Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Flipboard 0 I was recently talking to a friend about Periscope, Twitter’s new app. Although my friend is a social media enthusiast, she said she had never heard about it. “It’s for live streaming,” I said. “Kinda like Ustream, but using your phone.” After considering my explanation, my friend offered: “Sounds interesting…but weird.” My friend’s description—”interesting but weird”—has been, for the most part, how many journalists, bloggers and early adopters have been describing Periscope. If you talk to non-techies about Periscope, they’d probably use the same adjectives to describe it. Periscope is weird for many reasons. The fact that you could live-stream what other people are doing without getting their consent is legitimately creepy. From my experience, many users aren’t sure what to do with the app. A majority of the live-streaming invites I’ve been getting are for the most random stuff: someone cooking dinner, someone taking their dog out or someone hanging out at the beach. And as we’ve seen during the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, using Periscope is probably illegal depending on what you’re live streaming. But Periscope is also interesting because it offers people something different from what you’d get from other apps and networks. At its core, what Periscope offers is a real-time, public snapshot of you are doing. When you watch a live stream, what you are seeing is what’s happening at this moment—broadcasted for everyone to see. That’s different from Facebook and Instagram, where people share pre-recorded videos and images. Technically, everything is a #latergram in those networks because it takes at least a few seconds to take and upload pics and videos. Snapchat, Skype, iMessage and other messaging apps let you do video chat with others, but those are more for one-to-one conversations as opposed to livestreaming to the public. While live streaming is not completely new, it’s new enough in the app world. Periscope’s interestingness is critical because success in the mature app marketplace depends a lot on offering something new. An app needs to be different enough from what’s already available in the market. Periscope is certainly unique enough, and that’s why many people downloaded it and checked it out when it first came out. For businesses, the benefits of Periscope are quite obvious: As Hootsuite’s Ryan Holmes recently wrote, Periscope and its competitor Meerkat offer companies an opportunity to be more transparent—to give customers an unfiltered, behind-the-scenes look at the company. It’s another engagement tool at businesses’ arsenal. Periscope and Meerkat are more than a marketing tool, however, since they could also be used for mobile ethnography. One critical thing to remember is that just because an app is useful for businesses doesn’t mean the mass market will adopt it. When Google+ first came out, the value proposition for businesses were obvious: possible SEO benefits, another way to reach customers, etc. But Google+ is, for the most part, still unsuccessful in capturing the attention or the imagination of the masses. In my opinion, that’s because Google+ is way too similar to Facebook and Twitter. Why should I log in to Google+ when I can essentially do the same things somewhere else? Ultimately, Periscope’s success hinges on whether there is a real need for live streaming. The app is already dropping like a rock on the App Store and on Google Play, so early signs are not good. The Next Web reporter Mic Wright has this to say about the short-lived popularity of Periscope and Meerkat: The new live streaming apps aren’t a phenomenon, no matter how much certain sectors of the tech press and beyond desperately want them to be. They’re a niche prospect right now – neither a source of compelling viewing, nor a place where broadcasters can easily build up truly significant audiences… I wrote back in March that Periscope won’t change the world and I stand by that now definitively cooled off ‘hot take’. The figures support it. It feels like mobile live streaming should be a huge phenomenon so plenty of commentators are trying to will a trend into existence. Mobile data capacity is good enough and cheap enough to support it, but the majority of people aren’t that interested. Wright makes a good point that live streaming feels very niche right now. But many apps and networks that were once considered niche are now mainstream. So it’s not game over yet for mobile live streaming. In the end, Periscope’s weirdness is not a bad thing as long as people find the app useful. In the short but eventful history of social media, many successful apps and websites have been called “interesting and weird.” Sharing food porn on Twitter was once considered odd. (Many people still consider it weird.) Posting selfies on Instagram was once considered bizarre. Even blogging, a very mainstream activity today, was once a fringe activity. The eccentricity of Periscope means people might use it for things that even its developers haven’t thought of. But for Periscope to remain successful in the long term—for live streaming to become mainstream—those use cases need to be fun, entertaining or useful. “Interesting and weird” isn’t enough to survive today. There needs to be real value for the users. Twitter Tweet Facebook Share Email This article originally appeared on KC Claveria and has been republished with permission.Find out how to syndicate your content with B2C Author: Kane Pepi <p>Kane Pepi is an experienced financial and cryptocurrency writer with over 2,000+ published articles, guides, and market insights in the public domain. Expert niche subjects include asset valuation and analysis, portfolio management, and the prevention of financial crime. Kane is particularly skilled in explaining complex financial topics in a user-friendlyView full profile ›More by this author:VoIP Basics: Everything Beginners Should Know!Bitcoin Investment, Trading & Mining: The Ultimate Guide for BeginnersIs This a Better Way to Set Your 2020 Goals and Resolutions?