So there’s a new social media in town and its called Periscope. I don’t know if you’ve seen or heard about it yet? Essentially, like most social media, you follow friends, acquaintances, brands, celebrities, people you are generally interested in. They then broadcast from their device whatever it is they want to show or talk about, and you can watch real time. Or alternatively, you can be the broadcaster and your followers can watch real time too.
In principle its incredible and to be fair, the first broadcast I watched blew me away, not because of the content (although it was excellent) but because as I watched, I could see the possibilities spreading out before me, it seemed innovative and exciting. So I excitedly followed everyone and every brand I could find on there that I was interested in hearing from.
First thing I noticed, was that as a viewer, it wasn’t terribly user friendly…I could see these hearts popping up all over the screen and I realised of course that it was other viewers demonstrating how they felt about what they were viewing, but I had no idea how to do it myself… I asked and it was as simple as tapping the screen, but nothing told me how to do it. You can comment as you watch which is simple. When viewing on a phone, the screen can quickly become covered in comments though, its not easy to see what’s being shown as the comments are distracting. On a tablet this is much better. You can also share broadcasts that others are making, on Twitter for example, so your followers can watch too. If you can work out/remember how on earth to do it. Its a swipe down or right and down, or something, but perhaps that’s just me showing my age.
However, its not really the user friendliness that’s bothering me. It’s the huge invasion of my day.
So I follow 44 people/companies on Periscope. Some of those accounts are quite active. When someone you follow broadcasts, your device will give a little whistle. Some days my phone is whistling a lot, I find it truly invasive. Who has the time to watch this many videos? Who has employers that would tolerate you stopping to watch videos during your working day?
Now you can turn off the notifications, and I think I’m correct in saying that if the broadcaster enables it, you can watch the videos up to 24 hours later… but I have to ask, isn’t that the opposite of the whole purpose of Periscope, to share something there and then, in the moment? You might as well stick with You Tube if you want to watch things at your own time at your leisure. The very nature of Perisocope is to share the sunrise as it happens, the latest product unboxing, or the celebs walking the red carpet, to feel like you’re there, to get the scoop, to share the moment, but as soon as you start following people in any quantity, you can be so busy sharing other people’s lives that there’s no time left to live your own.
I’m deleting the app, there’s too much social media in my life already without adding to it with an app that screams “look at me RIGHT NOW” 10 times a day, sometimes more.
I can totally see the appeal, I can see how innovative it is, how exciting can be, but no, Periscope, you’re not for me. If this is the future, it’s all going a bit Black Mirror for me, I’m out.