What is Periscope?
Periscope is a live streaming app, owned by Twitter, that allows you to share and watch live video broadcasts from your mobile gadget of choice.
Periscope is a ‘visual pulse of what’s happening right now‘. It lets you ‘discover the world through someone else’s eyes‘.
And it's the new hottest social media platform that just might be here to stay.
In this tutorial, you'll find everything you need to know on how to use Periscope – for business or pleasure.
Periscope: Broadcast vs Watch
There are two basic things you can do on Periscope:
- broadcast or
- watch others broadcast.
For broadcasters, Periscope is a great opportunity to share your experiences with others.
Press a button and you are live. Not only that, but your followers will be instantly notified you are broadcasting, so you'll be directly connected to your audience.
For viewers, Periscope will give you an opportunity to discover the world the way you never could on your own.
And you are not just a passive viewer either. You can interact with the broadcaster, ask questions, and encourage them by tapping the screen to send hearts.
Whether you like to watch or broadcast, this Periscope tutorial has got you covered.
How to Get Started with Periscope
1. Download Periscope app from iTunes
And… drumroll!… Periscope is finally available on Android!
Also, here's everything you need to know about Periscope on Android (the core features are the same as iOS app, but there are a few differences as well).
I am sorry to say, Android users have run out of excuses of why they haven't yet checked Periscope out for themselves…
At the very least, I'd highly recommend you register your name for now, if nothing else – especially, if you are planning on using Periscope for business.
Register your name on Periscope before someone else does.
2. Log in with Twitter or your phone number
When you open your Periscope app, you'll have two options: log in with Twitter or your phone number.
It's nice to have a choice, but why would you want to sacrifice integration with Twitter?
I don't think that's smart, so unless you are an anti-Twitter fanatic, I definitely recommend creating your account with Twitter login.
What if you have several Twitter accounts?
SIDE NOTE: just like on Twitter, you can choose to have as many Periscope accounts as you have Twitter accounts.
Switching between your Periscope accounts is easy.
- Add all your Twitter accounts to your phone (read Mike Allton's tutorial on how to add multiple Twitter accounts to your phone, if you need help).
- Sign out of your current Twitter account (as long as you are signed into Twitter, Periscope will continue to automatically log you in under that account).
- Log into Periscope under desired Twitter account
And, if you really insist on it, here's how to sign up for Periscope with your phone number:
- Once you're on the login screen, tap Sign Up with Phone Number.
- Enter the required info and tap Send Confirmation Code.
- You'll receive an SMS with your confirmation code. Pop that in the prompt.
- If you have problems, tap Resend Confirmation Code.
- You'll go back to the login screen, wait for a few, and then you'll be redirected to create your profile.
3. Create your Periscope username
Just because you sign in to Periscope with Twitter, it doesn't mean you have to keep your Twitter username.
For instance, my Twitter username is AnaTrafficCafe – something I had to come up with because all other variations were too long or taken.
If you are not happy with your Twitter username, you CAN and should create a new username for your Periscope account.
Should you go for your own name or your company name?
Personally, I'll go for my name every time. Doesn't mean you can't create a separate account for your brand, but bringing ‘personal' into your brand is extremely important.
I highly recommend you read this excellent post by Mark Traphagen at Stone Temple Consulting on the subject:
Whichever way you choose to go, important thing to remember is:
And another quick tip on your Periscope username:
Once you create your Periscope username, you are in!
Periscope Newbie: Meet Periscope on iOS
Allow me to give you a quick Periscope tour.
Here's what you'll see first thing after you log into Periscope:
Well, since this is your first time on Periscope, this is more like what you'll see:
Your Periscope ‘Home Page'
There are three basic things you can do on Periscope:
- Find people
Periscope's Watch Tab (the TV icon in the bottom left corner) is your default Periscope home page.
I think it might be a good idea to make sure your Periscope profile is complete before doing anything else on Periscope.
Let's head over to Periscope's People Tab (in the bottom right corner) and I'll show you where to find your profile.
How to Manage Your Periscope on iOS Profile
First things first – where is your Periscope profile?
