This past week I downloaded Periscope to try it out for myself. We have seen some of the uses of it in our class (e.g. BC giving virtual tours), but I wanted to see how it might work for an individual like myself. I didn’t really know how it worked or what to expect, but since this is a class on social media, why not give it a whirl?
I logged on to the friendly interface, enabled my location, camera, and microphone, titled the stream “Live from the mods” and initialized it. All I was doing was sitting in a chair talking to no one about nothing interesting, but 17 people viewed the stream live. Some people made random comments, some gave me hearts, but I had no idea who any of these people were and why they were watching. Ultimately it tapered off, and after about the first 30 seconds only one or two people were still watching live. This was because all I was doing was walking around where I lived and filming my roommates, which isn’t terribly interesting. I drew the ire of my roommates who asked questions such as “Why are you doing this?”, and “What is Periscope?”, and culminating in a furious “Get the camera off of me, Jak!”
I decided to try it again the next day at about 9:45 PM and titled this one “Lead up to Thrones episode 2” (Don’t worry, there are no spoilers in this post). I again introduced my roommates to the world (read: random viewers), and actually got some responses from the people watching. Since there was more of a point to this stream, which was watching the Red Sox game until we could watch Game of Thrones, I think I got more viewers this time around. I asked my roommates and viewers what they thought about the first episode of Game of Thrones and got responses from the people in front of me as well as the Periscope users. This stream ultimately had about 40 live viewers by the end. My dreams of being a celebrity by way of streaming on Periscope did not come to fruition as quickly as I had hoped, and I was left with a feeling of being crushed.
In all seriousness; however, I don’t really expect myself to use Periscope to stream anymore because I’m aware that my life isn’t terribly interesting in terms of being used for live streaming. I’m glad I gave it a chance even though my roommates hated me for using it. One of the questions it raised to me was why were my roommates so anti-Periscope whereas filming each other for Snapchat is widely accepted? I’ve never seen my roommates yell at me for Snapchatting something and posting it to My Story. I assume there is something here about the “friend” aspect as opposed to random viewer from anywhere in the world, but that’s possible on Snapchat as well. Could it also be that it is live and immediately streamed as opposed to live and later posted with edits? This seems like there could be some psychological effects going on here and I don’t know enough about how it could affect our actions.
I liked this mini-experiment also because it gave me insights into how companies or celebrities might try to utilize Periscope. Just as we see BC giving virtual campus tours, companies or celebrities can stream in a similar way. While they might not be giving a tour of their office (unless it’s Google’s campus), they might be able to show parts of their business off such as a demo of a new piece of technology that they are implementing. Also, hearing from my friends and I is not something that people will tune into, but a Q&A with a C-Suite executive would probably attract many people. We see an example of this video usage in the newest season of House of Cards, so maybe we’ll see a similar usage as we get closer to November’s presidential election. This can also give rise to a new wave of digital influencers to advertise products. Periscope also has to compete with Facebook Live; however, and that will be a difficult challenge for them. Companies might best leverage these social media tools by using both instead of one or the other so that they might reach a larger audience, but ultimately as we head into the future we should expect to see these forms of social media pervade our lives and networks.