Periscope is a new social network allowing you to live stream video from your phone, enabling you to respond to comments and questions in real time. The video is saved for replays, but is only accessible for 24 hours.
I’ve been using Periscope as a viewer and talker for a few weeks and have found it difficult to understand, and strange to talk into my phone, but now I’m hooked so wanted to share what I’ve learnt in case you are nervous about getting started.
Registering and getting started
- register using your Twitter account
- in theory you’ll be able to get the same as Twitter and this makes sense so people can easily find you. But someone else got KateDavis before me (so you may want to claim your username now even if you’re not planning on using it yet)
The screen looks like this on Android
TV – shows the available videos from the people you follow (and featured videos), the oldest are at the bottom and newest including live ones are at the top. So you may want to start looking from the bottom as they will become unavailable first
Globe – shows popular videos from people you don’t follow so you can discover new people
People – list of people you may want to follow, including the people you follow on Twitter. These are listed in user name alphabetical order, but this is not displayed. You can follow lots of people easily by pressing the + on the right hand side, or you can get more information by pressing the profile picture. From the popup you can also see who each person follows and who is following them.
Magnifying glass – allows you to search for people on keyword on the username and biography
Your details – You can access your information by clicking on the head in the corner. You can edit your name, biography and photograph by clicking on the pencil. Note you can not change your username. You can also see who is following you, who you’re following and a list of your previous broadcasts.
Settings – this has the notifications settings. At the moment I have them all turned on, but I’m not sure if I will continue with this as my phone is frequently whisting as I’m getting lots of notifications. If you want to keep a copy of your videos make sure the auto-save setting is switched on, this saves the video to your camera, but not with the comments and hearts
Watching a video
- find videos to watch from the TV or globe screen in Periscope, notifications if people you follow are sharing videos they’ve enjoyed or by searching on Twitter using “LIVE on #periscope”
- if the video is live you’ll join in at the current point, people will be notified that you’ve joined, and you’ll be able to write comments (you can start by saying Hello and where you’re based)
- if it is a replay video you’ll see the comments from the live video, but you can’t write them
- you can leave hearts (showing your appreciation) on live and replay videos
- your heart colour matches the tint to your profile picture when you comments, and changes for each video
- while a video is playing your phone won’t power down the the screen so it is battery intensive
- if I leave a replay for example to check my email, it always freezes when I return, so I have to restart it and you can’t skip back to where you were originally (unless someone knows something I don’t)
- press on a comment to access the person’s profile
- on a live video press the heads in the bottom right hand corner to access the speaker’s profile, share the broadcast and see who else is watching live
- on a replay swipe up to access the speaker’s profile and see who else has watched it
- your comments show your username not your name
Doing your broadcast
Press the broadcast button to open a new screen, on Android it is the red button in the bottom right hand corner visible in the images above.
- Can do public or private talk
- Add your title, consider using hashtags if you share it to twitter
- The buttons below the title are
- precise location – apparently this is not as precise as it was originally, but consider how much information you want to share
- restrict the people who can write comments to the people you follow
- share a link to twitter – you have to decide this before you do your broadcast and is the only way I’ve found of getting a link to a “scope”
- can change between front and back cameras by double tapping on screen, on Android you can do this before you start broadcasting, but apparently you can’t on iOS
- videos should be portrait, not landscape
- the first few seconds of your broadcast become the thumbnail for the video
- you want to start talking straight away, but it is impossible for people to join straight away, so don’t say anything critical in the first half minute or so, or if you do repeat it later
- as people may keep joining through your scope you may want to repeat the topic or key points at least once more
- if you want comments remember to stay on long enough for people to join and type a message, I’ve joined many where it has finished before I’ve finished typing
- I’ve noticed that although I’ve pressed the stop broadcasting button after I’ve finished speaking it actually cut off earlier, so you may want a delay before stopping
- if you change between the front and back camera during your broadcast the sounds appears to cut out until the new camera is working so pause your talking until an image is showing again.
Consider what you’re talking about. These are some scopes I’ve enjoyed watching, followed by a compilation of different types of videos I’ve done to give an idea of versatility of the network:
- tutorials – Superlucky Di showing how she selects winners for competitions, Mummy Barrow showing how to make omelette waffles
- unusual views – BugBirdBee view of naked cyclists in Bristols!
- presentations – I’ve seen a few and their usefulness comes down to audio, if the room noise drowns out the speaker they are difficult to follow
- sharing insights – I’m watching lots of these at the moment such as Laura Husson
Changes I’d like to see
Although I’m really enjoying using Periscope and spending lots of time watching broadcast, there are improvements I’d like to see, such as:
- search for broadcasts and just people
- send a message to the broadcaster after watching a video replays to show your appreciation
- better statistics, for example an overview of viewers instead of having to view each video individually
- skip through videos so I don’t have to watch the beginning again or to skip the welcoming messages
- indication of how long a replay video is before starting to watch
- the Android app catching up with the iOs version, for example greater options to share scopes
I’m loving Periscope and I’m finding the people I follow to be really motivating. As a consequence I’ve started reading one of my self development books and aiming to share my progress and thoughts through a daily Periscope. I would love it if you wanted to follow me (search for darktea) and join me on my self development journey. However, I’m already wondering how much time I will spend on the network in the future as I feel I’m already at capacity and can’t skim watch videos like I can skim read tweets or blogs.
I’d love to know any tips you’ve learnt or your thoughts on the platform in the comments.