Twitter Periscope Streaming App

Michael Kwan
Periscope website

Social media has quickly evolved from sharing just simple text-based status updates to robust multimedia content. Going beyond filters and photos is Periscope, a live video sharing application and social networking platform. Users can broadcast video from their phones live to friends and followers online.

Live Video Streaming With Periscope

Unlike podcasting, which involves pre-recorded content that can then be enjoyed at a later time by fans and followers, Periscope live video streaming is a live broadcast that occurs in real time. Followers can watch the live video or recent broadcasts from within the last 24 hours if the broadcaster enables it. Periscope users broadcast live video from their smartphones or tablets and the videos can be watched through the Periscope app or via Twitter.

Periscope was acquired by Twitter for $100 million and was subsequently launched in March 2015. Because of this connection, users do not need to create a new Periscope account; they can simply connect their Twitter account to get started. This adds a level of convenience to the app and platform. Following profiles on Periscope works the same way as Twitter and results in a similar feed of current live streams being broadcast by friends and other users around the world.

Periscope is available for iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad via the iTunes App Store and for Android users in the Google Play Store. It is a free download and there are no additional costs to use it aside from wireless data consumption on your mobile device.

Periscope Pros

  • Twitter integration makes it easy for existing Twitter users to join
  • Choose between public or private broadcasts
  • Broadcasts can be replayed for up to 24 hours
  • "Hearts" are similar to "likes" or "favorites"
  • Free to broadcast and to watch
  • Easy to use

Periscope Limitations

  • Periscope video broadcasts are automatically deleted after 24 hours
  • Requires a Twitter account to use
  • Wireless data usage can be very substantial
  • Needs a relatively fast Internet connection

How to Use Periscope

After signing in with your Twitter account, you will be ready to broadcast on Periscope and to watch other users' live video streams. Before you do, look under the People section of the app to find more users to follow and to see who is following you. Settings can be adjusted here too, like whether or not you would like broadcasts to be saved automatically.

How to Start Broadcasting

  1. Open the Periscope app on your smartphone or tablet.
  2. Tap the camera button near the bottom of the screen.
  3. Grant permissions to the Periscope app for camera, microphone and location if prompted.
  4. Enter the title for your live stream.
  5. Choose whether or not to include the location of your broadcast.
  6. Choose whether the video stream will be public or restricted to only the users you allow.
  7. Toggle whether or not you would like to send a tweet indicating you have started streaming on Periscope.
  8. Begin broadcasting by tapping the Start Broadcast button.
  9. Double-tap the screen to toggle between the front camera and back camera on your smartphone.
  10. End the stream by swiping downward and tapping the End Stream button.

How to Watch Live Videos

  1. Open the Periscope app.
  2. Scroll through the list of current live broadcasts in your feed. Note that live broadcasts are designated with "Live" in the top-left corner, while previously recorded broadcasts do not have this designation.
  3. Tap on any stream to watch it.
  4. If desired, ask questions or post comments to the stream via the text field at the bottom of the broadcast screen.
  5. If you want, send a heart to the broadcaster by tapping on the screen. Hearts are akin to "likes" on Facebook or "favorites" on Twitter, except you can give multiple hearts by tapping on the screen multiple times.
  6. Exit the live stream by swiping downward on the screen or tapping the X icon in the top-right corner.

Copyright Infringement Concerns

Just as other live video streaming services like Ustream and Justin.tv have faced controversy regarding users streaming copyrighted content through their channels, Periscope has also been used by its users to broadcast live events and other content without the permission of copyright owners. The boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquaio was one of the most publicized, bringing this issue to the forefront.

While the Periscope team is adamantly against piracy, the problem persists and is difficult to monitor. Users who live stream copyrighted events may face fines of up to $150,000, plus potential jail time for each incident.

A Popular Social Media Platform

Periscope continues to grow in popularity with one million users registered in its first ten days. If it is not available on your phone platform, you can enjoy similar live video streaming capabilities with rival independent application Meerkat.

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Twitter Periscope Streaming App