21 Aug 2015

Periscope - One User's Experience

It’s the weekend, I’m chilling with the papers (real papers, spread out across the table, print smudged on my fingers) when a notification pings on my phone to inform me that Deepak Chopra is livestreaming from New York. I open my Periscope app and BOOM, there he is, the man himself smiling into my screen, the same way my little niece does when she’s face timing me.

I, and 230 other people from around the globe tune in to watch Deepak share some wisdom from a café in New York, except it feels like it’s just Deepak and me. For a few minutes he talks to me in his soothing voice and then he’s gone.

On twitter Deepak Chopra has 2.56 MILLION followers so being in an audience of just 230 is pretty exclusive. I feel like I’m experiencing something special, personal even. I’m invigorated by the experience. I want more.

I start searching for other people I think have interesting things to say and discover that on the whole they’re not active….YET. Media channels and big brands such as BBC, The New York Times, ASOS, Estee Lauder and MAC Cosmetics are present. The fashionistas and photographers like Mario Testino, who lead the way when it comes to the power of visual communication, are experimenting with what Periscope can offer. 

It’s a while since I’ve been so excited by the possibilities of a communications tool. Periscope is free and relatively easy to use and literally opens up a whole world of possibilities for zero budget. Broadcasts can only be accessed for up to 24 hours from going live which is perhaps why Periscope feels fresh, different.

Part of me wants to keep shtum about Periscope so I can enjoy access to inspiring, thought provoking people as part of a small audience but the marketer in me is making plans for clients I think could benefit from experimenting with free live-streaming. My head is bursting with ideas and those clients who have already tried it out are enjoying the experience. At this point in time the reach isn’t huge in comparison to more established networks but interaction is high and it’s hitting the desired target audience.

I’m also conscious of the fact that the more mainstream it becomes the more noise and mundane content there will be. Users prone to knee jerk reactions may land in more hot water with Periscope than they do with other social networks but it’s certainly worth considering how it could fit into your marketing strategy.

I imagine that there will be teething problems around copyright and privacy. For example when audience members at conferences and gigs livestream without permission of the speaker or artist .Often content and insight comes with a price tag unless otherwise stated.

Launched in March of this year Periscope is still very new so it makes me uncomfortable when I see people selling themselves as experts on the subject. I’d call them forward thinkers or early adopters because Periscope needs time to grow before any seriously researched insight or experience can be gained. As you can see from the screen grab above there’s not a massive volume of users broadcasting and I’m typing this at 1pm on a Friday.
If you'd like to try out Periscope this Beginners Guide from the Huffington Post will help you get started.

As always, comments welcome.

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