Periscope, which is essentially Facebook Live, but on Twitter, is a streaming service that turns your Android into a window into your life. It makes it so at any point in time you can stream bits and moments of your life to people you know or for anyone else to come watch. It’s as easy as pressing a few buttons and pointing your Android in the right direction.
While Facebook Live and Periscope have a few similarities, the services differ with feature sets and audiences. That said, if you’re looking for tips, some basic tips for streaming still apply, so they’re just as essential here as they are for any streaming service. Whether you’re looking to blog, or just kill some time, these tips are vital to improving the experience.
How to Start Using Periscope
I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty for the service before I even talking about using it, so let’s go over some basics. First things first, download the app here to get started right away:
As soon as you open the app, you have the choice between using Periscope in conjunction with Twitter, or just with your phone number.
I recommend you sign up with Twitter, that’s going to be where most your streams and recordings will live. If you don’t have a Twitter yet, it’s not required, but not having one severely limits your scope and range with the app.
Once you’ve signed up, you have the option to tick accounts you’re following to let you know when they’re using Periscope. This isn’t necessary to use the service and has a skip button at the bottom of the page.
You’ll see the same thing for recommended broadcasters to follow, skip this if you don’t want to get notifications when they go live. After you’ve skipped or followed who you want, you’re now turned loose into the world of Periscope.
It’s more than a little intimidating just to be released into the wild with the service, so let’s break it down into its four main parts.
1. Recent Highlights and Random Teleports
Starting from the far right, there’s an icon on the top of the screen that looks like a TV. Here you’ll see recent Periscope recordings selected for you, a button to search for a random Periscope stream, a highlight button to quickly scan recordings and a red button in the bottom corner for you to go live at any time.
This already sounds like a lot to take in, but don’t worry, it’s easy to try each feature on this page and quickly get a feeling for how it works. Each button on the page is self-explanatory, but give each a press if you’re curious.
If you’re worried about the red button immediately throwing you into a stream, it still gives you a chance to setup your camera before it goes live.
That’s the first section wrapped up, so let’s move to the next.
2. Browsing Broadcasts and More
When your first start using Periscope, there will already be a channel on this page for you to see, and that channel has some different users recording videos about one category. The channel I’m on right now is a calming one dedicated to nature and provides a serene look at it through the eyes of any Periscope enabled device.
Even though I love looking at mother nature, let’s look at a different category. At any point in time, tap the name of the channel you’re on to browse and search for others.
At the same time, press the three vertical dots on the side to hide the channel broadcasting at the top of the screen if you don’t want to see one.
After you’ve tapped the name of the channel, there’s a choice between broadcasts, places, and people. This narrows your search down to look for categories focused on certain streams, streams in select locations, and specific people to watch.
Each search works the same way, so let’s look at broadcasts. I can’t think of anything specific that I’m looking for right now, but thankfully Periscope has some suggestions for me when I tap the search bar.
There are close to 2000 people in the Talk section for broadcasts, so let’s take a look at that. After I’ve tapped on Talk, I get a list of all the live broadcasts with that theme right now. Now I can either tap any live stream I see or tap the Broadcast button to start streaming myself and add to the mix.
For now, I’m going to go back to the main broadcast menu to show you one last thing. Unlike the other pages in Periscope, on this one there’s a new icon next to the search button. Pressing it gives you the option to sort broadcasts by Suggest or Recent. By default, you’re set to see suggested broadcasts but can change this at any time.
With that out of the way, let’s move on to the third section. I promise the section second has the most options, so everything from here on out will be a cakewalk.
3. The Teleport Map
When you pick a random teleport on the first section of Periscope, this map is where you go.
Here I can see the number of live Periscope streams in any given area of the world where Periscope is available. Scroll anywhere you want on the map, and then tap any circle to get an expanded view on those streams.
In the expanded menu tap any stream you want to start watching. That’s all there really is to the map; it’s pretty intuitive to use and gives you a good scope to see where in the world Periscope is the most popular at that time of day.
4. Featured/Trending Users and Broadcasts
Lastly is where you see all of the featured users and broadcasts and anything trending on Periscope by tapping the fourth icon on the top bar of the app.
This side of Periscope is great for when you don’t know how to follow, what to watch, or just want to see what the rest of the world is streaming about. At the same time, this is where you see your Periscope profile by clicking the profile icon in the top right.
Here’s where you edit your profile details and see all of your stats on Periscope. I don’t have many stats to speak of yet, but use the service enough, and your numbers will start climbing like crazy.
That’s everything there is to see on Periscope with Android. Now that you know how to navigate, how do you start streaming?
