Live streaming isn’t new, but since the launch of Meerkat and then Periscope it has suddenly become the big talking point in social media.
I’ve had the Periscope app for about a week. It is far from perfect, and I’m sure there will be several iterations over the coming months.
Think twice before live streaming
Periscope’s simple point-and-stream interface partly explains why live streaming has suddenly taken off. However, if we are going to live stream more, we need to be a little more circumspect about when we do so. Particularly as Periscope sends an alert any time someone you follow starts a new live stream.
I was never that bothered about seeing a photo of your meal. I certainly don’t want to watch you eating it.
I haven’t broadcast anything on Periscope yet. Being able to do a thing doesn’t automatically make that thing interesting.
Then there are the ethics of when to live stream, and whether we should be watching. There are times when logic and compassion should override the individual’s desire for a dopamine rush.
The vertical vice
Periscope currently only works in portrait mode. Until recently I felt strongly that shooting vertical video was a heinous act. Our eyes are side by side and we see the world in landscape. TV and film is always widescreen, so our own videos should be too. However, I am softening my stance on this.
Most people use Periscope, Meerkat or Snapchat on a phone, held vertically in one hand. Like books, whose pages have always been laid out vertically. So I can see why these apps have been designed with portrait use in mind, and maybe there is a place for vertical video after all.
But landscape videos will surely continue to be the most versatile and the default in most cases. So Periscope must, at the very least, provide the option to broadcast in landscape. Or as John Popham suggests, maybe we will evolve to have one eye above the other.
Live streaming for work and play
Several local authorities already live stream Council meetings using other already-established streaming services. But I’ve been thinking about how we might be able to take advantage of the simplicity and immediacy of Periscope. Some of my initial ideas include streaming events at libraries and festivals and responding to emergencies. It’s worth reading Matt Murray’s thoughts on Periscope in which he lists a few ideas of his own.
I’m also wondering how bands could make use of Periscope. Perhaps Wilful Missing could do a live talk through and Q&A for our next album, or live stream the album launch gig. If we were to do that though, I think a YouTube live event would be more appropriate.
Have you got any thoughts or ideas about Periscope or other live streaming services? Let me know in the comments below, or tweet me.