What Periscope could be (and is not). Content consumption today and the ‘Pause’ culture.

Last Friday premiered my Periscope account. Later, sure. A streaming video while driving through the streets of Dublin heading home. Only that. About this application I only knew what I had read and the use that other users had done next to me at some point. Unlike other models of real-time communication, such as the one that can be used in ‘Mention’ within Facebook, the audience is made instantly and not so much, when also, once the broadcast ends while remaining available on deferred. In the case of Facebook the video remains in its own channel forever, but on Periscope it disappears within 24 hours. This has come to be called the ‘snapchatism’. I feel the ‘buzzword’.

In my video, about five hundred people were viewing the 7-minute tour. During the remaining hours it reached a thousand and something. By comparison, in Mention. A real-time broadcast reaches half of this Periscope, but multiples by 10 the final ‘views’ in just one day. Leaving aside the figures that might be interesting but not relevant, what I did from then on was to investigate the environment.

From the idea that on Periscope you can access to things that happen in the world in real time, being interesting or not, a maximum is moved. We do many things that do not matter the least and there are many people with a lot of free time. I interpret that this used to be the same, only that it wasn’t showing it clearly and directly. Titles such as ‘I’m getting bored,’ ‘Amuse me’ or ‘I’ll show you my tits when I get to 100 hearts (likes)’ are what’s flooding the public timeline in Periscope.

Magnifying the application would be a mistake, underestimating it also. I read that it will revolutionize journalism or television, which will change the way we consume entertainment. It is true that there are very interesting contents. Yesterday I attended a demonstration in Barcelona in real time, to the cup final thanks to someone who spent the game with his phone focused on his TV screen, Bruce Springsteen’s concert, a car accident in Michigan, the wedding of a Russian and a priest’s sermon in Sydney. At the same time I saw the midnight sun thanks to a user in Iceland that showed it on her Periscope and the status of the beaches in Guyana.

In my opinion, Periscope and its substitutes, which there are some, don’t stop being an audiovisual Twitter. In fact the acquisition of Periscope by Twitter a year ago could go in that direction. With the good and the bad that means. No, it’s not a new media just the way Twitter isn’t one also. In any case it is a tool to communicate that is different. The problem comes when we see what happens. As Twitter became a stimulus for revolutions or claims (some gives it some responsibility in the Arab Spring) right now mostly the matter loses substance when you look at the usual Trending Topics, for example.

Periscope is one more example of the fast and insubstantial communication model in most cases. But there is a change. The 140 characters in Twitter are an eternity, a book compared to what is required in this other ‘web’. In Periscope, due to the dynamic in which the comments of the ‘viewers’ last only one or two seconds on the screen, to be answered by the ‘sender’ that is getting questioned, they should be very short. I’ve seen some ‘periscopers’ require to those who are watching to ‘not write me long sentences, if it can be of only four words because otherwise I do not have time to read them’. That’s it.

But from the business and entrepreneur point of view it is interesting to examine who is affected and how. We have said several times, we are on the threshold of what is coming. Many believe that the Internet is very developed, already much more, that many more things cannot longer be generated, and that it will more or less remain like this. Recent history does not stop denying that option. To think what it means that anyone can broadcast live from a mobile what happens or is happening to him at any time and without intermediaries. Two years ago it was a pipe dream. For that person to also have tens of millions of subscribers, a few months ago was science fiction.

The media, content generators, copyright. All jumbled up. We have long known to put door to the field and to see it as useless. Right now it can’t be avoided that what someone has on his television you can see it perfectly on your device thanks to its emission through Periscope. The quality is lower but acceptable in many cases if what you are looking for is ‘just’ to know what happens. Not to mention filming without consent what occurs in real time in concerts, meetings, exhibitions, conferences, etc.

Undoubtedly the most affected again will be the media and advertising agencies. They should take note. Users of these channels do not use digital media, they live it. I’ve worked for twenty years with digital audiences in an environment or another, in media and networking, but what we now live is unprecedented and exponential. Young people classify content ‘useful or useless’ and less on ‘quality’ or ‘relevant’. These terms are not theirs, they belong to other generations.

The ‘Millennials’ classify the content under a fast, short, Manichean criterion, all valued good or bad, fashionable or not, useful or useless. No matter if it’s mostly an animated gif of something seemingly insubstantial or a sophisticated clothes ad. The assessment will come for the conditions I have outlined. No matter if the video is from great filmmaker or of his best friend. It is so.

Also they live in the ‘pause culture’. They think they can pause the relationships and interactions whenever they consider it and move it to life. Have you ever been surprised on how young people end a conversation in Whatsapp with a smiley when you least expect it and from there you farewell remains waiting for the double check for hours? They haven’t looked at it, they said goodbye, period. They live connected, right, and free, too, but in their scheme of thoughts, everything can be paused and must be open to interaction when they so desire.

There is a drift towards spaces where the content is something else, it is an imperfect amalgam of people issuing, writing, explaining and interacting as if they were their own channels. It is much more complex than Youtube is more special than Facebook or Twitter, is a huge dump of contents everywhere where quality, depth or relevance is of no importance. The matter is another one. Interacting in play or pause, it’s all the same.

(En español aquí)

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.