Our digital world seems to throw yet another ‘next big thing’ on our timelines every few weeks and is probably the main reason that I have been quite wary of the real-time video platform Periscope. I will be the first to admit that I just didn’t get it at first as I’m someone that prefers to sit in a room tapping away on a keyboard rather than being charismatic on camera, so I quietly hoped this latest digital fad would fade into obscurity.
For the uninitiated, Periscope allows its users to stream live video from their iOSor Android app and broadcast their life in real time across the world. Twitter followers will receive a notification when they begin broadcasting and your audience can engage with you directly by asking questions, commenting or even sending appreciation via heart icons.
When the broadcast is over, it can be made available to replay for 24 hours and after this time the recording is gone forever. Periscope was acquired by Twitter in Jan 2015 and launched on in March. Despite a close run-in with rival appMeerkat, within five months, the founders announced they had reached 10 million accounts and that the amount of footage watched cumulatively added up to 40 years a day.
In the beginning, it quickly became apparent that Periscope was an excellent platform to broadcast political protests not covered by mainstream state-controlled media outlets and gave the people a voice again. Meanwhile, quick thinking boxing fans who didn’t want to pay $89.95 to view the Mayweather v Pacquiao fight back in May were able to watch the countless number of streams available on Periscope.
It’s interesting to see how more and more users are becoming self-aware of how much of themselves is being left online via their digital footprint. This online savvy generation is embracing the likes of Snapchat and Periscope where they can live in the moment but equally be comforted by the fact that the content will disappear and will never be seen again.
When your favourite artist is playing a gig on the other side of the world, Periscope also enables music fans to tune into the performance and sample the atmosphere via someone else’s smartphone.
Traditional content is often edited to perfection, and even reality TV shows begin to feel scripted and fake which prompts audiences to question everything they see and hear. Digital native users are increasingly craving authenticity and real people that they can relate to or engage directly with and in real-time.
In the UK, the television channel ITV tapped into this latest trend by broadcasting backstage of the X-Factor on Periscope to engage with their audience and make them feel part of the show. In another modern twist to an old tale, many will be finding out just how scary a live online horror experience can be when they tune into Periscope’s first ever interactive live horror film on Halloween.
Despite my initial reservations, there is no doubt that Periscope is becoming a massive game changer that allows anyone to build their own community or digital tribe in a more visual real time manner that even podcasts cannot compete with.
However, the big news is that Periscope will now be bringing this live streaming experience to the latest model of #AppleTV which is released today and offers a glimpse into our future as TV finally arrives in the 21st century.
Apple’s Tim Cook famously said “We Believe the Future of TV Is Apps” but the success of Periscope suggests that it could be tuning into each other’s living rooms rather than traditional TV channel hopping.
As live television becomes more and more produced, it can also become less genuine. This is what excites us about bringing Periscope to the Apple TV — the notion that you, your friends and family, can share what’s happening in the world right now, together – Periscope
We often concentrate at how technology is responsible for disconnecting ourselves from our humanity and spend more time looking screens than each other. However, there is a strong argument that we are turning our back on a fake world of photoshopped magazine covers that promote dangerously unhealthy expectations for young women and replacing with a pure and unedited content that allows us to learn from other people by viewing the world through their eyes.
Traditional media has long contributed to the perpetuation of stereotypes through bias or political leanings and in many ways it’s fantastic to see people from all over the world breaking down these preconceptions by engaging directly with their fellow global citizens.
Sure, there is no shortage of inane and narcissistic streams, but I am comforted by the fact that technology is actually bringing people together. Regardless of location or time zone, people are using technology to communicate in real time, in a genuine, authentic and unedited way. This can only be a great thing and illustrates a change in consumers habits that businesses will need to start thinking about sooner rather than later.
Let me know your thoughts by commenting below.