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How To Love Periscope 101

If you haven't downloaded the free livestreaming app Periscope, now's the time! Here it is on Google Play and iTunes.

This is the place where you'll get:

  • A lecture (in English!) on digital strategy from a university in Denmark

  • A tour of the Coliseum, where your tourguide greets you and answers your questions while you're still in bed

  • The state of a bulldog in England from his owners

  • Greetings from people in Hawaii just getting off work

  • Musicians in New Zealand jamming

That's some pretty fun diversity.

Best things about Periscope?

A sense of place. I do feel a need to say Periscope is "where" and not "what" you'll get X, Y, or Z; my favorite Periscope content is, directly or indirectly, communicating so much about place as much as content. It might be in the scoper's accent or language, the background imagery, or as simple as where you found them on the globe. But all the best scopes I've seen communicate a sense of place.

And because it's a mobile app, I see more movement-- as in, physical movement-- walking around from room to room and outside, or skateboarding down hills, or wandering around ruins -- than I see on YouTube. (I'm hoping all those people have wifi or some unlimited data plans.)

Learning! Maybe people are taking a page from how popular tutorials are on YouTube, but I've noticed that a common use of Periscope is the good old how to.

From Katie Lance with her regular scopes on the fundamentals of social media for professionals to language tutorials (my favorite so far is an Italian language scoper with a word a day kind of account).

Making friends. Or at least, dropping in on conversations and saying hello to people halfway around the world who like to say hi back.

Aaaand...the 'meh' parts. With a lot of signal, there's also a ton of noise--people scoping about their freshly broken hearts and trolling around for people to flirt with, people too drunk to coherently scope, scopes where the camera is accidentally pointing at the corner or otherwise not catching the action. You get the point. There are many ways to scope badly. (I'll do another post on that.)

So, how do you get the most out of Periscope?

- Start by following a few favorites from Twitter. You'll sign into Periscope with your Twitter account and you'll be able to see trending scopes, generally from celebrities and Periscope stars (yes, there are already Periscope stars).

If they're not your thing and you like to keep it more personal, keep it small. You'll always have the option to check out what's trending when you open the app.

- Tap a scope whose headline looks interesting. When you open the app, you'll be able to see if anyone you follow is live-- if they're currently scoping. If they've recently scoped, their scopes will show up as a list of recents right there.

Swipe left (or tap the globe) to see current scopes from around the world. This is really fun!

- Watch as soon as you see something that interests you-- because it'll disappear! Scopes are not, for the most part, saved forever. There are services that will retain scopes, but on Periscope itself, you'll only be able to see very recent scopes and live scopes.

So watch what you want to watch when it's live or recent, because it won't be there to see later!

- As you're watching, when you see or hear something you like, tap the screen! You'll see a heart appear. Tap as much as you'd like to show your appreciation for what's happening in the scope.

If you're watching live, you'll be able to comment. (If you're watching a highly popular scoper, you'll probably only be allowed to comment if you're one of those who tuned in at the start or early on during the scope.) If you're watching a recently-ended scope, you can still give hearts, but can't comment.

Commenting is a ton of fun because good scopers will interact with you. You comment, and the scoper will reply. It's fun to have a conversation, but you don't have to. You can just watch and, if you want, tap out some hearts.

- Be sure to swipe up and share on Twitter if you like the scope! You can do this during a live scope. With recent scopes, you can tap and share the broadcast from its post-cast page. Scopers really appreciate it.

Bottom line: Periscope, when you filter through the noise, can be a really fun way to connect with people around the world instantly, in a unique way. If you try it, come scope with me @Anita_Sarah!

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