Twitter’s fairly new live-streaming platform, Periscope, is creating quite a buzz on the web, and when it comes to citizen journalists, non-profit organizations, and big brands alike, this app is showing potential as an extremely powerful tool for reaching an audience. Even Hillary Clinton has taken notice and is using Periscope by live-streaming rallies in an effort to stay relevant on social media. So what do you need to know about Periscope to take advantage of this new tool?
Video is becoming an increasingly popular way for people to consume information. Now that smartphones are so advanced, live-streaming your event is as easy as ever. During the kayak protest in Seattle against oil drilling in the Arctic, protesters and journalists were able to make their cause interesting to people who might not sit and read an article about Shell’s Polar Pioneer drilling rig. There is something incredibly exciting about witnessing what is going on in real-time, especially from the viewpoint of a kayak, if for only 24 hours, which is how long Periscope users have to view the footage. People watched the live stream on their phones, on Twitter and even some news organizations embedded the Periscope feed to enrich their story.
While live-streaming isn’t new, apps like Periscope are now putting the power in the people’s hands and making it available to all–or at least anyone with a smart phone and enough bandwidth to cover the data. The Guardian’s Paul Lewis took advantage of this while reporting about the Baltimore riots. He was able to show exactly what was going down, as it happened, unedited and raw. Talk about a game-changer. Not only was the video exciting and emotional, it was able to, in the words of Cynthia, a woman he interviewed who runs a homeless shelter, “Just let the truth out”. How powerful is that?
While one does need to consider possible challenges like privacy, the afore-mentioned bandwidth issue, and lack of control (what happens when people live-stream your event), if you want to build your network, Periscope could become an effective way to do it.
Feeling inspired? Traffic Generation Café has written a comprehensive guide to getting started with Periscope, from downloading the app to how to share with followers.
Have you used Periscope? Tell us how it’s working for you!
— Alexandra Gunnoe, Program Specialist