Three Things That Drive This Old PR Pro To Periscope Community Summit

The Periscope Community Summit kicks off this evening in San Francisco, the second such user-generated conference around the Twitter-owned app in less than six months. More than 1,000 users are expected to be there. And this old PR pro, with a background in traditional business and public affairs/policy communications, will be one of them.

I’ve been doing volunteer PR for the summit, though I think may be a fish out of water there. I expect it will be a much different experience than anything else that’s related to my professional life. But despite that, I’m excited about going, and here’s why:

1. I Like How Live Streaming Works. Apple said Periscope was the best iPhone app of 2015, and the recent change to make the app integrate better with Twitter make Periscope even more valuable.

For people who want to have bigger audiences, Periscope and live streaming offer so much potential, if they can be honest, engaging and personable. That’s why people who are good at podcasts, Twitter and online chats move quickly to being good at live streaming too. Three favorites (with links to their Twitter handles):

  • Business self-help author and speaker Jon Acuff. When Acuff gets on Periscope, within seconds the room is full. He answers questions and puts his advice into real world context so people can have something to take away and work on.
  • Personal finance columnist Michele Singletary. She brings personality with a capital “P.” Singletary laughs with (and sometimes at) her audience and herself as she dispenses advice that harkens back to common sense from her “Big Mama” grandmother.
  • Investing site The Motley Fool and daily podcast Market Foolery. It’s not easy to make stock investing engaging, but Motley Fool does it. My only quibble is that too many of the scopes are mere taping of the podcasts, leaving out the chance to interact with smart and witty experts like Chris Hill, Jason Moser and Morgan Housel.

2. I’ll learn something new. Until summit founder Ryan Bell showed up last spring at the PR firm I was working for, I’d never heard of Periscope. I could instantly see how it might be fun and at the same point useful in the professional sense.

Internet entrepreneur Joel Comm, who is giving the opening keynote to the Summit, told me last week that the enthusiasm among early adopters for live streaming is like what he saw in the mid 1990s when people started building web sites. I didn’t do that then, so I ought to get on board now, right? After all, Conn’s also been a best-selling author and app developer (I like the former, I’m not sure all of his latter work would have won approval from home folks.)

3. I’ll Have Some Fun. Sometimes my work demands seriousness, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But the people at Periscope Community Summit — and some of the people enjoying Periscope the most — are people that I’ve never run across in my other worlds at all.

I think of Ms. Candy Blog, who scopes about, duh, candy. There’s a guy who does scopes as a sock puppet — with a huge audience! And Danica McKellar, a mathematician and author who is known to many as Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years, will be at the Summit to talk about her experiences with it.

So maybe an old dog can learn some new tricks and have some fun in the process. If you’re free this weekend and can get to San Francisco, come join me.

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