Exploring Periscope

Last week, Twitter announced their latest (second) foray into video: a mobile app called Periscope that lets users stream (and view) video in real time.

I had heard about Meerkat when it came out, several weeks ago. That particular app rocketed in popularity due in no small part to its appearance on Product Hunt. But I never got interested in it enough to sign up.

Once I heard Twitter had its own thing, I decided to try out both features. And lately, I’ve found myself really enjoying using Periscope from time to time.

There is an element of Chat Roulette to it all, but with less creepiness. Ok, there’s a little creepiness, but for the most part the feeds I’ve peeked into have been very clean.

When viewing a video, you can choose to signal your fondness for the content by tapping in the bottom right corner. This will trigger a small heart to appear, and float up, and fade away. It’s a very quick thing, and most folks will typically tap several times out of enthusiasm. If you are watching a particularly popular feed, you’ll see a flurry of hearts in the corner, constantly streaming and floating off into space.

The worst part of the experience, I think, has to be the comments. You can be watching something innocuous and someone will just post “Boobs” out of the blue. You can block people, but it gets difficult as the comments fly by somewhat quickly. Not sure that there’s really anything to be done on this front, as rude comments are part and parcel of the Internet it seems.

I will say though that the videos kind of do inspire me to want to say something silly or something quick. I’m not sure why that is, but from a viewer’s perspective… watching someone else’s video kind of makes you want to chime in. Even if it is a video of them just going through their fridge.

I’ve enjoyed posting video using the app, and have started to use it with some frequency. I’ll video tape the bunnies sometimes, when I’m feeding them their greens for breakfast or dinner. Within a few seconds, I’ll get somewhere like 30 people who have joined and are leaving hearts and comments.

The time span of these videos vary, as when you first post – you’re likely at the top of the app and catching people just looking for something to watch. Numbers jump up, but then slowly people start to fall off. Even so, it’s kind of thrilling to see others “looking in” on something I take for granted, and to see such delight when they see Phineas and Quincy chowing down.

Up until now, photos have seemed the predominant media for mobile. With Periscope and Meerkat gaining so much popularity, I wonder if this year will be the year video takes over.

// Edit: Random, interesting note: the phone used on the Periscope website is actually a fairly old, iPhone 3.

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This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. One of the more interesting and novel uses of the app that I’ve seen is by Peter Nickeas, who reports on violence in Chicago. He’s used the app at a few crime scenes, and it’s very eye-opening to peek into the Chicago that he sees. You can find out more about that via this New York Magazine article.

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