4 years ago 0 0
Photo from

Photo from

Periscope is Twitter’s new live-streaming video app, not to be confused with the much-hyped Meerkat, another live-streaming app. The first thing you must know about Periscope is that it requires you to have a Twitter account. The second is that you can only use Periscope on an iPhone or iPad, however Android is to come soon.

Something you should know about Meerkat is that it once relied on Twitter’s social graph for people to discover livestreams, given that Meerkat automatically tweeted once a livestream by a user began. That is no more. Upon Twitter’s launch of Periscope, Twitter restricted Meerkat’s access to their social graph on the grounds of spamming users by auto-tweeting each livestream. So goes the lesson: do not rely on another platform’s social graph as the stand-alone social discovery mechanism, because said company might own a similar company to yours and inevitably cripple you from the inside by shutting down your access to something you critically rely upon for market penetration.

Here’s a rundown of how to use Periscope:

  • Set Up & Follows Once you’ve downloaded Periscope from the App Store, you can subscribe to the Periscope broadcasts of the people you follow on Twitter and be notified in-app when they are streaming, or watch for links posted on Twitter. The People Tab provides suggested users to follow, or you can search for specific people by clicking on the magnifying glass icon in the People tab.


  • Broadcasting When live, you’re broadcasting video, audio and have the ability to tag a location (which is optional). To begin broadcasting, select whether you want to keep the default setting (which saves the broadcast for 24 hours in the Watch Tab) or limit the audience (see more in “Audience” section) then add a title of what you’re about to stream, and press the Twitter icon to promote the stream via your Twitter account


  • Location Tagging When opening the Periscope app, you see a list of live feeds from around the world, many of which are tagged by city. It should be noted that while the location information supplied is very general – for instance, it would say “Brooklyn, NY”– a user could zoom to see the exact location with street names labeled and unwittingly share a private address. To view the map during a stream and see the location of the broadcaster, swipe right, and then pinch to zoom in or out.



  • Engagement Once watching a broadcast, you can see people join the live stream, and have the ability to type out a message to the broadcaster and fellow watchers, or send a ‘heart’ to indicate approval, which you do by tapping the screen.
  • Audience By default, broadcasts are public, and available to view on everyone’s global feed. You can also limit the audience of what you’re about to stream by pressing the people button on the bottom right of the screen and selecting individual viewers.
  • Browse You can also browse live streams on Periscope by pressing the TV icon on the bottom left of the home screen.


Both Meerkat and Periscope allow users to watch and broadcast live video from anywhere in the world, however Periscope saves your video streams for anyone to view for up to 24 hours (similar to a Snapchat Story.) As an important point of differentiation, Meerkat’s live video disappears once the broadcast ends. This is a key, because now that Meerkat’s access to Twitter’s social graph is shut off, it is difficult to know when a live stream by a friend or follower is live, and without the stream living beyond the broadcast’s end, leaves little reason to check back in to the app regularly.

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 10.59.19 AM

Photo from

Photo from

Within its first week on the market, Periscope is gaining huge momentum with brands and celebrities, despite there being some major legal implications over the nature of content being captured in unwieldy, uncontrolled situations. The ever-innovative GE and Red Bull took to the platform to share a wearable tech demo and cover the festivities surrounding Miami Music Week, respectively. Furthering the brand trend of sharing music related content, Spotify shared a behind-the-scenes video of a performance from Conor O’Brien from We Are Villagers while Urban Outfitters took a similar direction, live streaming their #UOLive event with DJ/Producer Jamie XX. Jimmy Fallon – who is doing double duty by also using Meerkat – used the app to give fans a peek at his monologue rehearsal, and DKNY PR Girl’s tested out the new platform by taking viewers on a walk-through of the DKNY closet, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the brand. Deviating from traditional brands slightly, another interesting use case has emerged: the Dept. of the Interior has been using the platform extensively, hosting live Q&As, as well as documenting the #FindYourPark event, which is a campaign to celebrate the National Park Service’s Centennial and draw awareness towards neglected sites.

Moving forward we will see a lot more experimentation with the app as brands, celebrities, and users explore the possibilities and create new use cases. We saw how quickly Twitter’s real-time nature helped document (and break) world news a decade ago, and that paradigm shift of sharing information in real-time has since changed the news industry. The same may be true for Periscope with such accessible livestreaming capabilities, not only in the world of news journalism, but civilian journalism as well. Furthermore, if co-creator Kayvon Beykpour’s predictions are true, we may be sharing our most poignant personal moments – like a babies first steps – for the rest of the world to see.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>