Joel's Blog: All aboard the Periscope bandwagon - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Joel's Blog: All aboard the Periscope bandwagon

Viewers can say hello or ask questions from anywhere while watching your stream. Viewers can say hello or ask questions from anywhere while watching your stream.
Periscope gives us the opportunity to show viewers a look behind-the-scenes as we prepare for our broadcasts. Periscope gives us the opportunity to show viewers a look behind-the-scenes as we prepare for our broadcasts.
Each stream is given a headline and we can see how many viewers have watched this particular stream. Each stream is given a headline and we can see how many viewers have watched this particular stream.
Meteorologists can receive instant reports from viewers via Periscope. Meteorologists can receive instant reports from viewers via Periscope.
You can toggle between streams during severe weather coverage. You can toggle between streams during severe weather coverage.
If you aren't familiar with this new app called Periscope, I would certainly suggest checking it out. If you have a Twitter account, there's no need to create a new username and password. Like Vine, the popular six second video app that was founded in June of 2012, you can simply log in using your Twitter account.

At first, I was skeptical and to be honest—maybe a little bit creeped out. You're literally giving anyone access to your phone's camera for them to see whatever you want to show them. The first time I did this, viewers automatically began rolling in. It was something I wasn't quite ready for, but it's growing on me.

After about a week of using this app, I'm still looking for new excuses to go live with bits and pieces of my everyday life. Is my life really that interesting? Probably not. But when it comes to our work here at WLOX, it's becoming more and more valuable.

Last week, I was debating whether to cut in to regular programming because of a strong thunderstorm passing through Harrison County. I asked my boss if I should break in one more time. His response was something I didn't see coming: "Nah. Just go live on Periscope."

I began with my update and I only had about 10 viewers. Most of those may or may not have been here in Mississippi. It felt extremely awkward at first, but then one of those viewers asked a question: “What about Latimer?”

So there's that. This is quickly becoming a thing. It's a new route of getting information to you during bad weather, or just another beautiful day in South Mississippi—and it's interactive! We can stream what we're seeing live when covering breaking news in the field. We can show off a beautiful sunset. We can show traffic conditions. The list of possibilities is endless, but there are a few set-backs.

  1. It's only available on iPhone. Sorry, Android users.
  2. It only runs on WiFi. Earlier this week, I was excited about going live from Biloxi Beach to show off the beautiful weather—especially after the deluge we saw last week. Instead, the video never would start and I ended up having to do a mediocre look out the back door of WLOX. Even when I was there, my WiFi signal wasn't strong enough. Will there be an update on this soon? I hope so. I would think so considering you can now use FaceTime without a WiFi connection.
  3. It's a battery killer. As with any streaming video app, your battery can drop almost 10 percent in about five minutes. Always have a charger handy if you're planning on streaming your entire day on Periscope.
  4. Let's face it. Sometimes we follow people on Twitter just to be nice. Thankfully, we don't receive notifications every time they tweet. With Periscope, you'll receive a notification every time someone goes live. Right now, it's tolerable. But if this thing becomes as popular as other social media apps, it may become a little bit too much. Sure, you can change your notification settings. But that defeats the whole purpose.
  5. You can't filter what people say. You can turn off your messages, but that kills your interactivity as people can no longer ask questions during your stream. All it takes is one person with a bad attitude. Then, you're losing viewers.
Overall, I think it's a great app. It's opening the door to new opportunities in our line of work and many others' as well. As with anything new, there is room for improvement. I'm sure there will be updates to this app shortly, but I still suggest downloading it and checking it out for yourself. And if you have any new Periscope ideas for us, send them our way. We'd love to hear what you think about this.

Once you've downloaded the app, go follow Chief Meteorologist Carrie Duncan and me. My username is @joelwlox and Carrie's is@carrieduncanwx. Those are also our Twitter names. While you're at it, go like our Facebook pages: Meteorologist Joel YoungCarrie Duncan WLOX MeteorologistMeteorologist Wesley Williams, and Tommy Richards, as well as the WLOX 24/7 Weather Facebook page.

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