Oh my goodness, what a week it has been.
First off, as I wrote about here, I had a truly unusually busy weekend. For an introvert like me that is a lot of going out!
Then, yesterday, I woke up and the heating system had died – yep.
But amongst all this, I’ve been caught up big time in a thing. This thing has consumed me almost day and night for a solid week. I kid you not. It is all I have been able to think about. And yes, I am a bit obsessive that way.
That thing is Periscope. Or as Twitter tweets it, #periscope!
I first saw it when someone came up in my twitter feed as having just “periscoped”. I had no idea what that was, so I simply hopped over using the link she provided in her tweet.
I watched in amazement as she talked and people commented and sent her hearts in real time. I also thought how incredibly brave she was.
When you sign up for the free Periscope, you will find a map – a world map. On this map there are red dots. Those red dots represent all the people who are periscoping at that very moment. You click on the dot and hey presto, you are listening and watching someone half way around the world go about their daily business, or feeding their cat, or teaching you how to maximise the social media potential for your current business, or practice guitar, or scrapbook, or do hand lettering, or choosing which biscuit to eat that day.
This. Completely. Blew. My. Mind.
I wanted in.
I watched a few how-to videos by Alex Pettitt and Danielle Ford (both of whom I adore) and signed up for Danielle Ford’s 5 day Periscope challenge. I learned all about the Peri Girls and connected with some peeps on the other side of the world. It was happening, man, and I was a 47 year old happening woman.
I didn’t enjoy it.
I was obsessed by it, driven, I think by the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO). Having just launched Memoirs from Memory Lane, I imagined being able to connect with all sorts of people all over the world to tell them that they mattered, that they were loved, that their stories were worth preserving and that they were worth honouring. I was on board baby, lock, stock and barrel.
I LOVE technology, and its myriad applications, but for an introvert like me, who struggles so much to connect with people on social media that doesn’t require real time validation, Periscope was horrible (sorry Periscope people).
Now, before people, and Periscope, shoot me down, let me just reiterate that this is merely my experience, my take, of this amazing bit of technology.
A massive amount of people love it. In the four months since it launched in March, nearly 8 million users have climbed on board. And I can absolutely see why.
It’s instant for a start. With one click, Twitter lets your followers know you are about to scope, your red dot appears on the map and you are scoping. A little number in the right hand bottom corner lets you know how many people are viewing you and you simply chat away.
It also brings new meaning to the saying “fly on the wall”. It gives the viewer a real time look at how other people live and this feeds our natural curiosity wonderfully. Just the other day I watched someone as they strolled across a bridge in Paris, talking about how beautiful the city it is and how much they loved it. It was as if I was walking beside them, watching and seeing what they were doing – in fact, I was!
And because people can look at a map with red dots on it to locate a scope, the chances of someone new and exciting discovering you is pretty high. As a blogger with a message, that is pretty powerful as can be seen by the thousands of people who are jumping on board to drive traffic to their blog/business. There are heaps of scopes telling you how to scope, what equipment you need to scope, how to create a killer scope, how to leverage the platform to drive traffic to your business. It is a networking event with nearly 8 million people in it, why wouldn’t you want to leverage that?
Also, people can show their appreciation of what you are doing by ‘hearting’ you – tapping the screen furiously which sends hundreds of hearts up the screen. This is enormously gratifying for the person doing that periscope. In fact, so gratifying is it, that Periscope ranks you according, not to the amount of followers you have, but to the amount of hearts you have. The more you have, it is assumed, the better value you have to offer people watching you. That The Naked Suicide Girls are number two is not awfully surprising, because of course, this has opened up a whole new market for that industry too.
Trolls are dealt with swiftly. If you are a troll, or some sleezy person wanting to create a scene or demand sexual nuances, this is not your platform. One tap, and you are blocked my friend. I loved that this is one platform where lessons in boundary setting were so obvious and so zealously followed. One scoper even made it her mission to block as many people in one scope as she could. Every time someone came on and said “I want to boob” or “I’m gonna cum on your face”, she stared at the screen and said “Fuck you buddy, you’re gone!” and with that a notice popped up to tell us that the offender had been blocked. Viewers then could also go in and block them too. I found this exceptionally empowering for women especially, as trolls were being shut down swiftly and forcefully.
Truly, the applications of this technology are endless, and amazing, and blew me away.
But, sadly, despite my obsessional behaviour over the last week, this morning, after my fourth scope, I knew this medium was not for me. I finished my scope and I felt depleted and horrible.
Part of it has to have been my content. I wasn’t offering value. I get that. I stumbled, I mumbled, and I was pretty ill prepared. I tried to talk of how people deserved to be honoured and ways to document their life story, but I was completely and utterly out of my depth. Really all I wanted to do is connect with people, have a virtual coffee and just say hi. Instead, I buckled under the pressure to “offer value” and bombed massively. Those precious hearts stopped coming and my own real heart sank too. A number of people would enter my scope, but leave just as quickly. For an introvert like me that’s like entering a room at a party and having everyone leave the minute you walk in. It was probably nothing you did, but you still feel crap anyway. I wondered why. I mean just this morning I was helping someone choose which biscuits to buy in a supermarket and they were getting heaps of hearts. What was I doing wrong?
I have to admit at this juncture that four attempts is not really what we Aussies would call a fair go. I’m still, it is duly noted, a newbie finding my feet and my groove. And I certainly accept that. I do.
However, I am also long enough in the tooth to know when something is resonating with me and when it is not. And I am also wise enough to know when is the best time to walk away. As it stands I have 54 followers (or connections as I heard someone recently call them), and 1,300 hearts. And oh my goodness I love that after four scopes I have that many. But for someone who is trying desperately not to get caught up in the numbers of life, but in the living of it, it is tough. The noise and the frenetic nature of Periscope (you get a gazillion notifications of who is about to scope) left me reeling. The person on the top of the leader board has something close to 50 million hearts in just 3 months of scoping. They clearly offer some excellent value and are perfectly comfortable doing it!
I have absolutely no doubt that Periscope is going to sky rocket. It should, Twitter bought it for around $100 million, which is quite an investment for a start up that hadn’t even started yet. The numbers signing up are growing each and every day and each day I find some really cool people to watch half way around the world, and I love doing that.
But as for me being in front of the Periscope camera, perhaps not, at least not now. Which is a bummer because I’ve just ordered new business cards with my periscope handle on it (@sarahheartwrite by the way).
How about you, have you found Periscope yet? Have you signed up? Are you big on there? How do you find scoping?
Until next time,