My thoughts on Persicope after the first week of drawing live

So I thought I would take a few minutes to recap on my first week on Periscope after almost 30 scopes. This is not about giving advice, just a bit of a reflection on my experiences.

Let’s get one thing clear there are no Periscope experts….it’s too young. Everyone is still bumbling their way through it making mistakes and finding what works (and what doesn’t).

I lost it when I saw a ‘social media ninja’ posting ‘Top #periscope tips for growing followers’ ON HIS FIRST SCOPE.

This is the type of person to avoid at all costs and on all platforms not just Periscope.

Anyways enough ranting…

Why I’m using Periscope?

For most of 2015 I’ve been on a self-imposed social media hiatus…in fact I haven’t been working at all.

In that time I have been spending every spare second drawing and ‘honing my craft’.

About just over a month ago I started getting back into Instagram as it is a natural home for visual people and I fell back in love with social…not for any specific purpose but just for the love of creating, sharing and connecting with people.mI had lost this on Twitter and it was lost a long time ago on LinkedIn for me nut Instagram aligned with my new passion for drawing.

I just checked and in the last 6 weeks I’ve posted 200 images to Instagram — just to put it in context, that’s 1/3 of my posts I’ve posted in the 2 1/2 years I’ve been on Instagram.

Since the Manny Pacquiao/Floyd Mayweather fight I’ve been keeping an eye on Periscope and Meerkat but neither had any appeal at the time.

That was until I started to realise something on Instagram. The posts that got the most engagement were the works in progress pics. People liked seeing the end result but they like seeing how the drawing is created, where it’s created and with what pens and paper. I could post a pic of drawing I’ve done and it’d get 100 likes but if I broke that down into 3 or 4 #WIP posts the same one peice of content could get up to 300 likes combined. Same drawing just a little more sharing.

That’s when Periscope started to make sense to me. I remember hearing Gary Vaynerchuk talk in London a few years back about how important access to people was going to become for success on social. Something he was applying and probably one of the reasons he invested in Meerkat — and tried to invest in Periscope (he missed out by a week!!). While this idea has been embraced by high-profilepersonailies, apps like Periscope and Meerkat start to make it more relevant and widely accessible to the masses.

All of a sudden Periscope used in conjunction with Instagram made sense…as I say on my Instagram profile:

I thought I’m already drawing a lot, I’ll stick an iPad in front of me and if you’re interested come along.

This doodle sums up Periscope for me

What ends up happening is I get into some awesome conversations on topics ranging from hip hop to suffragettes, and from creativity to pain management.

In one of my earliest scopes I got into a conversation with Laura Lucas that went seriously off-piste, talking about white Scottish guys (me) rapping to Mos Def and sharing our skinny white asses you can’t see from behind. You had to be there but it was awesome….so I drew a sketch for Laura :)

From very early on I decided to give away everything that I create on Periscope and the engagement levels rocketed.

This is one of the first paintings I gave away to Grant:

If I could I would share the scope that Chloe posted when she received her drawing I would as it was just so lovely — alas it has evaporated into the Periscope ether.

So What Do I Think About Periscope?

You can tell a lot about a person by the first page of their phone :)

After 30 posts in a week I am starting to get the hang of it.

Do I know who will win out of Meerkat and Periscope? No. Do I care? Not really. In any instance it’s too early to be making any meaningful predictions. It’s just as likely that they are both blown out of the water by something else.

Is it as transformative, innovative and disruptive as many in the tech press would lead us to believe? Probably not, I think it will play a pat in a wider chipping away at established institutions and was of thinking.

All I can say is that I like it, as of this morning it now sits on the front page of both my iPhone and iPad but the notifications are never being switched back on…they lasted a day!

Here are a few specifics:

It’s a strange dynamic

The format of live streaming offered by Periscope with real-time comments can create some really weird dynamics at both ends of the scope — for scoper and scopee (I just made those up).

If you are the scoper it can be hard to concentrate on what you are saying while reading all the comments coming in and acknowledging them, as you wouldn’t want to be rude and ignore your fans/followers/tribes [delete as appropriate]. This can result in a rather disjoined, rambling, ADHD-esque monologue.

And I say monologue and not dialogue because it is only ever one person talking at a time, which can get irritating.

I have been a scopee on others scopes and I find myself laughing along and wanting to talk back to them but then having to grab my phone or ipad and laboriously type in a comment….by which time the moment has passed or they’re talking about something else.

This will just take a little bit of getting used to and everyone will find their own rhythm and style.

However, let’s remember….

Do you remember the days when Facebook and Twitter were more social than they were media? Those days were fun…Periscope is a little like that at the moment but you can already see people bastardising it.

Let’s just have fun people and be social!

Yes I understand that it is an investment of time and energy and at some point you may have to make a business decision involving ROI and your resources but hold off just a while.

