Sunday, October 11, 2015

Introduction to Periscope

Periscope is a live video streaming app available for iOS and Android.
It was developed by Kayvon Beykour and Joe Bernstein in 2014 and launched officially in March 2015. Beykour was inspired while traveling through Istanbul in 2013 when protests took place in Taksim Square. Although being able to receive important information via Twitter, Beykour was unable to access live visual information and hence, developed the idea of a social broadcasting app providing real time videos.

“To me, the important thing about Periscope is that it’s a visual pulse of what’s happening right now, all over the world“ - Beykour

The main idea of periscope is to offer a new way of communication using the idea of teleportation. With the help of live video streaming Periscope users are able to broadcast real time videos allowing other user to participate by watching, liking and commenting on the video. Thus Periscope creates an interaction between the users.  Subsequently, Periscope allows the audience to look through another person’s eyes, his camera lense to be exact, and hence, be part of what the other person is currently experiencing. Periscope gives the option for posted videos to be open to the public or restricted to a certain amount of members. Posted Videos will be available for 24 hours until they are deleted by the app provider. Videos can be also watched through a Web Browser on a computer, laptop etc.
Users have the possibility to follow other particular users and will be notified if the person they're following starts broadcasting. Furthermore they are also able to browse through different channel. Periscope also launched a map where Users can see if people in other parts of the world are broadcasting and join them.

In order to use the app, Periscope requires a smartphone and a twitter account which it will automatically link the videos to its users. As soon as a live stream starts, Periscope provides its users the option to send out a live tweet with a link connecting to the video.
A downside of the app represents the copyright issues that can occur when capturing and broadcasting from events such as concerts or sports games.

Before its launch Periscope has been acquired by Twitter with microblogging service paying $86,6 mio. for the app. The acquisition represents Twitters reaction to Meerkat another live streaming app that has used Twitters API. As of August 25th Periscope has recorded 10 million Periscope accounts and 40 years of time watched through the app. But Periscope has disappeared from the itunes top 100 most downloaded apps so it is questionable how long the hype will last.

But what's the hype all about?

Real time videos are considered to be authentic since post-manipulation  is not possible. In addition, Periscope is regarded by many as a game changer in journalism. Photos are powerful, but real time videos have an even stronger impact on the audience. For example, German journalist Paul Ronzheimer accompanied refugees on their way from Greece to Germany using Periscope to demonstrate the long and arduous journey.

Periscope in Politics

Political representatives and institutions have also started using Periscope. Using the app gives them the advantage to determine themselves what content they want to share or not. In the US for example, not only labor secretary Tom Perez has announced the jobs report using the app, but also Ohio Govenor John Kasich streaming a press conference announcing the state budget and Senators John Thune and Jerry Morgan providing information on the federal budget and net neutrality. Periscope might give the political actors a chance to convey a more authentic image and at the same time bypass the press and its gatekeeping functions. Although it offers the possibility of interaction with the audience via responding to comments a politician with many users will likely be overwhelmed with thousands of comments and request appearing during his broadcast. Thus it is simply not possible to interact in an adequate manner.

In my opinion Periscope is a nice addition to the Twitter feed and a new way of journalism but will not replace any of these but rather should be regarded as a nice extra feature.
I registered at Periscope for the presentation tomorrow:

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