Periscope | The world through someone else’s eyes

Written by Jill Bennett-Howes

Cool advancing tech

For two years the theme at tourism and social media conferences is clear – the world wants to watch videos. Come to think of it probably 15% of my week is spent watching videos on my YouTube channel and my Twitter and Facebook feeds!

With video being the new norm it makes sense that video streaming products like Periscope are quickly bought up for “small sums” like $100 million. So what is Periscope and how does it fit into your business? I decided to do my own trialling and draft my experience. Here’s what I learnt…

What you need to know about Periscope

To understand what Periscope is you need to understand what the developers were trying to create. “It may sound crazy, but we wanted to build the closest thing to teleportation. While there are many ways to discover events and places, we realised there is no better way to experience a place right now than through live video.”

Launched in March 2015 as Twitter’s app, Periscope is an exciting video streaming social media platform. It allows you to watch and broadcast live video from across the globe. Often confused with Meerkat, Periscope’s difference is that you can save the video streams once you are finished so anyone can view them for up to 24 hours; Meerkat’s live video disappears.

In its first 10 days of operation Periscope gained an audience of 1 million users, by August 2015 it was announced that it hosted over 10 million active accounts. With all that interest it’s definitely a platform every marketing genius should be exploring – and considering the Battle at Kruger’s success – we know video feed is one of the most effective ways to sell Africa.

While no one’s sure if Periscope will continue to grow and activate all 300 million twitter accounts, considering video success stories like Google, Youtube and Facebook our money’s on this space becoming an expected norm for Tweeters.

What is it? Periscope is like your own live TV station. It allows you to video record and broadcast to anywhere in the world, streaming it to public or only certain users.

How does it work? Periscope users have the option to tweet out a link to their live stream. Instead of Facebook “likes”, Periscope uses “hearts” to the broadcaster – simply tap on the mobile screen as a form of appreciation. Once you’ve downloaded Periscope from the App store you can sign up with Periscope in two ways either in conjunction with your Twitter account or create a Periscope account using your mobile number.

The beauty of using Periscope with your Twitter account is that you can push a notification on Twitter each time you scope – which will gain you a larger audience.

Like most social media platforms Periscope has its own language. Understanding it is just the same as liking and following on Facebook or retweeting on Twitter.

Here’s some terminology to get you going:

  • Scoper: (with a capital S please!) A person actively using Persicope
  • Scope: Each time you broadcast a video, you are creating a scope.
  • Hearts: Scopers show their appreciation of a scope by tapping on the screen. This gives the broadcaster a “heart”. The number of hearts received determines the colour assigned to your account – indicating your popularity.
  • Reply: Periscope offers the option for Scopers to record their broadcast so that other scopes can replay the broadcast.
  • Follow: Scopers follow each other. It’s the same as liking on Facebook, connecting with a user’s LinkedIn profile, or following a user on Twitter.

My foray into Periscope

This is great. Right? A few paragraphs and *BOOM*, you’re already a Scope-pro. That’s just what I thought and I promptly enrolled in the process to become a Scoper… (1) I went to the App Store and downloaded Periscope. Ok that was easy enough. (2) I logged in using my Twitter account. That’s when the wheels came off. I felt utterly lost, like I was teaching my mom how to Facebook all over again. In mild panic, thinking I had maxed my tech talent, I debated who I could call for help knowing I’d have to admit I was far from understanding this “super simple, app of the year”. Instead of facing the humiliation I took to Google: “Periscope 101 for dummies” I typed. Scott Kelby came to my rescue and after a 10 minute tutorial I was back in the game.

Seven things they need to fix in Periscope

With great relief I eagerly embarked on adding my fellow Tweeters to my Periscope account. That’s when I came up short again. It turns out Africa hasn’t figured much of Periscope out yet either so not many of my local friends and favourite properties had an account, so I ended up spending most of my night watching reams of second-hand footage of some important soccer match in Brazil in my public stream.

I was about to give up when I remembered that I absolutely adore Scotland – so why not swing by and see if there were any highlanders posting amazing footage from the Isle of Skye or from Edinburgh Castle. After watching the v-neck and groin area of several badly filmed greetings broadcast by some Irish pub crawlers, I realised I was not going to be delivering any hearts to the Highlands anytime soon. I continued my foray into this realm of amateur, irrelevant broadcasts and surfaced a few hours later.

During that time I watched a piano recital in Sefton, England. I saw how windy it was in England, I listened to an urgent press briefing in Germany that got a load of German comments – unfortunately Google translate is not built in yet but the journalist definitely had me Googling what the big news could be about. I watched a rockstar attempt karaoke in Spain and got to see Niagara Falls. In a blink I realised it was 02h30 and I’d spent way too many hours doing *ahem* research. Was this a #EpicFail? Actually no, I ended up having an entertaining evening. In fact as I turned to Clash of Clans to see if my base had fared better than my Scoping attempts it dawned on me that I had actually thoroughly enjoyed my research and that I’d be doing a bit more of it again.

Could I have enjoyed it more? Absolutely! I would have loved to be watching the northern lights or seen the view from the Isle of Skye or the sun setting in the Rockies over a Harley Davidson’s handlebars, maybe the rush of the bungee on the Zambezi or an elephant charge.

My conclusion: I think this tool is being grossly under used but I think it’s is going to become a powerful social media tool for experience based travel. I can’t wait to start scoping our customers and their customer’s broadcasts!