What is Periscope?

Check out our tips for live streaming using the Periscope app...
What is Periscope?

The live streaming app Periscope (free on iOS or Android) is great fun. If you haven’t dared try it out yet, there’s no need to be camera-shy - we’re here to help.

Here’s everything you need to know about using Periscope, with a few hints and tips thrown in for good measure.

What exactly is Periscope?

If you’re not sure about what Periscope is, we’d describe it as being a bit like Instagram… but instead of posting pictures, you get to stream live videos from your phone. It’s much more interactive than Instagram, because viewers can comment on videos while they’re being broadcast.

What can I use Periscope for?

Periscope is a great place for people to share their creativity, so it’s especially popular with artists and musicians.

Or you can just talk about something you’re passionate about. If you know your subject inside out, you’ll be able to respond to comments and chat with your viewers more easily.

The only real limit is your imagination. You can broadcast anything and everything with Periscope. You might even have seen this famous live stream of a puddle in the news last month:

How do I set up a Periscope broadcast?

Before you shout ‘action!’ and hit the broadcast button, we suggest you take a few moments to get everything set up properly.

Your settings
You don’t want to be interrupted by incoming telephone calls mid-broadcast, so set your phone to airplane mode or ‘do not disturb’. Also, live streaming hits your mobile data hard, so use Wi-Fi if possible.

Your equipment
Do a camera check. Is it positioned correctly? If you’re being filmed, then you’ll also be reading comments during the broadcast - so put your phone close enough to read the text.

Your title
Your potential viewers are going to be scrolling through lots of titles in search of something interesting to view. So come up with something that’ll draw them in.

Your audience
You can choose who you want to stream your broadcast to. If you make it ‘public’, it’ll show up in the global Periscope search section. Go ‘private’, and you can select your audience from your loyal followers.

You can also choose to share your Periscope broadcasts on Twitter, by tapping the bird icon before you start broadcasting. Then when you go live, a link will be Tweeted and your followers can view your broadcast on the web or in the app.

Your image
Your broadcast title will have a thumbnail image attached to it, giving potential viewers an idea of what to expect if they tune in. This image is always the very first thing your camera captures, so make sure it's pointing at something interesting when you start broadcasting.


It’s good to talk
As soon as you hit the broadcast button, start talking. Don’t fall into the trap of staring at the screen waiting for viewers to arrive.

Yes, it can feel a bit odd talking when you haven’t got a single viewer (which isn’t unusual for beginners), but think about the people that might check out your ‘scope when it’s available on 24 hour replay. If they tune in to the sight of you doing nothing, they might leave before the action starts.

Make it a conversation
The best bit about Periscope is that your viewers can comment on your broadcast in real-time, and you can respond to them immediately.

You can ask your viewers questions too. If you can make your broadcast feel like a genuine two-way conversation, you’ve got it nailed.

Be safe. Be legal
One final important tip - If you’re going to use Periscope when you're out and about, think ‘safety first’ and be aware of your surroundings.

Avoid doing anything like Whitney Marie Beall from Florida, who live streamed her drunk-driving journey before being promptly arrested.

Be more like Roger Federer. He took time out of his busy schedule to live stream a walkthrough at Wimbledon last summer, bless him.

And that’s all there is to it. If we’ve inspired you to get ‘scoping, comment below and let us know how you get on.

The Lowdown will be doing a spot of Periscoping ourselves. At the world's biggest tech show, MWC in Barcelona, we’ll be broadcasting all the big news as it happens. Here are the details (with UK times):

  • 21 February 2:30pm - Live news from LG
  • 21 February 7:30pm - Live news from Samsung
  • 22 February 8:30am - Live news from Sony
  • 22 February 1pm - Live from MWC
  • 22 February 5pm - Live from MWC
  • 23 February 1pm - Live from MWC

You'll be able to view all our live broadcasts here on The Lowdown or via our Twitter page. See you then!

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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