Information and Resources for Solopreneurs

Everything You Need To Know About Twitter’s Periscope

Written By: Mike Allton in Social Media | March 26, 2015

Everything You Need To Know About Twitter’s Periscope

Periscope is the latest app from Twitter (iOS only for now). It’s a live video stream service that is also a social network on it’s own, like Vine or Instagram. You’ll need a Twitter account to get started, and as soon as you open the app, it will prompt you to connect with one of your Twitter accounts or create a new account. I recommend using your main Twitter account and handle, for consistency and ease of recognition.

Once you’ve done that, you can begin following other people.

As a viewer, make sure that you follow people you think you’ll actually be interested in what they have to say. Don’t follow others just to get a follow back as that will fill your stream and notifications with unwanted video. More on that in a moment.

Viewing Live Broadcasts

Periscope App

There are several ways you can begin watching a live stream. For starters, when you first open the app, the left icon along the bottom that resembles a TV is the Watch screen. There’ll be three recent and recommended broadcasts at the top, with others listed below it using thumbnails. Below those, if you’re interested, are recent broadcasts from your contacts for which you might want to watch the replay.

The other way to view, and this is a truly genius aspect of the app, is via notification. By default, any time someone you’re following starts a broadcast, you will receive a notification and be prompted to watch. This, of course, is why you’re going to want to be selective about how many people you follow. Simply tap the notification and you’ll immediately tune into their Periscope broadcast.

Watch Screen

When someone does begin a live stream and you begin watching it, there are a number of things you can do during the broadcast to interact with them.

First, you can simply tap on the video to give them a “heart” and watch it float up. You can actually do this as many times as you want, so rather than treating it like a +1 or Like, it’s more akin to the audience applause meters that broadcast stations used to use to monitor how much people liked what was being said on a program at any given moment. So if you like something the broadcaster just said or did, give ‘em a tap!

Periscope Interaction

Second, there are live stream comments. You can give the broadcaster a shout out, ask a question, or say hi to one of the other viewers. As the broadcast goes on, you can tap the lower right corner to see who else is viewing at any moment, in addition to the little pop-up notifications when someone else starts viewing.

At any time, during a broadcast, you can tap the X in the upper right corner or swipe down to stop watching.

If you’re really enjoying what a broadcaster is talking about, you can swipe up and share that broadcast with your own followers, letting them know that it’s going on right now.

Broadcasting Using Periscope

Before you start broadcasting, definitely give some thought to what you’re going to be showing and talking about. If you’re just playing around with the app, you don’t need to have a prepared script, but always remember that whatever you’re doing, it will be broadcast live. In fact, anyone following you will be immediately notified that you’re broadcasting, and may decide to tune in. So be prepared!

Start BroadcastTo start a broadcast, tap on the center icon at the bottom of your screen. You’ll first be prompted to type in a name for your broadcast. Call it something brief yet descriptive. You can choose to mark the broadcast as Private, which is a nice way to get the hang of how things work your first few times using the app, as well as use it for a personal message to just one or a few people you select.

You can also send out a tweet when you start by tapping the Tweet button.

Once you’re ready, click on Start Broadcast. But before you do, also consider whether or not you want to save it to your camera roll. Depending on the nature of the video, it may be something you can reuse later for YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Vine. Go into settings.  I recommend turning on the Autosave Broadcasts. You can find settings by tapping on People in the lower right corner, and then tapping the profile icon in the upper right, above the people search box. That will show you your Periscope Profile which includes your Following, Followers and Blocked totals, and the link to Settings.

You can double tap to change the camera perspective, and swipe down to end the broadcast.

You’ll want to pay attention to the comments as they stream up. They’ll appear at the bottom of your broadcast and float up for a few seconds, and then disappear. Unfortunately, as of now at least, there is no way to pause the comment stream or even see past comments, so if you miss one, it’s gone.

Otherwise, all the broadcaster has to do is keep talking or doing whatever it is they want to do.

Final Thoughts On Periscope

The difference here is the bandwidth of the conversation. It opens up access. You can be talking to anyone in the world and ask them questions. Yet the controls still lie with the person broadcasting. Commander Chris Hadfield

We saw earlier in March, during the SXSW Conference, how much interest and demand there is for this kind of app due to the meteoric rise of Meerkat. However, with the popularity and backing of Twitter, it’s far more likely that Periscope will gain mainstream usage.

When it comes to applications for business, the possibilities are quite impressive. First, consider all of the different videos businesses publish to YouTube and realize that most of those could be done live via Periscope. Once the broadcast is over, they can still be uploaded to Youtube or elsewhere, as we mentioned earlier.

