Our view of Periscope

“It may sound crazy but we wanted to build the closest thing to teleportation,” says Kayvon Beykpour, co-founder of Periscope, the live-streaming social media app that’s building momentum faster than a soviet submarine.

Heather AbelaBy Heather Abela, account manager, Media Village.

Indeed, if I had half their coding skills it would either have to be teleportation… or time travel.

Now I don’t think that we’re going to take a trip in the DeLorean any time soon but wouldn’t Facetime have saved Captain Kirk an awful lot of inefficient toing and froing from the surface of alien planets?

Periscope is Facetime for exhibitionists. The concept is to put you in the moment, ‘looking through the eyes’ of the person streaming: whether that’s joining a peace movement in North Korea or catching your grandchild’s football match in Colne.

Where it differs is that this is a ‘one way broadcast’ not a ‘two way’ conversation and anyone, anywhere can tune in, unless you block them. But why would you want to do that when they can literally send tiny fluttering hearts across the screen to show their appreciation? Sweet.

It’s probably too early for you and your business to be feeling the love for Periscope. You’re finding your way with Facebook or have just taken to Twitter and now something else comes along. Typical.

But a good PR scout is always prepared and Periscope may be providing a vision of things to come for brands and businesses. Twitter thinks so, having recently bought Periscope for $100m.

Publishing company Hachette used the app to fantastic effect with authors showing us around their hallowed workspaces (AKA spare bedrooms #whereiwrite ). Twitter notifies followers about upcoming live broadcasts and if you tweet it they will come.

However, there are red flags on the horizon for Periscope (pun intended). Controlling live content isn’t easy. If you’ve ever seen that Eastenders special where the camera assistant is spotted leaning against the Queen Vic bar, you’ll have some inkling of just how tricky it is.

This is an app that transports the public ‘behind the scenes’ so you’d better make sure that people are going to like what they see back there.

Don’t forget either that the public are Periscoping too so news travels faster than wild fire, quite literally. Last month, journalist Paul Lewis covered the Baltimore riots with real time interviews, cars ablaze in the background. What if this had been a damning conversation from your staff room, or a malfunction on your production line?

Our advice? Get a ‘PR Disaster Management Plan’ in place now. There will be no time later. There will just be Periscope, and lots of little fluttering hearts from people watching your reputation go down in flames. You’re going to wish there was a time travel app after all.