That was a question put to me at the start of May, as I chose to Periscope Oxford’s May Morning event, instead of broadcast it on Facebook Live, Instagram or Snapchat. But what is the best method of live video streaming?
And of course, does Periscope still exist? Well, yes, it does. But judging from Alex Pettit’s tweet, it looks like it’s set for a neglected future.
— Alex Pettitt (@Alexpettitt) May 1, 2017
He’s right though. It does say a lot about the platforms future. What is Periscope these days? It’s a platform for User Generated Content (UGC); although if you have a flick through the map of the world on Periscope, most of this UGC isn’t great. In fact, taking the UK as a case study, most of the Periscope’s I’ve dipped into this afternoon have just been youths smoking, or adults not getting up to much. And it’s pretty much a similar picture when you look at other scopes from around the world.
You really do need to know who to watch when it comes to really rich, UGC on the platform, and although Periscope’s Featured section works well for this, I feel there could be so much more we’re missing out on. But looking at the amount of social networks offering similar platforms, it’s not surprising Periscope is dwindling, especially when it’s up against big names like Facebook and Instagram.
So why did I favour Periscope over Facebook, or Instagram? One reason – I wanted to share the atmosphere of May Morning in Oxford to the rest of the world, and I’m holding off doing a Facebook Live on the radio station page until an event we’ve got planned in September. Periscope fitted the bill, it’s public and worldwide. And at the time of broadcast, only 36 people watched live, with 86 watching the replay. Perhaps it was because it was 06:00am when it was live, or perhaps these are the dwindling figures for broadcasters like myself, who don’t broadcast regularly anymore.
As mentioned before, Facebook & Instagram now have the capabilities to live broadcast video streams. But which one is best for you?
The key thing is to think about the audience, and what you’re filming. Where will you get the most interaction? If you’re a business or media network, which social media platform gives you the best analytics?
Many news outlets for example, I’ve noticed have moved from Periscope to Facebook. Their videos appear in your newsfeed, you’re likely to watch them, because you’re already “killing time” on the platform, and you don’t need to leave it. Similarly, the ability to do a live video just to your friends from your personal profile is a great asset to the social network site, and one of the bonuses with that is the apparent lack of trolls, or robots. I mean, they’re your friend watching, so you’d hope they wouldn’t be rude, or wouldn’t troll you.
Instagram’s version is slightly odd. That to me is a bit more of a personal way to live stream video, but again, it depends on the type of content you post on the platform. I’ve not seen many people use the live video stream on Instagram, but do throughly enjoy the Instagram stories.
The world of live streaming is so intense, so cluttered right now. Periscope was new and exciting when it launched in 2015, it was Twitter’s answer to live streaming, up against UStream, YouTube etc. The fact it appeared in your Twitter feed also made it appealing and user friendly. But with Twitter seemingly moving produced, profitable content to their own platform, Periscope really does have to step up its game to survive.
I only watch a handful of broadcasters on Periscope that actually produce professional content, or showcase professional content. I watch a couple of friends from time to time too, but I don’t use it for broadcasting as much as I used to when it started.
I think it’s heyday is up. I think other social network sites need to take heed and ensure they are always investing and ensuring their sites stay relevant. Live videos on Instagram is irrelevant, but it does have a place on Facebook.
Ultimately those who choose to broadcast will make the decision as to which platform to use, and that will be where those broadcasting feel will get the most interaction from the audience. But if you mention Periscope to the average person on the street, chances are they won’t recognise the name.