So What the Heck is #Periscope?

I went to a social media conference last week. As I walked in the door, I was suddenly on Periscope, looking very startled I might add and only capable of uttering something that sounded very much like “ermblurfatnomnom”…. Fantastic!

Everyone around me was hyper excited and waving phones all over the place. It was quite unnerving!

Now, I have heard of Periscope (see explanation below for those of you who haven’t) but I must admit that, as a social media platform, it’s passed me by. I’ve looked at it, done a little bit of research and then parked it. Now, suddenly, I was surrounded by people telling me “What do you mean, you’re not using it? You must! It’s a fabulous tool!” Maybe, but then so are Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, but I don’t use those either.

According to whichever internet search tool you use, there are around 15 “popular” social networking sites out there, with Facebook at the top of the list (closely followed by LinkedIn and Twitter) and MeetMe and Classmates at the bottom. At the moment, due to the fact that it was only launched in March 2015, there are no statistics for Periscope, so it’s not even on the list. However, I remember being one of the first of my colleagues to see the value of LinkedIn back in 2004 and just look at how powerful it is now.

Like everything else in business, when it comes to social media marketing, you’ve got to pick what works best for you. For my business, I find Twitter and LinkedIn drive a tremendous amount of traffic. I’ve tried both Google+ and Facebook, but neither seemed to have any impact. However, I’m also involved with a community project that gets fantastic interaction on both Facebook and Twitter and is starting to build a decent following on Pinterest. We’re currently experimenting with Instagram too and the early signs are good.

What I’m trying to say is there’s no way on earth you can use all the available platforms effectively and still a) remain sane and b) have any significant time left in your day to get a decent amount of work done. I’m a great supporter of social media and have secured some significant pieces of business through it, but I know which platforms work for me and I’m sticking to them.

Don’t get me wrong, when something new appears, I’ll always investigate, but I won’t use it just because a social media “guru” says it’s going to be the next “big thing”. Take a look at Google+ for example. It ranks quite highly in the list of most popular sites (coming in at number 5) but I’m convinced, as I haven’t seen any significant traffic myself, that this position is inflated by the fact that almost everyone who owns an android phone and uses apps has to have a Google mail account whether they use it or not. I’m not saying Google+ doesn’t work, I’m just saying it doesn’t work FOR ME.

And that’s what you have to remember when you get bombarded with social media advice. As with everything else in business, what works for some won’t work for others and, although it might involve a little bit of trial and error getting to the right answer, it’s worth it if you know you’re then know you’re investing your valuable time on the platforms that are going to give you the biggest return.
So, back to Periscope. I can see it being used extensively by millennials and it is undoubtedly a great tool for exhibitionists and voyeurs alike. According to Periscope “What if you could see through the eyes of a protester in Ukraine? Or watch the sunrise from a hot-air balloon in Cappadocia? It may sound crazy, but we wanted to build the closest thing to teleportation.” Okay……… but I struggle to see how that’s going to add anything to my business message. A vast number of “scopes” are watched after the event, via the internet. I would argue that a podcast or live webinar is more effective and actually, more professional. You see, while you’re “scoping” there’s nothing to stop someone posting an inappropriate comment on your live feed. At least I have the opportunity to monitor my other social media feeds and delete anything I feel is offensive. Periscope does not, unfortunately, have this luxury and it goes without saying that the potential for terrorists or some other such malevolent force to hijack Periscope for propaganda purposes is “horrifying”.

Apart from anything else, I have an irrational fear of being photographed or videoed at the best of times, so to expect that pain to be self-inflicted is assuming an awful lot. I realise I may have to eat my words when, in two or three years’ time, I’m happily Periscoping along with the rest of the population, but for now, I’m politely ignoring it.
My teenage son is addicted. So are his friends.

That tells me all I need to know. For now, at least.


Marketme is a leading small business to small business news, marketing advice and product review website. Supporting business across the UK with sponsored article submissions and promotions to a community of over 50,000 on Twitter.