7 things : ‘Scoping it

periscope screen shot

By Blaire Moskowitz

A couple of weeks ago, across museum-industry digital media and marketing departments, lots of us uttered the same words. “We could Periscope or Meerkat this!” It happened at the Blanton and National Gallery of Scotland and it’s fun to see all of us trying these live-streaming apps concurrently as there is a lot to learn from each other, as well as from other digital media folks. This past week alone, we’ve seen live streams of the atrium at Smithsonian Air and Space, the Hall of Remembrance at the US Holocaust Museum, and a tour with visitors who are visually impaired at the Museo Del Prado. While the production quality was low, there was a certain charm to these – almost like the nostalgia of a home movie. The unpolished factor juxtaposes the standard “clean” and poised look for which we typically strive.

We took a slightly different approach and Periscope’d (is that a word yet?) our panel on teens & digital media at Museums and the Web. Sofie Andersen, Antenna’s digital strategist hosted and our panelists were Barry Joseph from The American Museum of Natural History, Hillary Cook of The Art Institute of Chicago and Chelsea Emelie Kelly of The Milwaukee Art Museum, all of whom thankfully agreed to be part of our little social media experiment. You can see the presentation slides here.


Our intrepid #MW2015 panelists


In all, Periscope was great and presents us with a wonderful, easy, low tech opportunity. Last week, we live-steamed this presentation in Chicago, tomorrow, we plan to try streaming from MuseumNext in Geneva, and next week, its American Alliance of Museums in Atlanta. Our peers from around the world can listen to presentations they wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise.

I chose Periscope and it was easy to use – would recommend it.  But, I say this with a caveat – there is a limited audience for this because a. its only available live so people can’t watch later, b. less people have it, and c. people who may be interested in the lecture maybe be in concurrent lectures if at a conference and not watching, therefore the engagement rates are lower than what you might be used to live-tweeting on Twitter.  This can pretty much be attributed to being an early adapter, but nevertheless something of which to be aware. I’ve put together a few helpful hints below and am eager to hear about others’ experiences.

Periscope vs. Meerkat

1. I chose Periscope for two reasons – the app only needs iOS7 and took up less room, whereas Meerkat needed iOS8 and took up more room. So, although Meerkat has been in game longer, in this case it was mostly convenience and the link up to twitter appealed to us.

periscope screen shot

Before the lecture

2. Make sure you test the app first – during my first trial (a few days before) I realized that the default setting was not to announce the start of a broadcast on Twitter. Make sure to change that setting so as soon as it starts, your Twitter feed sends out a “Live on Periscope Tweet”.

3. You’ll need to do a bit of outreach to get people to sign on as the stream is happening. We had a bunch of retweets that we were going to be doing this, but less people actually watched. We did periscope on the last day of #MW2015, which was also a beautiful Saturday, so many people had either left to see Millennium Park or to catch a flight – I wonder if more people would watch if it was during business hours.

4. Make sure your phone is fully charged! Periscope ran through my battery after two hours. An external battery would have been good to have available.


twitter periscope

Tweeting it out


During the lecture

5. I held my phone for the entirety of the 2 hour lecture. It wasn’t bad, and I tried to have it steady. If you can get a phone tripod, that would be beneficial. Since we were doing this at a conference, I was able to put my laptop on a chair next to me and live stream it as I filmed (to ensure everything was running smoothly). At one point, there was pixilation on the laptop screen – a simple refresh solved this, but not sure what happened there.

6. Periscope has a 40 second delay from filming to broadcast.

7.You can only shoot vertically.




- author