October 31, 2016 Neil Vidyarthi

Why Periscope is So Engaging

I’m following a Japanese couple down the streets of Tokyo. The man has a bandaged thumb. “What’s wrong with your thumb?” I type. “Ahh, this? No, it’s no big deal, just a cut,” he answers in broken English, then hides his thumb with a sheepish smile. I just embarassed a guy in Tokyo, I think. I wish him well and jump over to a jogger along the Pacific coast, then off to Silicon Valley to a Twitter office party.

That’s Periscope, and sometimes you feel like you’re teleporting around the world. That’s by design, actually, say the creators:

IT MAY SOUND CRAZY, BUT WE WANTED TO BUILD THE CLOSEST THING TO TELEPORTATION.

 

People get it within minutes and are hooked. They come back, some to lurk, some to express themselves. The platform encourages positive, honest connections between broadcasters and viewers through ingenious platform choices. I’ll get into these key platform features in the future but for now just go try it and you’ll get it.

It’s a real treat to show Periscope to the uninitiated. You just start a live stream and give your friend the phone and strangers start asking questions. Watch your friend enjoy this strange new experience. It’s something we all kinda love to do – talk about our life. And it’s something the viewers love, too – satiating our endless curiousity about strangers.

The second hook comes after we jump over to someone else’s Periscope. It’s a strange moment when you type a question and the real-life person on the other end actually answers. A friend of mine commented that “It’s like watching a Youtube video come to life.”

I think we’re witnessing a new form of entertainment. It’s super fun to jump in and out of people’s lives. There will be memes, like the “what’s in your fridge” question whose triviality belies an interesting way to understand a person. There will be a breakthrough event where there will be a Periscope feed that millions of people are desperate to log in to. Olympics? A one of a time concert? Something in space?

In the meantime, I have a lot of confidence in the Periscope team based on the features they’ve chosen and excluded from the current iteration of the app. I’ll talk more about that in later posts. If you’re interested in this kind of stuff do follow us on Periscope and Twitter at @insightfulstory, and of course go try Periscope yourself.

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About the Author

Neil Vidyarthi Neil is the Co-founder and Content Distribution Strategist at Insightful. He believes that inspiring storytelling is crucial to a healthy business and culture. When not spending time with his family, he enjoys film, novels and Japanese culture.

Neil is the Co-founder and Content Distribution Strategist at Insightful. He believes that inspiring storytelling is crucial to a healthy business and culture. When not spending time with his family, he enjoys film, novels and Japanese culture.

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