Periscope: Broadcasting In Your Hands
One of the newest social media apps that has been picking up speed is Periscope. This app, which was launched in early 2015, allows a user to broadcast the way they look at the world to a large number of followers around the world. Periscope has seen almost immediate success, with over 10 million accounts registered within the first four months of operation. Periscope has been very viable and revolutionary in terms of capturing an event as it happens. In fact, the main inspiration for the app was breaking news. One of Periscope's co-founders, Kayvon Beykpour, was in Istanbul when protests broke out in Taksim Square in 2013. The lack of visual coverage on Twitter was what inspired him and his partner, Joe Bernstein, to create Periscope. Ironically, it was Twitter who acquired Periscope shortly before its launch.
Although live streaming is a technology that has been around for a while, Periscope makes the technology simple and more interactive. The interface is relatively simple to use. With a click of a button, you are well on your way to broadcasting to users who have subscribed to your channel (similar to Facebook friends and Twitter followers). In addition to the broadcasting, those watching can interact with you with texts and hearts (or likes) that you can see while you are broadcasting. It is a great app for those broadcasting events, such as parties, protests, etc. Another thing I appreciate about Periscope is that it has a strong copyright infringement policy for those who abuse the app to broadcast events that are copyrighted, including Pay-Per-View events and concerts. In light of several instances (including illegal broadcasting of the HBO series Game of Thrones, the Mayweather-Pacquiao boxing match and other paid entertainment events), Periscope currently implements a strict policy in which it would suspend or ban any account accused of copyright infrigement.
Going back to what the app is originally intended for, "Periscoping" has the potential to become a very useful app for journalists. In an era where everything can be shared on social media in record time, Periscope can provide users with visual background of breaking news that Beykpour was missing with the protests in Istanbul. Hopefully there will be the opportunity for news outlets to push through live broadcasts of breaking news to all of Periscope's users, not just those subscribed to its channel. Since Periscope has a strong push notification system, it would be easy to accomplish. I would not be surprised if that would be the primary source for a lot of international news within the next 10 years, which would bring more exposure to news that are virtually ignored in American media.