Unless home is under a rock without an internet connection, it’s likely you’ve heard of Periscope.
The new live-streaming app, launched at the end of March by Twitter as a competitor to killer of Meerkat, has caused a flurry of excitement.
It’s not that live-streaming is new – Ustream and Justin.tv (RIP) have been around for years – but the availability of the medium on portable devices seems a game changer.
I’ve been playing around with the app and have sussed out its user base. So, here are 10 other scopers you’re likely to encounter.
1. The journalist
Journalists and news outlets have been quick to jump on Periscope in a way they didn’t do with Meerkat, despite the interest the latter app caused among tech-heads in the run-up to SXSW.
Perhaps this is to do with Periscope’s ostensibly easier-to-use interface (UI), but is probably more to do with Twitter’s adeptness at sending out press releases.
So far, The Verge, The Guardian, Sky News and the BBC have already broadcasted using the app, and presenter Kay Burley used it behind the scenes of ITV’s Leader Debates in the UK.
2. The citizen journalist
Will Periscope transform news though? It’s the question everybody is asking. And by “everybody”, I mean journalists, obviously.
There’s no denying that the impact Periscope and Meerkat could have on citizen journalism is exciting. Who knows how useful the apps might be in a hard-to-reach location, or during a rapidly developing disaster?
We have already seen Periscope come into play with the New York City fire last week (600 viewers), and journalism school Poynter has just published a piece on app best practice.
Connection speeds might be a problem, however, as seen with the Periscope stream dedicated to discussing how Periscope streams would change journalism. Meta.
3. The pervert
Serious point, here. What are Twitter going to do about the vast number of men (#notallmen), who are going to abuse the app to hit on women or make misogynist and/or overtly sexual comments?
There’s even a term for how long it takes a dude to get his dick out in front of a low-res camera on any emerging internet platform. It’s called “time to cock” (TTC), and is the priapic relation of Godwin’s law. So, is it only a matter of time before Periscope becomes a handheld Chat Roulette?
It probably goes without saying that sooner or later, Periscope pornographers will arrive on the scene, hot on the heels of adult movies shot with drones.
But of more concern is how Twitter will manage the creeps. A colleague and I were shocked to find a 13-year-old girl showing off her gymnastic skills being inundated with explicit comments from men.
Which I guess leads us onto another type of scoper one will encounter: The Child You Desperately Want to Protect.
4. The guy staring into his fridge
A trope that seems to have emerged is people sharing the contents of their fridges, like some sort of Z-list version of MTV Cribs. I’m going to call these people “fridgers”.
Imagine: Gwyneth Paltrow opening the door of a Smeg to reveal one stick of celery and a vomit-coloured smoothie.
My personal favourite twist on this particular theme was the guy who live-streamed his decision making process of which soda to purchase from a vending machine.
However, there is a tenuous connection from fridge voyeurism to something a bit more practical: I have seen people providing step-by-step cooking tutorials using the app. As someone whose culinary skills bring to mind Bridget Jones and her blue string soup, this could be quite a useful thing indeed.
5. The reviewer
Little boxes, little boxes, sang Malvina Reynolds – little did she know that 50 years later millions of people would spend their time watching people on YouTube unpackage toys and products in a phenomenon known as “unboxing”.
Unboxing and reviewing could become very popular on Periscope; it’s a good example of how the app could serve a very useful purpose, allowing consumers the chance to ask exactly the questions they want and getting a real-time response (without being pressured by a store clerk to buy a product).
The Guardian has already used the app to deliver a review of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and fitness trackers, and we’ll be doing more reviews in this format in the future.
6. The AMAer
We all know how great AMAs are (AMA stands for “ask me anything”), a fascinating look into a subject or individual we many know nothing about. But, let’s face it, a Reddit thread isn’t the most visceral of mediums, and the less said about most “web chats” the better.
Periscope, therefore, could offer some real headway when it comes to shaking off ignorance. One of the most popular AMAers I’ve come across on the app is a blind man who answers genuine questions from users with warmth and humour and informative fact. More please.
7. The petrolhead
There definitely seems to be a trend for drivers periscoping their wheels, which as well as raising some significant safety concerns, might possibly offer some options for Jeremy Clarkson’s future career.
Thus far I’ve watched guys (mostly guys) drive down autobahns and highways and country lanes. This is mildly interesting if: a) you’re interested in the specs of a certain car, or b) the scenery is particularly beautiful. But a shaky shot of a glovebox from the perspective of a bored passenger isn’t entirely thrilling tbh.
8. The cute pet
Particularly popular so far are mainstay internet favourites: pugs and cats. Cat streams consist of felines curled up on laps, heavily purring into the mic, to a background soundtrack of owners saying “it’s a HE”, over and over after scopers write “She’s so cute!!!!” x1000.
I also particularly enjoyed the streaming of a sleepy pug in a pub. “Can I have her?” popped up one comment. “No”, the owner replied, before adding: “Because she was very expensive.”
9. The drunk
We thought drunk texting was bad. Then there was drunk tweeting. The onset of drunk scoping terrifies us all. I’ve already seen plenty of – I’m gonna go with “inebriated” – users of the app. After all, it’s always 3am somewhere.
Still, there’s something to be said for 15 minutes of footage of a person stumbling to his ex-girlfriends house, shouting up to the window that he still loves her, then being confronted by her mum in a nightie (all available to view for 24 hours). What a time to be alive.
10. The copyright infringer
Neil Diamond. That’s what I’ll tell my grandkids when they ask who was the first artist I saw live on Periscope. Neil was very popular, judging by the prevalence of hand clap emoji and multiple hearts.
It’s also been reported that David Guetta has already made his Periscope debut. As well as concerts, users are live-streaming straight from cinemas, with around a dozen streams of Furious 7 thought to have been available to view on Periscope. That’s at least two streams per every person interested in watching that film.
I can’t imagine sports fans will be able to resist either, given that vines and gifs of action are already popular. Cometh the Periscope stream, cometh the wrath of Premier League broadcast rights holders.
And coming soon to Periscope:
Brands, celebrities, gap year travellers, confused parents, broadcast-bombers (think photobombers), bullying, proposals, some kind of world record attempt.