Periscope: What We've Learned So Far

July 30, 2015

We recently launched MIT on Periscope, which is a new social network for live video streaming. We have done a few scopes (shorthand for a Periscope video), so let us share our learnings with those of you who are also just getting started. 

1. Periscope is super new, so experimentation with the platform is expected. 

We tried scopes outside standing mostly still, but we also tried taking our viewers on a walk. We talked a lot in one and tried to talk less and show more in another. This experimentation has been great. We had a lot of viewers even on our first scope, showing that they were interested in coming along for the ride. In fact, while our first scope had about 100 viewers, our most recent one had 175 viewers and received over 1,600 hearts.

2. Interact with people. 

Periscope isn’t just about live video streaming. It’s about social live video streaming. While we are on a scope, we have many viewers who are typing comments, questions, saying hello, and giving us “hearts” (similar to “likes" on other social networks). They stop talking if they realize you’re not commenting back to them, so we made sure to give shoutouts to as many people as possible. 

3. Introduce variety into the scope. 

Viewers get bored quickly, so you do have to keep them entertained. We tried a scope in a place where we couldn’t show much, and once viewers figured they’d seen everything there was to see, they dropped off. However, in a more recent scope, we showed the Infinite Corridor and since the scenery was changing, people kept watching for more. We had many more people stay on the scope for a longer amount of time. 

4. Two heads are better than one.

We recommend having two people; one to take the video, trying not to shake too much, and the other to answer questions, give shoutouts, and share facts or things of interest. 

5. Save to camera roll. 

The scope will only last a short time, so make sure before you start a video on Periscope you first adjust your settings to save scopes automatically to your camera roll. That way you will have the video to post somewhere else (like YouTube), if you wish. However, even if you don’t want to post it elsewhere, it’s helpful to have the videos so you can watch them again and think of ways to improve. 

6. Send to Twitter. 

Allow Periscope to send an automatic tweet when you start the video. The tweet might not receive as many retweets, but because scopes are live for a short amount of time, a retweet is often too late to bring any new live viewers. Other engagement stats have been high for us. A lot of people clicked on the link in our last tweet, for example, meaning many live viewers came from Twitter. 

Posted By
Stephanie Hatch Leishman

Stephanie Hatch Leishman

Former MIT Social Media Strategist

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Emer Garland

Communications Specialist
Communication Production Services

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