Periscope: On-demand Personal Entertainment and Why We Need It

Is it just me or does it feel like there is ALWAYS another new social media app to learn? If you work in public relations, social media marketing, promotions or journalism there is ALWAYS another app to try. Always.

Digital Communication StudentsIt can be overwhelming.

My job as a Communication professor is a never-ending process of discovering, testing, using and teaching new technology. I think deeply about the technology, how to use and why we would use it.  That said, this post is about why you should try Periscope. I know. Just bear with me.

Every tool of social media serves a unique purpose. If you were a carpenter you wouldn’t use a screwdriver to put a nail in the wall.  Although it can get the job done it will take a long time to accomplish the task. If you want to get the job done quickly, you should use a hammer. The tool created for the job.

Social media tools are not any different. The challenge is to identify how to best use the tool for YOUR professional and personal use. I believe we don’t always know how or why we should use something. Consider me to be a master carpenter, I’m here to provide you with my whys of Periscope.

Periscope is live video broadcast on-demand. The on-demand element is what makes it so exciting to use.

Authentic. Gritty. Real. Feel like sharing what you are doing or are seeing? Open your Periscope app and start broadcasting (it is slightly more involved than this but more on how to use it in my next post). The on-demand element will revolutionize backpack and citizen journalism. Events can be broadcast easily without the necessary news crews we were always so dependent upon. Granted the video is gritty and jumpy. It is authentic. It is IMG_0833real and we want more it. We are tired of the gloss of Madison Avenue. Gritty, organic broadcasts are what is hot right now. Sorry Don Draper! I’m sure this will change but for now it is what people want.

Want to provide your followers a sneak peek behind the scenes? Another really cool element of Periscope is viewers can experience aspects of life they may never have the chance to experience first hand. Interested in Italian? Open up the world map in Periscope and “peek” into the life an Italian living in Rome.

Periscope Map

Where ever someone is broadcasting on the planet, you can watch. We want to watch.
Maybe you are interested in a particular celebrity. Follow him and watch as he eats dinner. While this might not be the most exciting thing to watch, it turns out boring mundane tasks draw large audiences. I think it has to do with our sense of curiosity about other human beings. I like to think of it as the “train wreck” phenomena. We don’t want to look but we can’t help it. People will watch you eat your dinner. Personally, I don’t want people watching me eat my dinner but don’t miss the point. Periscope content doesn’t have to be exciting to draw an audience. It just has to be interactive. This brings me to my next point and the reason I think Periscope will become part of the fabric of our culture quickly.

Periscope allows the broadcaster to interact with the audience. To me, this is REALLY where Periscope offers something unique to the broadcast experience. It is exciting for fans to interact with the talent. We feel like we are a part of the action, part of the content. Our comments can effect a change in the direction of the broadcast. What I have to say, as an audience member, is important. At least it feels that way. And, we want to feel important. We need to feel important. Right?

Recent research reveals people feel more lonely now than ever before in human history. Even though we are more connected with technology, we feel lonelier. Periscope fills a basic human need of belonging and connecting with other human beings. Although the Periscope connection is superficial it definitely offers something many people want and need. It provides a sense of connection and community.

 I think Periscope will become increasingly popular because most people are lonely. It provides us the ability to connect and belong. On demand.

Periscope is the ability to tune in or broadcast to people across the planet. At will. On demand. It is the appearance of connection without any of the real demands of friendship.  In the end, this is why I think Periscope will continue to provide us with content. Lots and lots of content. Periscope broadcasts provide real interaction. A feeling that I am part of something larger than my everyday life. It is also fun. Entertaining. Interesting.

Well…what are you waiting for? Try it out. You just might learn something new.

If you want to follow me on Periscope, here’s my page

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Dr. Gina Marcello is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication, Graphic Design & Multimedia at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, NJ.