Streaming App Has Potential

A woman in New York goes for a walk through a park. A couple goes hot air ballooning. A driver just outside of Novi is commuting out of the city. Technology is a constantly evolving world, allowing us to communicate faster and better. While most of these recent social evolutions have been text and photo based, a newer app is opening up the world of streaming video in a way that is groundbreaking.

Periscope is a new app from Twitter. It sets up a live stream from your smartphones’ video and audio to your Twitter audience or a private broadcast at the click of a button. Maybe you have heard of Skype and Ustream for video chatting, or Twitch, which is primarily for streaming video games. Periscope is similar to these services, but differs in a few ways.

The interface allows people to join your stream and allows you to talk to the broadcaster using your Twitter handle. Unlike the apps mentioned above, Periscope really makes it easy to use the camera built into your phone. A few clicks and you’re off and streaming whatever is in front of you. Joining a live stream is even easier. You will get a notification that someone you follow has a live stream and with a touch on your phone, you’re there in real time. Or use the map and see if there’s someone streaming in your area.

The app passed 10 million accounts in August, and considering they only launched in March, the adoption rate has been huge. Celebrities and TV shows have used the app to give extra access to behind the scenes content, but it has also lended a hand to citizen journalists and social movements. Periscope has been used frequently by Black Lives Matter organizers as an easy way to share live video.

There’s real potential for this app in education. In a moment, you could be sharing video with students who are taking an online class or maybe just unable to be there in person that day. You can take classes out with you into the world, where ever your phone can travel. I’ve watched artists who were painting who decided to turn on a stream so folks could see and ask questions. You can just stream video and then turn off the feed, but with the app’s ability to record and store these broadcasts, the possibilities are endless.

Recently, author David Kadavy hosted a series of classes about blogging exclusively on Periscope. Kadavy is known for his knowledge of technology and design. When asked about using Periscope, he said the app was a natural choice, even knowing he would be live. “Running a course, I could be confident that people would be eager to show up in real-time and interact.” He also notes that the app is a good home “to share things that I had thought about, but hadn't yet formalized.” Making the app easy to use and accessible allows for that kind of spontaneity. It’s not just another boring Powerpoint presentation or lecture.

This new technology has a ways to go before being implemented widely, but it has already proven it is more than just a novelty. This is a new way of communicating with one another. The tools are in our hands, we just need to use them.