Remember the first time you went online and discovered there were other people out there? I still remember the first time I entered an IRC chat and typed “hello?” and was bombarded by a stream of responses. I had this sense of wonder, I was connecting to people in a way I had never done so before and my mind was blown.
In the years following that the internet has grown immensely, there’s so many things we do online now but very few have captured that sense of “wow” that my first IRC chat ever did. Sure there’s social networks, online gaming, streaming video, file sharing, all of which are very impressive but there’s something “missing” from all of these or rather all of these sort of built on top of what IRC was.
Periscope is not revolutionary. It “builds” on top of social networks of the past but it does something that others don’t. Ever since LiveJournal first allowed people to edit their layouts we’ve all been very good at concealing what we don’t want others to see. Instagram makes your lunch look like it belongs in a magazine, you carefully read and re-read each tweet before sending it out or curse out loud when you spot a typo after you hit send. On Facebook we all become motivational speakers or decry the “TAKING OF OUR LIBERTIES” on snapchat you’re silly or dirty for 10 seconds and then it vanishes. LinkedIn allows us to play grown up and Pinterest allows you to present yourself as an interior designer. All of those social networks have been great at connecting people to people, or rather at connecting curated versions of people to curated versions of people. When you jump into a Periscope of a girl cooking in Canada or a German man living in Taiwan taking the train to work you don’t get any of that.
Periscope allows you to jump into someone’s life at that given moment and see them and their lives for what it really is which in turns allows you to have that magical moment that IRC gave me “There’s OTHER people out there” and they’re just like me! There’s no filters, no editing, no curating nothing. Just a person in their badly lit home, on their low res front camera. It’s GREAT! Sure there’s been other streaming services before, Ustream/Livestream BUT Periscope is from your phone, and it’s so easy to set up you can just do it from your couch, or kitchen or porch. Not only that but it’s live, this allows for more engagement. I’ve broadcasted a handful of periscopes and each of them have had at least a dozen viewers who have all asked questions or made comments, to which I answer live. This is amazing, this allows the connection to feel much more real than an @ mention or a like ever did, not only that but when I answer a question other viewers ask more, which leads to me answering more and more It’s a great system which makes the viewer and broadcaster feel more engaged than any other streaming service ever did.
I can’t wait to see what people do with this thing.