I’m a bit of a sports junkie. I consume all sorts of sports media, but my favorite midday fix is listening to “The Herd” on ESPN Radio.
Like most talk-radio hosts, I disagree with most of what host Colin Cowherd says (even when he’s right), but last week I was hooked by his discussion of something somewhat unrelated to sports: the new social media app – Periscope.
Periscope is the equivalent of social media TV. You can watch live “scopes” from different parts of the world, or you can live-stream your own content. And you can share your scopes from any location (so long as you have good network connection), at any time, doing just about anything.
Followers can view your broadcast and text comments in real time, and you can read the comments as they’re sent. Quick note: It’s probably not a good idea to read those comments if you’re live-streaming while driving.
Some of the first scopes I watched included a live stream of someone’s commute through San Francisco and a live shot from the set of a morning TV talk show in Bolivia.
Followers also can let you know how much they enjoy your content with a “heart,” the equivalent of “favoriting” a tweet on Twitter.
Cowherd was just catching on to Periscope, and lamented over why it’s become the next big “must have” app in the social media world. “Who in the world watches this garbage?” he asked.
During his Scope, Cowherd complained about how uninteresting this must be for his listeners, only to be shocked a few seconds later when people started watching and commenting on the live feed from his studio.
I first heard about Periscope during the annual #SMTULSA conference in Oklahoma, but I didn’t immediately check it out (which is really out-of-character for an early adopter like me). But it was initially only available on Apple devices. I make it a point to try to cover only social media apps available on both Apple and Android platforms for fear of alienating half of my audience.
It’s now available on Android, and the user interface is a close match to the Apple version.
My First Scope
I set up my first live stream while I typed this column. Crazy, I know. Who in their right mind would be interested in watching me type this column?
Turns out, about 40 people. In the 21 minutes I had the live stream running, 42 people checked it out. One person watched for over nine minutes while I typed. The camera was fixed on my computer and not my face because, well, I thought that would be strange.
Sadly, no one commented. So I think my next scope will be a live stream of breakfast. Let’s see what the Periscope world thinks of my hot peppers and egg recipe.
Try it out. You can quickly download the app from iTunes or Google Play and connect in seconds via a Twitter account.
A version of the post appeared in the June 14, 2015 "Connected" section of The Vindicator newspaper.
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is associate professor and chair of the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA. He researches and writes about social media and technology, sports and fans.