Experiment, play around with it. most importnatly work out if it is for you (and/or your business).

Face for radio?

Here’s the thing…it’s not going to be for everyone. I see a lot of people feeling they should be on it, being pressured by those around them to get involved and when they do they have nothing of interest to say. Or, they don’t have the right personality for it. It’s harsh but it’s true — not everyone is suited to video and especially not when it is live and in the moment.

Don’t force it.

No matter what the platform is, it is important that you are comfortable on it and that it suits you, and you it. I have spoken with a lot of people and they are cajoled into say blogging or tweeting but it’s not the right medium for them and it sucks out all the passion and energy from them. It robs them of what makes them unique.

Raw, unpolished and beautiful

The beauty (and power) of Periscope lies in its low production values.

Video traditionally comes with high expectations (on both ends). The expectations are probably higher for woman who are expected to always look their best, with hair and makeup looking immaculate. However, those who really understand Periscope realise this isn’t what matters….in fact as two fantastic ladies Kim Garst and Sue Zimmerman have shown; turning up on Periscope without makeup can increase your connection with followers.

A very quick, rough sketch of Kim Garst

This is a principle I have embraced with my drawings. Instead of looking to draw the best picture I’m learning to switch off my inner perfectionist. Yes it means that some of the pictures I send off to people aren’t the best, but they have a certain energy and meaning about them from being created in the moment, often live in front of the person.

I tagged the people Kim was recommending on the scope in the pic I posted on Instagram and as such am now drawing them as well. Most recently was the fantastic Chocolate Johnny. Now there are a lot of gurus out there giving you advice but if you’re a small business wondering how you could use Periscope in your marketing you could do a lot worse than pay close attention to what Johnny is doing at Perfection Chocolates.

It is a place where your unique angle and personality can truly shine

You’ve probably heard the saying (paraphrased here) that while there are lots of people doing what you do they can’t do you. You bring your own unique angle and perspective to the world.

You may well have seen it posted on Facebook created quickly by someone in Wordswag or Canva. While it can seem like a banal platitude that is banded about by coaches and social media experts, it is true and understanding it is critical to success in business. Social media has always offered the opportunity for those who people who understand it to show their real selves. For me Periscope offers the best, and most authentic way to do this.

As Sue Zimmerman said on a scope over the weekend it is all about bringing your true unfiltered smile, energy and passion.

From the feedback from my followers, this is what I do well. It’s hard to not to sound bighead or egotistical but I have the self-awareness to know that my personality is well suited to Periscope.

In fact, this post was originally blurted out on a scope while I walked home on Friday in the glorious Dublin sunshine after doing a quick scope of me live sketching a lovely little pub.

That’s another thing. Anyone who has consistently written blog posts knows it is very time consuming. Drafts of posts can sit for weeks constantly being tweaked and edited. If you are the type of person who does have something interesting to say and always have ideas popping in to your head for post but you never get around to them, then Periscope could be for you.

I am a big believer that the same message delivered through different mediums can have significantly different impacts. Something that is supposed to come across as funny or whimsical can come across as arrogant in a written blog post. But stick that person on a podcast or infront of a camera andthe whole dynamic changes.

And hey if the scope is shit it doesn’t matter as it disappears in 24 hours :)


While I have bigger followings on Twitter or Instagram I have gotten more ‘engagement’ on Periscope.

It has been fantastic for establishing new connections and relationships as well as cementing existing ones.

My favourite scope I’ve done was when I sketched Kountry Boy Troy from @CommunityTvTube. The energy on the scope was just amazing…my love heart count jumped from just under 3,000 to almost 30,000 in that one scope there was just so much excitement.

[I draw the Periscope hearts on every envelope I send out]

A Little Advice…

This was never intended to be an article giving advice, I’m just bumbling my way through it like everyone else. However, there are some common traits I’m seeing in those who are crushing it.


While there will always be an appetite for the voyeuristic consumption of video of people sitting about doing nothing it gets boring very quickly.

The antidote — create.

Whatever it is you create, look to do so in a unique and interesting way.

There is so much scope (get it?) for talent to be discovered on Periscope.


Share your experiences and surroundings…bring people in to your world. A world that they may not be able to access otherwise.

Check out Derek Cowan as he scopes his trip through Vietnam:

If you are creating; share your process, share your thinking, share your work.


I’ve said it before but this is an overarching one.

Yes it is interesting to gain access to celebs but it is equally interesting seeing behind the scenes of how Chocolate Johnny makes his awesome chocolate.

Anyways, that ended up being WAY longer than I planned but I enjoyed it, and that’s all that matters.

I’ll be on Periscope all this week so pop on over and say hi and we can discuss any of this in more detail and I’m sure my thinking will change as I play around with it more.

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