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:
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.
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.