Here's how to change your profile info:
Of course, you can include a link into your Periscope profile. But remember:
What else can you do under your profile tab?
Manage Your Periscope Followers/People You Follow/Blocked List
Under your profile, you can also see:
- your followers (and follow them back)
- people you are following (and unfollow them)
- people you’ve blocked (and unblock them)
- your broadcast replays (and watch them or delete them; nothing else)
How Does Blocking Users Work on Periscope?
When you block a user on Periscope, that user will not be able to follow you or view any of your broadcasts, chats, or hearts in the app.
You will also be unable to follow or see that user’s broadcasts, chats or hearts.
To block a Periscope user:
- Tap the username you'd like to block.
- Tap ‘Block User.’
You can unblock a user at any time, via your Profile.
To unblock a user:
- Tap ‘Blocked’ in your Profile to view the list of users you have previously blocked.
- Select the user you would like to unblock by clicking into their profile.
- Tap “Blocked” to bring up the option to “Unblock User.” Tap this option.
NOTE: The user will NOT receive a notification that you have blocked/unblocked them.
Change Your Push Notifications Settings
By default, you will receive a push notification when:
- Someone starts following you: “Captain Ahab (@CptAhab) started following you.”
- Someone you follow starts a public broadcast: “Captain Ahab is live: View from Pequod.”
- Someone you follow invites you to a private broadcast: “Captain Ahab invited you to a private broadcast: We just got engaged.”
- Someone you follow shares another person’s live broadcast. “@Melville wants you to watch: Captain Ahan is live: View from Pequod.”
- When someone you follow on Twitter live broadcasts for the first time.
How do you fine-tune this
vomit plethora of Periscope notifications?
- You can turn off notifications for when a new user follows you in your Periscope profile (screenshot above).
- You can unfollow people whom you no longer want to see any push notifications from (there’s no shame in unfollowing noisy culprits!)
- You can turn off all push notifications for Periscope – period.
- Go to your device settings.
- Scroll down to find Periscope.
- Click on Notifications.
- Toggle Allow Notifications to off.
Now What? Find Someone to Follow
As with any social media platform, what you get from Periscope will definitely depend on whom you choose to follow.
When you follow someone on Periscope:
- You will be invited to join their public broadcasts via push notifications, if your push notifications are enabled.
- Their broadcasts will appear in your Watch Tab for 24 hours.
- They can invite you to watch other people’s public broadcasts.
- You can chat in their limited broadcasts.
- Anyone you follow can invite you to their private broadcasts.
How do you know whom to follow on Periscope?
Ideally, people you follow should:
- do Periscope broadcasts
If they don't broadcast, there's really no reason to follow them.
- share similar interests
Goes without saying, right?
1. Follow @AnaHoffman
What?… Had to take my chance when I saw it… lol
2. Follow people others are following
The best way to find people to follow is to check out whom others follow.
For instance, if you are into marketing, find a marketer you already like and see whom they are following.
Let's say you start with me. Here's what you do:
- While in ‘People' section of Periscope, search for Ana Hoffman.
- Follow me.
- Tap on my name to see my profile.
- Tap on the people I am following.
- Follow anyone you'd like.
3. Follow people you already follow on Twitter
Periscope will tell you when they join.
When someone you follow on Twitter joins Periscope, the app will notify you – you'll see their name pop up at the top of ‘People' section.
You'll see how many Periscope followers they have (it's a level playing field out there! – for now), their Twitter bio, and you'll be able to follow them right there and then should you choose to.
4. Follow broadcast commentators
When watching a broadcast (yours or other broadcasters'), you'll see other people joining in and/or commenting on it.
If you see anyone you want to take a closer look at, you can tap on their name right from the broadcast and you'll see the following on your screen (no worries, the broadcast will continue to run in the background.)
You can choose to block that person right there and then. (This is a new feature in response to too many comment trolls spoiling everyone's fun; good for Periscope team for being so responsive to user feedback!)
Blocking a user will block their visibility to you throughout Periscope.
You can also choose to tap on ‘View Profile' to… yes, view that person's full profile and follow them. Once again, their profile will open as an overlay with the broadcast still running in the background.
