These days, our phones have become repositories for all of our favorite memories- whether the memory is a night out with friends, a vacation to the beach, a chance encounter with, say, a celebrity- or a wild raccoon. (Or even better, some kind of… celebrity raccoon.) The hardware we have access to means we can easily take stunning photographs and high-quality video with almost no effort or training. Following from these capabilities, emerging tech in the world of smartphones generally focuses on two things: accessibility/ease of use (like PhotoTime, for example!) and sharing (think Instagram).
These applications help us take better pictures, organize our experiences, and ultimately share them with others. But most of these applications are only useful after the fact- they’re meant to incorporate pictures and video we’ve already taken. But Twitter-acquired company Periscope is looking to change all that- and it just launched.
Streaming video has been around for some time now. In its earliest forms it functioned mostly as a novelty, a way to present events that didn’t command the attention of more conventional forms of broadcast. Routine government hearings, nature and city cams, weather… hey, wake up. This is going to get more interesting.
The era of social media has turned this perception upside down. We now have the technology necessary to stream events directly to any number of online viewers, and this has had a democratizing effect on the way we perceive, experience and report current events. Livestreaming has become the backbone of documenting civil unrest and catastrophe not just in the west, but all over the world.
Periscope cuts out the last remaining middleman between regular civilians and press reporters by offering a simplified, social-media integrated solution for broadcast from your smartphone, live and in living color.
Perhaps it shouldn’t surprise us that livestreaming is becoming increasingly important. After all, it’s a form of crowdsourced content. We all have a thirst for fast, fresh, relevant information. It’s why nobody under 50 has so much as cracked the cover of an Encyclopedia Britannica since the rise of Wikipedia. Just as a wiki allows us to experience the most recent, timely understanding of a given subject or topic, streams allow us to experience current events in realtime, free of the perspectives and filters of more conventional broadcasts, like newsmedia. Livestreaming, additionally, has the capacity to go where our corporate media’s cameras simply cannot tread, not least due to issues of liability.
What’s interesting about Periscope, then, is not just that it seamlessly transforms our smartphones into broadcast-ready cameras, but also the way it integrates itself into the content distribution networks provided by social media. Streams have the power to become the definitive perspective on any given event, but if and only if they’re capable of spreading to as many people as possible. The combination of smart-phone app and Twitter integration means that everyone has the power to broadcast, and everyone has easy access to those broadcasts.
Right now, applications like Periscope are fascinating to watch grow, but there’s a good chance we’re unprepared for just how disruptive these technologies can be. We’ll keep watching to see how people from all over the world use them to lift up their perspectives to be seen by all.
Want to get your awesome apps featured by PhotoTime? Send your pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org