The perils of Periscope

Written by Melissa Robertson, Chief Executive Officer at Now.

So, the latest big thing is Periscope. And, unusually, I’ve had a bit of time to properly explore it (long story, but to cut to the chase, I’m laid up at home with an injured knee).

It’s described on their website as follows:

Say what? Teleporting?! I’m in!

On the App Store, it’s a little more prosaic:

‘Periscope lets you broadcast live video to the world. Going live will instantly notify your followers who can join, comment and send you hearts in real time. The more hearts you get, the higher they flutter on the screen.’

So far, so good. That’s exactly true. But in truth, I think it’s even better than that. Random people from around the world can see that you are live and can join and comment on your broadcast. And you can respond live to the comments. It’s quite thrilling at times.

Other than a totally lame first attempt, my ‘proper’ first go was streaming my 9-year old preparing supper for us. Because we live in London and are clearly quite pretentious, this happened to be squid. We’d pre-prepared all the ingredients Delia stylee – olive oil, chopped chilli, garlic, soy, rice wine, coriander. And we’d cleaned and scored the quid. So the broadcast was essentially a mini Jamie cooking show.

He did lots of lovely narration, cooked it brilliantly, and 20 odd people from around the world tuned in. There were lots of lovely comments, and plenty of hearts. He said hello to people from France and the US, and was I was told I should feel proud, everyone thoughts it looked delicious. It was fun, and we really enjoyed it.

The next day, I had a play with the kids on it. We watched a couple of teenagers from the US doing a lip sync battle and challenged them to do Uptown Funk, which they did. And then a couple of ladies in the UK were playing Pictionary, and we joined in. It all got quite competitive with other people trying to guess first, but kids are brilliant at this kind of thing, and we nailed it! Smashed all the others out the water. The lovely thing was the interaction with the people broadcasting. There was lots of chat.

Then yesterday, I was alerted to the team from Now streaming from Central Park whilst on a shoot for New York Bakery Company. I joined, they saw it was me, I typed a few messages, and they responded. Brilliant.

And not only that but they’ll be broadcasting live again today live again today at 1pm and 5pm @NYBakeryCo

But as is often the case with easy access social media, I have a niggling concern that it won’t be all good clean fun, that it can be open to abuse and trolling. During the perfectly lovely and innocent Pictionary game, we had to block a few people whose suggestions were invariably ‘penis’ or ‘cock’ (or ruder). One poor lady chatting about life was constantly asked how often she had sex, and how she liked it. A casual perusal just now quickly turned up some weirdos being unpleasant.

So, all in all, one to keep an eye on. The jury’s still out for me. Fun? Yes. Dangerous? Yes. My kids asked to download it, but it was a very easy ‘no’.