I’ve been livestreaming for over a year, beginning on Periscope after hearing a few people mention. Like the majority of those who Periscope, my first “scope” (term used for first livestream on Periscope) was with the back camera of my phone showing my surroundings, specifically traffic on the Long Island Expressway in the rain. I quickly got the hang of Periscope which has been through so many updates that as I write this, there’s likely some new feature being worked on that’ll be in the next update pushed out.
In a year’s time a lot has changed in the livestreaming landscape. Periscope has listened to its users’ needs and requests and the app has improved greatly. There have also been a number of app based competitors (YouNow, MyWay, MeVee, Busker, Live.Me) who have sprung up while others have gone by the wayside (MeerKat). That said, the closely knit community of Periscope has expanded to other streaming options; the one which has seen the largest use is Facebook Live.
I’m often asked what are the differences between Facebook Live and Periscope. While there are quite a few, there are three which I feel are the key differentiating factors in selecting the platform which is right for you.
1. Building a following
Well the mass majority have been on Facebook for years. How many friends do you have? These friends quickly turn into viewers as you stream directly from your Facebook profile. Viewers will see the stream with you in motion and all they have to do is click in to listen. It’s that simple to gain viewers.
With Periscope, you must add the app and then build a following, most likely from strangers. Sure, you could follow those who you know from Twitter (Twitter is integrated in Periscope as the company purchased the app); they may follow you back…or not–they might not be using Periscope. There’s always the hope that your friends or family may spot you in their Twitter feed (if they follow you on Twitter) as there’s the option to share a Periscope to Twitter which shows the stream in motion (much like Facebook Live does).
I have had former coworkers and friends who never joined Periscope watch Facebook Live broadcasts. As a result, it shaped the broadcast with a very personal tone, creating a conversation between them and me. Facebook Live was the first time they got to see what I do and thanks to it, my friends in real life have a peek into my live streaming life.
2. How deep is your love?
Facebook Live features the six emoticon options to choose from when viewing a live stream. These 6 options are specific and allows the broadcaster (the person who is live streaming) insight into the audience’s mind and hearts as the viewer selects an emoticon and taps on the screen. While there is also the option to write in comments to communicate with the broadcaster and other viewers, the way the circles filled with emoticons pop up and float is quite magical. It should be also mentioned that Facebook Live shows the viewer’s face before showing the emoticons, another feature which further serves to inform the broadcaster of who in the audience is engaged.
On Periscope, love is demonstrated by hearts. In the early days of Periscope, people made a very big deal about the number of hearts they had. There are even services where you can buy hearts (and followers) which is looked down upon. By tapping on the screen, a stream of hearts can be created. Colors of the hearts vary, with the color correlating to a viewer; each viewer’s profile picture appears next to their comments with the heart color for the background. There can be more than one of each color and therefore, it isn’t helpful to the broadcaster; just visually appealing. Periscope has had fun with the heart feature over the years, adding a variety of shape options in accordance with holidays or events. Perhaps the most memorable shape used was Stephen Colbert’s head to celebrate Periscope creator, Kayvon Beykpour’s appearance on the The Stephen Colbert Show.
While people count total number of hearts given on Periscope, I’ve not heard Facebook Live broadcasters discuss number/type of emoticons total. And I don’t think an overall number is being tracked…yet.
I created a Periscope show called “Candy Reviews by You” where the viewers select the candy which will be reviewed. By asking the audience to tap on the screen, the hearts indicate that which the audience prefers. The audience thereby feels vested in and continues to view the broadcast, now with greater interest. Now a featured regular on Facebook Live’s first variety show, The JennyQ Show, I’m using the same technique of engagement, asking the audience to share emoticons to tell me which piece of candy they’d like to see reviewed.
3. Sharing the stage
While new to the world of live streaming, Facebook Live has taken the lead and will allow 2 people to appear on screen at once. The feature has expanded the possibilities of live streaming with it taking the place of meetings and interviews.
For the time being, Periscope is a one (wo)man show.
If you have the wherewithal and know how, you can use things like wirecast to bring people in and out of a Facebook Live and more than one person on the screen in Periscope.
I’m currently a featured regular on Facebook Live’s first variety show, The JennyQ Show, which brings 6 people total live into a Facebook Live broadcast Wednesday nights at 9pm EST.
Facebook Live and Periscope are two key players in an ever changing landscape and growing market of live streaming. As live streaming gains steam in popularity and use, so too will the features and capabilities. And by the time you read this article, there’s likely to be a new feature which will change the capabilities greatly, creating opportunities for collaboration.