4. Follow people on Periscope ‘Most Loved' list
Periscope ‘Most Loved' list is the first thing you see when you click on ‘People' icon.
People who earn the most hearts (explained below) land on that list.
Can you follow those people? I wouldn't recommend it. But you can.
What Are Periscope ‘Hearts'?
The way Periscope ‘measures' popularity is by the number of ‘hearts' (likes) any given Periscope user has.
The more hearts you have, the higher up you'll go on Periscope ‘Most loved' list.
A few quick pointers about hearts (this is how I believe they work at the time of writing):
- You can earn hearts on both live broadcasts and replays;
- Hearts can be given during private broadcasts as well, but they won't count towards your total;
- There seems to be a limit of 500 hearts per account per live and replay broadcast.
We'll talk more about hearts a bit later in the post.
Periscope lets you broadcast live to anyone who wants to watch.
Once you start a live broadcast, Periscope will instantly notify your followers so they can join, comment, and send you hearts in real time.
Let me walk you through things to consider before starting your Periscope broadcast.
It needs to be short, descriptive, and yes, clickable.
That's what your potential viewers go by when choosing to watch (or not) your broadcast.
Would you be enticed to click on any of the titles below?
You can choose to share your location (requires your permission in your device Settings).
If you broadcast location-based events, I'd recommend you do allow your viewers to see where you are broadcasting from. (you can see what it looks like under broadcast titles in the screenshot above)
Will your broadcast be public or private? Private broadcasts don't show up in the Watch table and only notify those followers whom you select.
If you want to broadcast to specific followers, press the lock icon before going live (as shown in the screenshot above) and choose who you want to invite to your broadcast.
Limit who can comment
This is a new feature on Periscope, and it was designed to help you control the comment quality during your broadcasts.
If you choose to click on that icon, only people whom you follow will be able to comment on the broadcast.
Personally, I haven't felt the need to use that function yet. Once I blocked a few users who kept leaving inappropriate comments, my broadcasts have become a lot more civilized.
Send broadcast to Twitter
Do you want to share your broadcast on Twitter? Click on the Twitter bird before your broadcast and your Twitter followers will see a tweet like the one below.
Something to keep in mind before sharing your broadcast on Twitter: is it good enough to add value to your Twitter followers or will it be just more noise in their Twitter stream?
— Casey Neistat (@CaseyNeistat) March 27, 2015
Do you see how many RTs and Faves that tweet got? Because it struck a chord.
Be mindful of what you share and when you share it.
If you want to save ALL your broadcasts for posterity, you can turn that function on in your profile settings.
You can also save your broadcast to the Camera roll on a case-by-case basis – you'll be given that option once your broadcast is over.
What else can you do with your Periscope broadcast?
Delete broadcast replay
You'll find that option after your broadcast is over.
Double-tap to flip camera
Quickly switch between broadcasting your wonderful self and the world around you.
How to end broadcast
Simply swipe down and click on ‘Stop Broadcasting'.
What Happens to Your Periscope Broadcasts?
Unlike Meerkat, where the livestream is… well, dead once the user stops it, Periscope will save your broadcasts for 24 hours.
Periscope users can replay them within that time frame.
Viewers can replay your broadcast with comments and hearts to relive the full experience or they can choose to hide chat befor the replay.
Just toggle on the chat icon at the bottom of the replay screen before hitting that replay button.
Once again, you can choose to save your broadcast to your Camera roll or delete it at any time.
You can also see your own broadcast history through your Profile View under ‘Broadcasts'. You will not be able to replay broadcasts more than 24 hours.
If you prefer to watch, here's how.
Dive into Periscope Firehose
Each time you open your Periscope app, you'll automatically land on the Watch section.
You'll see some of the Live broadcasts at the top (I think they are randomly chosen), then Most Recent broadcasts once you scroll past the Live ones.
Once again, those will remain available for replay for up to 24 hours, unless the broadcaster chooses to delete them early.
Tap on the Periscope broadcast and voilà! – you are watching it live.
Join Broadcasters You Follow via Notifications
By default, once someone you’re following starts a broadcast, Periscope will send out a push notification and prompt you to watch it.
