Within the first 10 days of its public launch, Periscope, a live streaming mobile app reached one million users. In the world of social media, a million users – while a strong start for a new service – is still a relatively small user base compared to Twitter with 300 million users. This early-stage user adoption does signal my trend barometer towards a possible mass-market acceptance.
I even found myself logging into a Periscope event when I caught a glimpse of an iPhone push notification announcing that my favorite celebrity chef, Robert Irvine, was Now Live. Since I had the app installed on my phone, within a matter of seconds, I was watching a streaming live video of Robert teaching someone how to cook. Oh, by the way, all of this occurred on the sidewalk while I was headed to catch a train.
Savvy social media pros might say that Periscope, and it’s nearest competitor Meerkat, are not the first services to offer live streaming video. As communication professionals, we have gone through this already with Ustream.tv and even Google with its Hangouts and YouTube products that provide live streaming services.
What is different with Periscope is its integration with Twitter and the fact that it is easy and free for anyone to stream video using tools they already have, a smartphone.
From a public relations perspective, it’s a relief knowing that I do not need to cultivate and build another community from scratch like we had to do with Instagram. As long as they have the app installed on their mobile devices, my existing Twitter following will receive notifications when I’m live. So, if I’m feeling courageous enough to communicate directly with the public, Periscope provides a new medium to do so.
How Periscope could assist with media relations:
Like most PR folks, I already engage with a handful of journalists, bloggers, and social influencers on Twitter. I would then assume my “I’m Live” notifications will notify them to tune into press events such as press conferences and other not-so-planned events, if they follow back on Twitter. In fact, some politicos in Washington D.C. are already doing so.
An article in the Washington Post explains how Capitol Hill politicians are already using Periscope as a way to communicate issues and viewpoints to the press and public: Periscope is already helping politicians kill the press conference.
The final, final end of “private events” and controlling access.
Controlling access and information from to events has become impossible with social media and audio/video-enabled mobile devices. With Periscope, the challenges will continue to evolve. Anyone and everyone can now live stream your event to a public audience, regardless if you want them to or even notice they are doing so.
During a Microsoft Build conference, I caught a few Periscope users on Twitter broadcasting breakout sessions somewhat discreetly. Almost as if they were trying to hide the fact they were doing so. The adage is still true, nothing is “off the record”.
Missing component: Embed is non-existent at this point:
Periscope is an opportunity for communicators and journalists to capture and create video content, quickly. What is missing is the ability to embed your event or recorded content onto your blog or press room. Something that I would envision as a much-needed upgrade in a future release.
Smartphones have changed the way we live and work. The fact they allow pretty much anyone to walk around with a high-definition video recording device and the ability to access the internet has changed the way we create and consume media. The missing link was the ability to broadcast to a pre-established audience. Twitter and Periscope have maybe built a better mousetrap. Now it’s up to communicators to embrace and build upon this new medium.