How to Start Streaming on Periscope
The second you open the Periscope app you’re ready to stream as long as your Android camera is working. There aren’t any extra steps you need to take or any additional boxes to tick. If you’ve already made it this far; you’re ready. On three of Periscope’s main menus, tap the big red icon at the bottom of the screen to start.
Like I mentioned before, you still have time to change anything about your setup before hitting the Live button. Before you go live, you have a chance to change anything about your broadcast settings.
Here’s where you set who’s allowed to see your broadcast, the name of your broadcast, who gets alerted when you go live, and where your camera is before you start. Once everything is set, hit the button at the bottom to go live and start your broadcast!
It’s quick and easy to get started, and as long as you follow the ToS, you can stream whatever you want.
What to Stream on Periscope?
So you know how to move around the Android app, know how to use most of the features of the app, and know how to start streaming, but what are you supposed to stream? It’s easy to turn on the camera, but it isn’t always easy to figure out what to say to it. So that’s why I have a few suggestions, and so does Periscope.
1. Share Pieces of Your Life
re you go live, Periscope asks you a pretty simple question: “What’s happening?” It’s the same thing on Twitter, and it’s a great question to ask to get your gears turning. What’s happening right now? What’s happening later? What happened yesterday? There are a lot of angles to take it from, and you’re free to take any of them.
As soon as you hit that Live button, just start talking about what’s been happening lately. Whether or not someone’s watching right now, talk about your day, the day before, or even the day that’s coming up.
2. Give Viewers a Window into Your Hobbies
If you have a hobby that’s always something interesting to talk about and show off. As long as that hobby is suited for Periscope, it’s great to stream on the service. My hobby is much more suited to Twitch, but that doesn’t mean I can’t talk about it on Periscope.
3. Stream the Animals in Your Life
Have any pets that you’re proud of and want to show off? I’m sure the rest of the Periscope community would love to see them too. I’m the kind of person that can’t see a dog walking down the street without asking the owner if I can pet them, so I’m always a sucker for pets.
As long as you pet doesn’t take and run off with your Android, it’s something nice to stream on Periscope for a little while. However, I’m pretty sure a Periscope stream of a pet’s adventures running around with an Android would get a few viewers.
4. If You Travel, Stream It!
I don’t just mean traveling to new and exciting lands, even traveling down the street is something worth streaming if you feel like it. Traveling is always a category on Periscope that has some streams, so as long as you keep using the service, you’re bound to get noticed.
5. See What Other People are Streaming
Speaking of popular categories, there are always categories that are trending or just have a lot of Periscope users always streaming. When you search for broadcasts, there’s a list of what’s popular right now to give you an idea of what you want to watch or stream yourself.
After you tap a category, there’s a Broadcast button ready and waiting for you to stream in that section. Give it a try sometime if you aren’t sure what you want to stream, or are just looking to shake things up.
How to Make Your Periscope Streams Better
Like with anything, there’s always room for improvement. If you want more viewers, or just want to make your streams a better experience in general, here are a few tips that’ll put you in the right direction.
1. Find the Right Lighting
If you’re streaming in the dark, what you’re trying to show off won’t get across to anyone. If you can, make sure the room or area you’re streaming in is well lit, that way you or anything you’re showing off will be easily visible.
Before you stream, do a quick recording test to see if the light where you’re streaming is enough. No matter what Android camera you’re using, it’s going to struggle in the dark.
2. Keep the Camera Steady
Shaky footage is hard to watch and even makes people sick if they look at it for too long. That’s why it’s very important to keep your camera as steady as possible while you stream. It helps to use a stand, or even something like a selfie stick to make sure the footage isn’t jittery or all over the place.
3. Have an Idea in Mind Before Streaming
It helps to have a plan before streaming to keep yourself on topic, that way it’s harder to falter and lose your place while talking. If you think your rambling skills are up to snuff, feel free just to dive in, but it always helps to have a general idea of what you’re going to talk about before you start.
4. Make Some Audio Changes
There are a few ways to improve your audio, and one of the easiest is to buy and then connect an external microphone to your Android device. This way you’ll have more control over your sound, and hopefully cut out more background noise than you’ve been able to before.
If you’re just starting out, I recommend this fairly easy to use, and inexpensive Sony mic off of Amazon:
5. Interact With Your Audience
This is both a way to improve your streams and make people keep coming back after the stream is over. Like with any streaming service it’s easy to interact with viewers and have them interact with you.
If you’re engaged with an audience, they’ll always have a reason to stick around.
That’s all there is to Periscope on Android. It’s a streaming service just like Facebook Live that helps you get yourself across to all of your followers, and the entire audience on that social platform. Periscope is a service that’s easy to get into, and with a few tips, is easy to master.
Do you need any extra help with Periscope? We’re here to help you in any way we can, so please leave any questions or comments below!