But the live stream has that additional quality that many people find fascinating, and is particularly well-suited for events, live Q&A, product demonstrations, meetings and so on. If yours is a business that doesn’t readily adapt to those kinds of settings, consider using Periscope for personal reasons for a while, and watch how other businesses manage to communicate their brand and message in creative ways. You may get inspired.


As Periscope continues to develop and mature, we will update this article with additional information. And if you have questions or suggestions about how to use Periscope, we welcome them in the comments below.

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Mike Allton
Mike Allton is the Chief Marketing Officer for SiteSell. He has spent years helping solopreneurs achieve success online through the precepts of content marketing: write great content, share that to social, and drive new leads & sales.Mike’s focus is to reach people who have a passion for something and show them how it’s possible to turn that dream into a real online business and income.
  • Not over yet. Still missing out on biggest section of smartphone audience. Though with Twitter backing, it’s pretty obvious this one will more than likely win the war 😉 Or Google could just buy Hang With and call it a day. That works on Android and iOS.

    • Very true Andrij! This would have been an obvious play by Google, and frankly, Facebook is trying to demonstrate with native video that it’s never too late to enter a market.

      That said, I think this is a real body-bow to Meerket, and I have to assume Twitter has an Android version in dev.

      • Omar Iqbal

        Mike, how do you send a message whilst the stream is playing?

        • You need to tap and type a comment. That will appear briefly in the stream and, if the broadcaster is paying attention, they can reply to you verbally.

    • I had to borrow my daughter’s iPad to check it out. 😉

      • One of the few times being an iPhone user paid off. 🙂

        I can’t tell you how often I’ve had to watch my Android friends write about apps or developments that I can’t experience initially.

  • They didn’t lose any time delivering yet another blow to Meerkat!

    I was in the process of writing my own Periscope post when Ben Fisher shared yours. 😉 Well done!

    • Indeed, Ana. I think there’s room in the market for multiple live streaming solutions, but the timing of this release is a body blow to Meerkat. They’ll need to pivot or improve quickly I think in order to regain some momentum.

      What should have been another fun week for Meerkat with SMMW, has turned into a bit of a nightmare.

  • Question re: “If you’re really enjoying what a broadcaster is talking about, you can swipe up and share that broadcast with your own followers, letting them know that it’s going on right now.”, Mike.

    I think you might’ve happened to swipe up in the right place that made it look like all you need to do to share a broadcast is to swipe up.

    From what I see, you have to tap on the Person icon in the bottom right corner first, then swipe up to share.

    Also, if you have anything to add, I value your opinion:

    • Thanks Ana! I’ll test that. And your review was spectacular!! Well done.

      • Just discovered – you can swipe to the side to share the broadcast. I don’t know if they are experimenting with different ways… it seems like everything is constantly changing. lol

  • Periscope wins. So far. Wouldn’t it be interesting if Google bought Meerkat as a ready-made counter move to Twitter getting into the YouTube world. Hand w/ isn’t on my radar at all.

    • Hey Randy! That’d be cool, though I’d personally prefer Google spend more time enhancing Hangouts, which I know they’re already planning on doing.

      All they would have to do is enable broadcasting of live, Public HOAs from the Hangout app and they’d have their instant competitor.

      • Possibly. I’ve attempted to live stream some of our lunch n learns via hangouts with mixed results. (Using a laptop.)

  • Debbi

    I’m excited to learn about this….I wonder if we could link it with google+ and do a simulcast type of show in the future?

    • That would be interesting, for sure! HOAs allow you to broadcast simultaneously to Google+ and YouTube, and the help of 22social you can also broadcast to Facebook.

      • Debbi

        wow…I didn’t know about 22social…I must have been under a rock! lol
        thanks for the reply….

  • Great article, Mike. An app like this has so many possibilities some of which, I’m sure, have not even been imagined yet.

    • Thanks Michael! And great question. It’s a topic that’s still being discussed and explored. But there’s no doubt, streaming video over your cellular network is going to use significant bandwidth.

    • Rob K Music

      I broadcast one of my shows last night over cellular (AT&T) for about 2 hours (45 mins, 45 mins, 30 mins) and checking under iPhone -> Settings -> Cellular -> Periscope I racked up almost 1GB for data usage (918MB) with the app. I used it briefly beforehand (maybe 15 minutes total) so personally I’m going with about 5MB/min as a ballpark figure. We’ll see how it plays out!

      • That tracks with some of the other reports and analysis I’ve seen, Rob.

  • Mike: What is the biggest difference between Periscope and Meerkat? Have you used Bambuser?

    • Hi Martin! Thanks for stopping by. I’m afraid so far I’ve only used Periscope. It happened to be released at a point where I had some bandwidth to check it out, and was excited enough to try it.

      But there’s certainly been a lot of debate and discussion on the alternatives, including Hang With and others.

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