Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Should You (Peri)'Scope?

Periscope, Twitter's livestreaming platform, has been out since April, but it has yet to gain a foothold among mainstream social media users.

What is it?
Periscope is a mobile application (so you're out of luck if you only have a desktop or laptop computer) that allows users to broadcast live from any location using their smartphone or tablet. Their tagline is "Explore the world through someone else's eyes." The name is borrowed from the periscope used in submarines to view objects that would normally be out of sight.

Periscope's logo.

Why should I care?

Great question (also...ouch).  At the moment, Periscope is in strictly "new adopter" territory, which means that most people outside of the social media industry either haven't heard of it or aren't very familiar with it.
This also means that the people using it currently are most likely to be innovators. Will Perisocope be the Next Big Thing...or The Next Big Flop? Stay tuned.

How is Periscope different than Meerkat?

Meerkat  is also a mobile livestreaming application that burst on the scene shortly before Twitter. They actually have quite a bit in common, as betanews points out, they both have "the ability to tweet a link to a live-streaming video straight from your iPhone....(as well as) options to save the streams to your phone once you finish and both allow public chats within the videos."

What are Periscope's good points?
It's free, it is easy to get started, and businesses are touting it as a great way to get customers.

...And its bad points?
There are no captions, unless you later upload your video (or "scope) to YouTube and add captions yourself. Why does this matter? Well, for one thing, approximately 15% of American adults over 18 report some type of hearing loss . Your viewer may be located in a public place, watching your video without headphones or earbuds. Captions will help him or her view your content while not blasting it to anyone sitting near by.  Some of your viewers may speak English as a second language.  Finally, if being a good Samaritan doesn't appeal to you, there's always the bottom line--captioning (and adding transcripts) helps with search engine optimization. The unfortunate portrait orientation of the video is reminiscent of vertical video syndrome.

By being limited to mobile devices, it limits its pool of possible users. About two thirds of Americans now own smartphones...which means about a third do not.

So..should you "scope"?
Well, that depends.  If you're an entrepreneur (or just curious), and you don't already have a Meerkat account, it's definitely worth a try. Periscope is now available for both iOS and Android devices.
After you download the app, you can watch broadcasts to see what other people are doing, or start live-streaming on your own. Here's a handy guide.

Hooked on social media? Then you'll love our annual social media conference in November.
 And don't forget to join our #txsocialmedia Twitter chat every Thursday at 8 p.m. 

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