Playing with Periscope

periscope logoPeriscope is an app (available on iPhones and Android) which twitter users can use to broadcast live video to people all around the world. If you use Persicope people can view your video in twitter, in their Periscope app, or through their web browser. During your live broadcast the people watching your video via the app can type messages which appear at the bottom of your video for all to see, and they can send hearts as a sort of applause / like by tapping their screen and the hearts float up the side of your video for all to see. Once you’ve finished your broadcast it will still be available for people to view for 24 hours, they can send hearts but they can no longer use the chat. And you can set your device to save the video to your camera roll, or not – so you could still use and upload your video to other places like You Tube or Vimeo if you wish.

As a viewer, you can join live broadcasts which people all around the world are sharing, via the Periscope app if you download it, or through a web browser on your computer. If you are using the app you can type messages and tap your screen to send hearts. You can also view broadcasts made in the last 24 hours, though you won’t be able to use the chat option.

I know quite a few people who started using Periscope pretty early on (it was only launched last March), so I had downloaded the app and watched a few broadcasts by last summer. It took me a little while to get to grips with Periscope and overcome some initial confusion, which I’ll share here as it could help other first-timers.

The first thing that put me off was the diagonal interference type lines which appear on the screen as a broadcast is connecting. That caused me to close a number of broadcasts before I even saw them. So a few seconds of patience is required. The same is true when the person broadcasting flips between cameras on their device – you’ll see a black screen for a moment, but just hang on in there.

Then I was really confused that I had options to hide or see chat, but I couldn’t figure out how to join the chat. I then learned that you can only add to the chat while a broadcast is live. But I’d never managed to catch a live broadcast by anyone I know, and I was a little apprehensive about looking for people I didn’t know on Periscope and messing with things while they broadcast, in case I did something daft!

Then a Periscope notification popped up on my phone to say that Paul Moseley, who I know and also follow on twitter, was broadcasting live. So I opened the Periscope app, clicked on his broadcast and was astonished to hear him say ‘hi Lorna’!!! I was a little freaked out by this, as up to this point I’d not watched a broadcast where the person sharing through Periscope interacted with the people watching. When twitter users watch a live broadcast Persicope puts up a little written notification to say that they have ‘joined’, so the person making the video can see all these notifications and talk to them while recording. I next realised that in order to reply to Paul I’d need to use the chat function. It was a bit of a bizarre experience – Paul was sitting at home chatting away on video while running a TEDxEd chat on twitter, and was interacting with my random comments which I had to type in to Periscope. It was as if one person was communicating by phone or Skype and the other only had access to text messages. The experience was really helpful though, and it gave me the confidence to start making my own Periscope broadcasts.

screenshot of list of viewers on Periscope broadcast from Dudley Volunteer Awards 2015

Screenshot of some of the data provided following one of my Periscope broadcasts – you can see all your viewers who used the Periscope app

I’ve mostly broadcast from events I’ve been involved in, so that people who couldn’t get along could see and hear the speakers, the conversations and so on, and interact if they were viewing live. I’ve learned that I find it frustrating, as I want to type messages back to people on the chat, as if we were both on twitter, and though in theory I can talk out loud back to them, that’s not appropriate when recording someone speaking at an event. While you are broadcasting on Periscope you can’t join the chat. I wanted 2 pairs of hands, one to hold my phone for the video recording and another to hop on twitter on another device and join the chat.

If you are using Periscope for an organisation there are some basic levels of data provided following the broadcast, including who your viewers were, which offers a good opportunity for further engagement.

Personally I find Periscope more useful as a viewer, I love catching up on meetings and events I’ve missed. My friends at Impact Hub Birmingham (which I am a member of) are great at sharing through Periscope, they broadcast meetings, useful parts of events and performances at gigs and so on. This is great as I can keep in touch with things I’ve missed and still feel involved. I’ve mentioned here before that West Midlands Fire Service are great at using Periscope.

I’d love to hear from you about Periscope – leave a reply below or tweet using #digitaldudley.

  • Have you tried using Periscope yet?
  • How did it feel?
  • What useful tips would you give to newbies?
  • Who is using Periscope in Dudley borough to make connections and share great things going on?


  1. Good Practice Exchange · February 29, 2016

    Great point, Lorna. Like Twitter, I don’t think Periscope is as accessible as it might be for first time users. It’s something I keep meaning to try out for our seminars, but am yet to do so. This week could be the week! Like you, I had some issues in sussing out how to comment, before realising it was only on live videos. In case it’s helpful, you can also host Periscope videos on Look forward to seeing how you develop your use of it!



  2. Lorna Prescott · March 1, 2016

    Hi Dyfrig

    Thank you, it is incredibly helpful to know about Katch, I hadn’t heard of it and have just this morning had a message from a colleague asking ‘how do I save Periscope videos?’.

    I look forward to seeing your first Periscope broadcast. Let us know how you get on 🙂

  3. Lorna Prescott · April 26, 2016

    UPDATE re. Katch, mentioned by Dyfrig. Sadly it’s shutting down. Read more here:

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