By Toby Srebnik
Every once in a while, I stumble upon a new app that fascinates me. About two weeks ago, a friend of mine invited me to an event where my wife and I would live-tweet our experience. He mentioned he was going to broadcast the on-site auction using a new app called Periscope. I was intrigued, so I asked him what does it do? He said it essentially allows you to live-stream from events via your cellphone and receive direct interaction from people who may be watching the event.
Shortly thereafter, I learned more about Periscope. They tout themselves as the best way to share and watch live video broadcasts from your mobile phone. It is presently for iPhone only but is supposed to be coming to Android soon. The whole principle the app is based around is being fascinated by the idea of discovering the world through someone else’s eyes.
I downloaded the app but didn’t really know what I would use it for initially. Then, my wife’s friend invited us to the Surfers for Autism music concert last Friday night. A Tom Petty cover band was playing and they were so good, I wanted to share their sound with my followers. I pressed a button on the app, notified my Twitter followers that I was live, and began broadcasting their version of “Running Down a Dream” to my Periscope followers.
A chat bar opens up during the broadcast where your Periscope followers can make comments and ask questions while you’re broadcasting. Followers can double-tap the screen to send hearts to show they like what they are watching.
What made an impact with me was the follower who wrote via the chat bar that her son has autism and she appreciated me sharing it because he was enjoying the music. Since then, I’ve broadcast a couple of Giancarlo Stanton and Evan Longoria at-bats from the recent Rays-Marlins series and my own son’s at-bats from Little League, which a good friend in Alabama has enjoyed seeing. Likewise, I’ve enjoyed seeing his son’s junior high basketball games through the magic of Periscope.
Sports aside, there is a behind-the-scenes aspect to Periscope that makes me believe it will be the next big thing and will have brands exploring ways to use it. Newscasters are already using it during commercial breaks to show what they do when you see or hear commercials. In addition, they are talking directly to Periscope while B-roll of a story is airing. Interviews are being conducted where the person being interviewed answers questions from the chat module in real time verbally. Reporters are live-streaming press conferences. Families are showcasing fun outdoor activities with their kids.
As a PR agency, we will look to find ways to incorporate Periscope for our own clients’ social media activities.