Simply slide any particular notification to view that broadcast.
Of course, the more people you follow, the more notifications you get. So do the math.
Follow people you actually want to hear from.
You can also change Periscope global settings under your iGadget settings to turn off push notifications altogether. Or at least turn off the sound. Or whatever other options fit you best.
Go to your system Settings => Periscope => adjust settings.
Here's the screenshot. Remember I am using my 7 year-old daughter's iPad…
- You can turn off notifications for when a new user follows you by:
- Tapping the People Tab in your information panel.
- Tapping the Profile icon on the top right of your People Tab.
- Tapping Settings.
- Toggling ‘User Follows You’ to off in your Profile settings.
- You can unfollow people who you no longer want to see any push notifications from.
- You can turn off all push notifications for Periscope:
- Go to your device settings.
- Scroll down to find Periscope.
- Click on Notifications.
- Toggle Allow Notifications to off.
How to Interact with Live Broadcasts
When watching a live Periscope broadcast, you can do the following to interact with it.
Comment on the live stream – you'll see the dialogue box at the bottom of the broadcast.
By the way, turns out there's such a thing as ‘too many viewers'; just look at this broadcast from Mashable:
So show up early!
‘Meet' other Periscopers – tap on the bottom right Person icon to see who else is watching the broadcast.
Remember, you can follow anyone you like or even block anyone you like by double-tapping on the name (screenshot above).
Share broadcast with others – once you tap on the Person icon, you can also share the broadcast with your followers.
Here's how that works:
- Tap on the Person icon in the bottom right corner.
- Click on Share the Broadcast.
- Choose to share with specific followers or all.
- This is what a notification will look like to your followers.
It seems like there's another way of sharing a broadcast with a friend now – swipe the screen sideways to bring up the option to share (just scroll down the screen to see it). Thanks for sharing the tip with me on Twitter, Mark Alves!
Give the broadcaster “hearts” to show them you like what you see – simply tap the screen to see the hearts float up.
Periscope hearts are like and unlike ‘Likes'.
Yes, you give a broadcaster a heart to show them you like what you see, but you don't have to stop at one. You can keep tapping the screen to give them more and more hearts and the more you give, the higher they flutter on the screen.
Hearts are more similar to applause in that way.
Plus, remember – the more hearts your favorite broadcasters have, the more likely they are to show up in the Most Loved section and be discovered by others.
Here are a few more resources about Periscope – how to learn more about it or where to get help.
Community Guidelines – information on what kind of content is and isn't allowed on Periscope, privacy, spam, impersonation, copyright, and DMCA takedowns.
If you definitely need to contact Periscope team, email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also submit a Periscope support ticket through this link.
You can also send feedback directly through the app by tapping Send Feedback on your profile page. (Navigate to the profile page by tapping the Profile icon in the top right corner of the People Tab).
You can report an inappropriate broadcast that violates the Periscope Community Guidelines directly through the app. When watching a broadcast, scroll to the bottom of the info panel and tap the Report icon. Tap to confirm.
If you see a user posting abusive comments in a broadcast, please take a screenshot and email email@example.com.
If you believe that content on Periscope infringes your copyrights, please provide Periscope team with a valid takedown notice following the instructions found here.
If you'd like to learn more about Periscope, Facebook Live, Blab, and live streaming in general, I recommend checking out Brian Fanzo's Flipboard magazine Live Video.
Periscope: Your To-Do
I'll be adding more to this tutorial as new Periscope features are released/discovered.
But for now, you've got enough to work with.
Here's a quick Periscope checklist for you to follow:
1. Set up your Periscope account.
2. Find people to follow (start with me – @AnaHoffman).
3. Explore the features.
4. Do a quick broadcast to see how it's done (I'd suggest you make it Private so you are not under pressure to ‘do it right'.)
5. Watch some broadcasts. Leave comments. Give away hearts.
6. Come back to thisPeriscope tutorial to learn more.
7. Have questions? Ask me in comments. If I don't the answer, I'll find out.
8. (optional, but much appreciated) Share this Periscope tutorial with others please.
But, above all, HAVE FUN!