Periscope: The New 'Must Watch' Social Media App

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"Looks like an amazing Spring morning," my friend uttered, gazing out over Central Park. "Waiting for Liz to move her phone from April at the green screen to one of the monitors to see today's high," I responded. Catching a puzzled look out of the corner of my eye, I continued, questioning my tech savvy friend, "Good Morning Tucson? KGUN9?" A lifelong New Yorker unfamiliar with the names of Tucson, Arizona's morning team? (Liz Kotalik, April Madison, and not even Big Al!) Dead giveaway that she had yet to tune into Periscope.

For the last month, I've started each morning watching Tucson news, sometimes quickly checking in on Claire walking through the streets of Paris, Justin venting about his favorite UK footballer, or a man in Texas feeding hummingbirds from the palm of his hand.

World, welcome to Periscope, the Twitter owned live video broadcasting app. (For a basic run down, see Cheat Sheet below.)

Did we need another social media outlet? As someone who doesn't have a personal Facebook page, my answer would be no. On March 26, 2015 I explored Periscope on its first day available to the public on iOS. I was intrigued, as people from across the globe opened the app, and began using their iPhones to broadcast themselves chatting to anyone who popped into their 'Scope. Viewers have the ability to type questions or comments to broadcasters, and often times begin chatting amongst themselves. Nearly a month and a half old, when one tunes into a familiar broadcast, it feels communal, homey, almost.

Will Periscope thrive? Time will tell. For now, it is growing steadily. More musicians and celebrities join each week, bringing loyal fans with them. Ellen Degeneres was among the first, and quickly draws thousands of viewers when notified that she's broadcasting live via Periscope backstage or during a commercial break.

A few of my favorite Periscope broadcasters are news anchors. The aforementioned KGUN9 morning team out of Tucson, Arizona is my favorite morning Periscope. Anchor Liz Kotalik leaves her phone running just outside of the TV cameras' eye, and cheerfully chats with her loyal Periscope family. "Hi England. I'm 25. No, I'm not single," Liz responds to the influx of questions from viewers during commercial breaks. April Madison, morning meteorologist, joins Liz at the desk fielding questions, and they've been described by viewers as the Tina Fey and Amy Poehler of morning news. April sang a bit of "Single Ladies," during their last commercial break on Friday, and has broken out into her own freestyle rap stylings from time to time.

Reality TV on your phone? I suppose, but it's real. Not scripted by Kris Jenner real, but people broadcasting live. No time to touch up selfies like on Instagram, nor edit your broadcast. 

When the curfew was imposed in Baltimore, I tuned into several Periscopes, instead of turning to TV.

I've read articles praising Periscope, who to follow, and tips on broadcasting. Below are a few of my favorite, and not so favorite Periscope broadcasters and trends.

Buzz Cheat Sheet:

Link your Twitter account! It allows you to easily find interesting people whom you already follow on Twitter.

Do not ask for hearts. Periscope viewers can tap the right of their screen, and a heart will float into the 'Scope abyss. It is the Periscope equivalent of a Twitter favorite. Periscope created a "Most Loved List," so users can see people who have the most hearts. Interesting people at the top? A few, but several are people who leave their broadcasts running as they sleep, with titles like "Help me get to 2 million hearts...discuss as I sleep." 

Watch together! Use Periscope's "Invite Followers" feature, allowing you to share a broadcast you're watching with specific friends, or everyone who follows you. Watch together!

Who to follow. My favorite Periscope broadcasters include a couple of local news outlets, people who broadcast incredible scenery and landmarks from around the world, musicians, and comics. A few examples:

Light and lively morning news, follow @lizkotalik at KGUN9 in Arizona. You'll find April rapping, and Big Al giving traffic updates in his spiffy white sneakers.

Evening news with trivia during commercials, follow @meredithWRDW and @rrnews12 at WRDW in Augusta, GA. You'll find Shane moonwalking to the green screen, as they count down to his weather segment.

Tours of Paris, follow @clairewad. It's a no brainer.

Paris and beyond, follow @euromaestro. An engaging broadcaster.

Astronaut, follow @Cmdr_Hadfield. Chris Hadfield is funny, heartfelt, and the first Canadian to walk in space.  

The fun, funny, backstage, follow @tomgreenlive (comic), @mariamenounos (Entertainment reporter). Everyone from Oprah to Andy Dick (Yes, he's still alive) have accounts, so make use of the recently implemented search feature.

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