(Pocket-lint) - Everybody was talking about Meerkat just a couple of weeks ago, but then Twitter intervened, and now another live-streaming app is all the rage. It's called Periscope. Twitter owns it, and it has the capability to transform the way you can consume news.
Although Meerkat started this whole ephemeral-like broadcasting revolution, it currently doesn't have the resources nor the might of Twitter's marketing team behind it. That means Meerkat is in danger of extinction, especially now that people are beginning to realise Periscope's full potential. They're using it to, for instance, share live footage of dramatic explosions.
Confused now? Let us explain....
What is Periscope?
Simple: an app that lets you create and share live video broadcasts.
You can also watch other users' live video broadcasts and interact with them in real-time through messaging or sending love/hearts (more on that later). Each broadcast not only shares a live video feed, but also synced audio and a user's location details (if enabled).
You can follow other users and get in-app notifications when they start a new broadcast. You might also see tweeted broadcast links from your followers on Twitter. The idea is that you'll use Periscope to create live video broadcasts and engage with and watch other broadcasts.
How does Periscope work?
- Download and open the Periscope app. (It's a free iOS app; Android coming soon.)
- If it's your first time using Periscope, you'll have to sign in with your Twitter login credentials.
- Periscope will invite you to follow featured users and people you may also follow on Twitter.
- You can then enable notifications so you won't miss broadcasts from people you follow.
- From there, Periscope will load to its main screen with a menu bar at the bottom.
- Tap the second tab on the menu bar to enable camera, microphone, and your location.
- That's it. Now read on to learn about Periscope's interface.
- Periscope's interface focuses on a menu bar (at the bottom of the app) with three tabs.
- The first tab (Watch) has featured broadcasts and recent ones from people you follow.
- The second tab (Broadcast) allows you to start broadcasting live.
- The third tab (People) lets you search and discover people to follow on Periscope.
- Under People, you can also tap in the top-right corner to access your Periscope profile.
- Your profile lets you add a description about yourself, access Settings, view followers, etc.
- That's it. Now read on to learn about how to broadcast with Periscope.
- Tap the middle Broadcast tab on the menu bar to start broadcasting.
- You'll first have a chance to describe what you're about to broadcast.
- You can also turn off your location, make the broadcast private, and post to Twitter.
- Once you've configured your broadcast options, tap Start Broadcast to actually broadcast.
- Your broadcast will then begin, and your screen will display whatever you're broadcasting.
- Tap the camera icon in the top corner or double tap on the screen to flip your camera.
- Tap the person icon in the bottom corner to access chat and interact with live viewers.
- Swipe down and tap Stop Broadcast to stop the broadcast.
- You'll then be able to instant replay, delete the replay, or save it to your camera roll.
- Periscope will also show you how many people watched, time watched, retention, etc.
- If you'd like to autosave all your broadcasts to your camera roll, you can do so in Settings.
- That's it. Now read on to learn about how to interact with users during broadcasts.
- Click on any live video broadcast.
- Tap the Say Something box at the bottom to enter and send a message.
- Double tap the screen to send love/hearts (a heart will also appear next to your avatar).
- Tap the person icon in the bottom corner to exit chat and see the broadcaster's location.
- Tap the person icon to also share the broadcast, see who is viewing, add broadcaster, etc.
- While under the person section, tap the chat icon to get back to chat/broadcast screens.
- That's it. You're now a Periscope professional
Why is everyone talking about Periscope right now?
A number of reasons.
Periscope initially gained a lot of attention because Twitter quickly bought it up in March - shortly before a similar service, called Meerkat, exploded onto the scene and became popular almost overnight. Meerkat leveraged Twitter's distribution and communication systems to connect users together via real-time live streaming, but that didn't make Twitter very happy.
The same day that Twitter announced the acquisition of Periscope, it also disconnected Meerkat's ability to pull information about a user’s follower base. That meant users signed into Meerkat were no longer able to automatically link their Twitter followers to their Meerkat account, a devastating blow for the young app. Twitter also did this right before SXSW kicked off.
Meerkat's CEO was hoping to use the annual festival as a spring board to fully launch Meerkat and get wide-spread attention. Twitter knows SXSW could've done that. It didn't start becoming powerful - after all- until it made a smashing debut at SXSW in 2007. That said, Meerkat still showed up at SXSW and expressed appreciation for Twitter.
News outlets around the globe have proclaimed that an explosion in New York City is giving Periscope an opportunity to show off its potential. Pomme Frites, a popular restaurant in the East Village that served poutine, various dips, and french fries, mysteriously burst into flames on 26 March, and within seconds, feeds started popping up on Periscope with first-person views of the scene.
Periscope, in other words, is like Twitter on steroids. Twitter is known for providing real-time access to information about breaking events. People on the ground can post tweets, photos, and videos of whatever they're seeing, allowing the world to experience the same situation remotely but still live. There's yet to be anything else that can do what Twitter does, that is...until apps like Periscope and Meerkat came along.
With live-broadcasting apps, you can watch drama unfold and ask people on the ground direct questions. Video feeds and information will flood your mobile device at a pace that makes already-fledging cable news networks and newspapers look archaic. It's beautiful, to be frank.
Centuries ago only the rich could read and have access to news, information, and just knowledge in general, but technology has helped to abolish classism in many parts of the world, bringing enlightenment to us all (or most of us anyway).