Looking at the media world through a “Periscope”

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Olivia Anstey watching one of her favorite users doing a live-stream. (Photo by Alex Silber/TU Student).

In today’s world, the Millenial generation looks for a quick and easy way out of attending college and suffering student loans up to their eyeballs. Lately, one way to do just this is by creating something worth millions in today’s society: a new social media app.

Kayvon Beykpour and Joe Bernstein, did just this when they founded the app known as Periscope, and then sold their company to Twitter for $100 million in 2015.

The app finally made its debut in the Apple app store on March 26, 2015. It has also now launched for Android smart phone users.

Periscope is an app where users can “live-stream” whatever they are doing, so followers can see what is going on and where. Followers are allowed to directly interact with the live-streamer by posting relevant comments to be responded to.

The idea was born while Beykpour was awaiting an abroad trip to Istanbul, Turkey, when protests were breaking out about urban development in Taksim Square in 2013.

There had to be some way that people can directly view and experience another place in the world. This elicited the idea to create an app where people can see what is going on, anytime, anywhere.

Periscope brings a unique and new form of social media communication; it allows for a synchronous channel between streamers and followers. Meaning, messages are being sent and received in real time.

Periscope already has competitors in the app market such as Meerkat, that features the very similar idea of live-streaming.

Even Facebook has acquired a live-streaming feature, which allows users to reach a following base of friends that they already have, instead of building a new one.

Other apps provide an asynchronous form of communication, like posting on friends walls or tweeting at others who are offline that will not receive the message until they see the notification.

People tend to like that they can interact immediately and at the same time to feel like they are really there with who they follow.

Reviews have also shown users love the easy-to-use interface and instructions. Its even accessible to the smart technology “challenged”.

However, when a live broadcast is ended it is still posted to the personal profile for users viewing later.

Periscope is not just limited to see what is going on in foreign countries; people of all ages and backgrounds live-stream their lives.

Even popular YouTube or Vine stars use it as another medium to gain a larger following base.

While thought to possibly be an exciting new way for news coverage, Mike Schuh, a reporter at WJZ, does not necessarily agree.

While he thinks of the app as “fascinating,” there are a few problems he finds with it that limit it to be a prevailing news source in the future.

The first problem is watching a story live may be exciting, but only when something exciting is happening and being captured.

A lot of the time, live things are left unfiltered, allowing distasteful language or coverage causing it to be unprofessional.

Live-streams can also lack a story with a beginning middle and end. Schuh is a “big fan” of the story, plus covering live leaves no room for “reflection or research”.

He adds that it has potential to have a spot in the news world, it is just a matter of how.

“Periscope is a look at what is newsworthy value versus scrolling entertainment value of what we can find on our phones,” said Schuh.

Towson University student Olivia Anstey uses it in the personal way Schuh refers to, just another platform for social media.

“I think it is so much fun. I live-stream my walk to and from class,” said Anstey. “It’s just a way to entertain myself while walking up a million flights of stairs.”

Anstey does not have a large following base, but her friends love to watch what she is up to, especially her friends from home who attend different universities.

Periscope provides a great way to communicate with others, it is just a matter of how it can be taken from a personal level to a professional level.

Just when it seems as though all forms of social media have been covered and created, there is always a new idea out there waiting to be discovered to earn an extra buck or two.

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About asilbe2

Alexandra Silber is a junior mass communication and political science double major at Towson University. She works at Towson University's Academic Advising Center and is a member of the National Broadcasting Society. In her free time she likes to spend time with friends, watch Netflix, and cook. I plan to graduate in May of 2017, and be off in the real world to pursue my dreams of becoming a news reporter!!
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