One minute, I’m sitting on the pier in Chicago, watching the sun set over Lake Michigan. Two minutes later, I’m walking to the bus stop in Hong Kong. Then I’m sailing on the Hudson River, passing the Statue of Liberty and looking back at that gorgeous Manhattan skyline. Next thing I know, I’m in Italy, strolling through the streets and listening to live music.
All the while, I’m sitting on my couch here in Buffalo, New York. It’s not magic or sorcery; I’m not a time traveler, or a “Jumper.” I’ve simply got a device in my hands and a lovely little app called Periscope, that can take me all over the globe without even getting up off my perch.
Periscope is a recently-new app that has really exploded over the past month or so onto the social media and technology scene. It’s free, but only available for Apple devices at this point (find it at the App store here). While I don’t have an iPhone, I do have a handy dandy iPod Touch that allows me to use Periscope.
Now, I consider myself a fairly technology-hip person. I may not be the first person to jump on new apps and tech all the time – after all, not everything is a gem – but I’m certainly willing to give it a good shot. After seeing lots of my Twitter follows talk about Periscope and share their own experiences, I finally decided to download it and see what the fuss was all about.
Within moments, I was in Chinatown in Toronto; I was walking through the halls of the Nashville Predators’ arena prior to the team’s playoff game. I was watching some teenage boy sing, halfway around the globe. And all it took was a quick download of this app and signing up to reach these people and these experiences.
It took me a couple days to try my own hand at Periscope, and even today, I really haven’t done it that often. I Periscoped a video of my youngest nephew at dinner; I went to an international sledge hockey tournament and Periscoped some of that. The interaction was decent – especially once I got it to properly hook up with Twitter for maximum exposure. I enjoy being able to share little snippets of my life with others, and be able to see these flashes of lives being lived around the globe.
I do find there are some things I wish Periscope would do differently. For instance, you can view a global list of some people who are broadcasting at any given time, which is great. But what about a way to view only certain regions? What if I’d like to see Periscopes around NYC, or Paris, or Vancouver? If they introduced a way to narrow this down, that would be pretty awesome.
Of course, I also wish they had an app for Android, though I can only assume that’s something that will likely come with time. There have been times or places I’ve thought of Periscoping, but I can only do that on my iPod if I’ve got a stable wi-fi connection. (Then again, the camera on my Android phone is not the highest-quality, so I’m not sure how much I would use Periscope even if it was available there.)
I do enjoy the option of saving your Periscopes, and of connecting with friends from other social networks. Those are always neat. But I also don’t like how Periscope only shows you a short list of global broadcasters at any given time. I know there have to be more than just 50 people broadcasting globally right now. I also don’t like how it seems to show me the same people quite often, even though I’ve got no connection to them and have not expressed any interest in them. Allow me to refresh the global list and get a whole new set of options, please.