What Is Periscope, Exactly?


Twitter never ceases to amaze me — I’m a serious fangirl. Some people have even gone so far as to call me obsessive. So when Twitter released the new video social app, Periscope, I immediately had to find out more. Yet, once I read about the app I was kind of like, “I don’t get it.” And then I totally ignored the app thereafter (how dare I!).

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if Persicope would be a “here to stay” network or if it would #failwhale like the others (remember, Ello?). It seemed to me that most early adopters who were willing to give the video app a shot were people in my industry and not real, non-marketing people. While following people in my industry was not necessarily unappealing, it was not appealing enough to keep me using it on the daily. I wanted to see all the weird stuff other people were doing!

A few months later, I gave Periscope a second chance after I saw my tweeps were tweeting about what they were watching on it. I was in full-tilt #fomo.

Once downloaded, I browsed around on all the different tabs, followed some suggested people and then BAM — I was hooked. So much so that I recently added Periscope into my daily ‘social check’ and I haven’t looked back. My life pre-Periscope is long forgotten.

Since becoming Periscope hooked, I’ve noticed that few people in Edmonton are broadcasting. Some are just lurkers who only view instead of creating content, which is cool, I love glimpsing into other people’s lives, too. That’s what’s so fantastic about the app: it’s a great medium for those who like to entertain and those who want to be entertained.

But lately I’ve noticed a booming trend in people becoming more and more curious about what Periscope is, exactly.

The best way to find out how Periscope works is to download the app and play around with it yourself. However, if you don’t want to do that, allow me to explain what you can do and see on Periscope.

The Periscope 411

Periscope is a new-ish live video streaming application (I can’t say the “newest” because of Blab, but that’s a whole other post). Many people have compared it to Skype or Google Hangout, which is fair, but it’s so much more. Like Skype, Periscope allows people to write questions in real-time and send you heart emoticons when they like what you’re doing, what you’re saying, or when they just like you in general.

periscope radio broadcast

Watching Broadcasts

What I find the most interesting is the Periscope map. You can see how many people are live broadcasting and where they’re located around the world. It’s fun dipping in and out of people’s broadcasts just to see what’s up in their part of the world. You can watch world news happening in real-time and sit in on Q&As with people in your industry (assuming they use Periscope).


Recording Live

You can create your own broadcast on the fly. For example, Top Draw’s link-builder, Melanie, did a Periscope of her shopping and the video garnered over 100 viewers. And a friend of mine Periscoped herself ordering Subway which garnered over 250 views. If you have a Twitter account, Periscope will send notifications to your Twitter followers to join in as soon as you start recording. Once a live broadcast ends, users can replay it for the next 24 hours before it disappears, but not into the abyss – a copy of your broadcast is automatically saved to your phone.

periscope heart

For Businesses

Let’s get down to answering the question I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “But Beverley, how can I use Periscope for my business?”

A lot of companies and brands are jumping on Periscope for the intimate one-on-one experience if offers their fans. Audiences are more receptive to information shared on Periscope because they are choosing to tune in, unlike a feed that can be quickly scrolled and ignored. The fact that Periscope is live also helps create an urgency in viewership — if fans don’t tune in they will likely miss out (#fomo).

I’ve come up with some Periscope how-to’s just for you (thank me later):

  • Engage with clients and prospective clients – humanize your brand
  • Live Q&A sessions – flaunt your skills, schedule them or have them as impromptu broadcasts
  • Inside scoop on news or offers – show appreciation by having exclusives for your Periscope followers
  • Provide customer service – one on one customer service is always a great opportunity
  • Behind the scenes of your business – people love getting a behind the scenes peek at companies they like, this will help humanize your brand as well, put a face to each department
  • Product demonstrations – show your customers how something works, give them an exclusive look at upcoming products or features


What are your thoughts, are you motivated to check out Periscope now? Will you add “Let’s Periscope it!” or “We should Periscope this!” to your daily vocabulary? Hit us up on Twitter and let us know! If you want to chat social media marketing more, holla!

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