The Good and the Bad of the Periscope Social Media Platform

The Good and the Bad of the Periscope Social Media Platform

Periscope is a social media app that turns your life into a live broadcast. Instead of updating your Facebook status or sending a tweet, with this app, you start a live broadcast similar to any live broadcast you see on TV. The difference is that you get live interaction with the people that are tuning in to watch you. Now that the app is available on both Android and iOS, it’s starting to pick up some steam, and like any social media platform, it’s good to get in on the ground floor. Before you do, I have a list of positives and negative you may want to consider.

The Basics

The idea behind this app is that you can now broadcast your life to the people that follow you. The app allows you to use either the selfie camera or the rear-facing camera, along with the ability to switch back and forth between the two. Once you start broadcasting, users have the ability to comment, and these comments pop up on your screen, as well as the screens of the other viewers. From here, viewers can chat amongst themselves, and because you are live broadcasting, you also have the ability to vocally address any questions or comments as you’re recording.

There are also hearts. While you are watching a broadcast, viewers can tap on the screen to give a heart. Hearts are a way for viewers to show they enjoy what you are talking about, sort of like virtual applause.

Once the broadcast is over, you will be shown the stats for your broadcast. This includes how many viewers you had, how long they stayed, the number of hearts you received from each viewer, etc. When the broadcast is over, it will still be available to viewers for 24 hours, or you have the option to remove the broadcast so that it cannot be replayed.

The Good

Live broadcast and interaction: The entire premise of the social network is live broadcasting and live interaction with your viewers, and as a whole, it works really well. Starting a broadcast is really easy. When setting up the title of your broadcast, you have the option the share it on Twitter, limit who can comment, and turn on precise location sharing. The location sharing allows you to be seen on the app's interactive map, which allows users to find you by location. Once the broadcast is started, it’s really easy to comment and ask questions.

Ability to save broadcasts: The app allows you the option to save your broadcast for later use. This is great, because all the work you may have done within your broadcast will be gone in 24 hours. But now, you have the option to upload the video to other social networks such as Facebook and YouTube.

The Bad

No history: When searching for users to follow, it’s very difficult to see if a user is active or not. When you look at someone's profile, it will show the number of videos they have done in the past 24 hours, their followers, who they follow, and their total number of hearts. The problem is that you don't know how often they post or if they are even using the account anymore. The total number of hearts will tell you that they have done a broadcast before and how much viewers liked it, but you don't know if they got all their hearts when the app first launched and they don't use it anymore, or if they just did five broadcasts last week.   

Broadcast download has no interactions: I love that you can download your broadcasts and share them on other networks, but the video download does not show any of the user interactions. So, if a user asks you a question and you answer it, the video download will not show what the question was. Also, in bigger broadcasts, you will see where viewers are answering questions for other viewers, but in the download, none of this is visible.

This is a saved broadcast from my account, @vinsonimages_jason.

Only interacts with Twitter: Because Periscope is owned by Twitter, it interacts with the platform very well. But if you don't have a big following on Twitter, it’s really hard to get noticed on Periscope. It’s also really hard to find people using the app if you don't already follow them on Twitter.

A lot of noise: This ties in with the fact that it’s hard to find people on the app. Because of this, I have tried to use their interactive map to find people broadcasting and see what was going on. The majority of everything I found was worthless to me. There are users broadcasting their car radio as they drive, users just staring at the camera as they eat lunch, and then, the occasional rant about the DMV. I have found that the best way for me to find people is to find a reputable person and then see who they follow, but the majority of people I have found do not seem to be active.

Interaction is very limited: The interaction within a broadcast is great, but it’s very limited. When users comment, it stays on the screen for a few seconds and then, it fades away. So, if you are doing a broadcast and you are in the middle of something, you will most likely miss any comments or questions. Once they fade away, they are gone forever. So, there is no going back to see what you missed. Another problem is that if a broadcast is really full, they will limit who has the ability to comment.


I feel like the network has a lot of potential for people in the photography community. It's a great way to share knowledge and a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to run your business. There are a good number of people that use the app very well and have a following worth sharing information with. The problem is that it’s very hard to stumble upon a great channel to follow, and therefore, it’s hard for users to stumble onto your channel. You can use other social networks to tell people what you are doing and try to get them to come find you, but I don't think a social network should have to rely on other networks to grow. I do think the network will become a big success in the future; so, I believe it's worth joining and using. Just know that it’s very much in its infant stage.

Are you on Periscope? Who is your favorite person to follow? Do you actually broadcast or do you only watch? Let us know in the comments!

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Sean Molin's picture

I have it and have thought about using it. I think the hard part is just coming up with stuff that you think an actual audience would care about.

Jason Vinson's picture

Very true. I think if you shoot a lot then people are always interested BTS type things. But then it's hard to show BTS stuff long enough to build an audience and long enough to be engaging while you're shooting.

Positive Image's picture

I have been "Scoping" for a while now. My first scope was of a "location scout" at the Sepulveda Dam in California with no one following. The next few broadcasts were of a behind the scenes "Freckles & Powder" shoot with 130 "Live" viewers. I find that the more scopes that you participate "comment" in, the more people that will start to following you if just because you always have some input or comments. You'll also receive more followers by doing more broadcasts. Check Terry White's video on "How to use Periscope" here...
While you're there follow Terry White @terrylwhite & follow me @positive_image1 or Positive Image. Happy Periscoping :)

Jason Kenny's picture

Anyone read 'The Circle' by Dave Eggers? I suggest you do to see where these types of Apps are taking us...