Easy guide to the Periscope video streaming app

Periscope appI did a search today on Google Trends comparing Periscope and Meerkat. For the moment at least, it looks like Periscope is getting more traction.

google trends periscope or meetkat

What’s new
A lot has changed with Periscope since my last post on streaming video apps. In fact, they just announced some big changes at the six week mark on their Medium blog.

  • You don’t have to use Twitter to join Periscope. I still recommend it if you have a Twitter acct as Periscope can leverage the social graph to spread the word about your video stream, but if you don’t have a Twitter account you can simply sign up with just a mobile phone number.
  • Tap your avatar on Periscope to change your profile photo.
  • Reply to comments in your broadcast directly by tapping the comment and then hitting reply. Replies will include the person’s @handle.
  • Blocking a follower is now posted in the chat too, so people can see who the troublemakers are!
  • Your follower list is now sorted by date instead of alphabetically. I’m not sure that one is an improvement.
  • Your broadcasts page shows you all of your past broadcasts

Get to the how-to
The app is fairly intuitive but a few things have been making people crazy, so here goes.

Start by downloading Periscope from the iTunes store (No Android yet!)

Sign in with your Twitter acct (preferred) or your mobile phone number

Create your username. You are not required to use your Twitter handle but if you have a following there it’s a good idea. It just makes it easy for people to find you. Mine’s @jfouts. At the moment your username is permanent. Choose wisely.

periscopeOnce logged in you see a magnifying glass in the upper left corner of the screen. This allows you to search people by user name and if the user name includes a keyword you’ll find them too.

On the right is your profile icon. Click it.

  • Tap the text on your bio to edit it. Sorry, no HTML allowed yet.
  • Tap your avatar to change that image.
  • Down the page you’ll also see your following, followers, blocked and past broadcasts.
  • Click settings to choose to be notified when you get a new follower and if you want to auto save your broadcasts to your camera roll. I recommend yes as Periscope doesn’t seem to always save broadcasts.
  • Below settings is the “Share Periscope” button which allows you to share a link to your channel on other networks. Do this when you are ready for more followers!
  • There is also a link to the Help center. Browse that to get up to speed quickly and make your first broadcast as smooth as possible.

In the bottom right corner is an icon of people. Who you follow is what makes this platform interesting so go browse a bit and find a few people you really want to see. You followed them on Twitter so they are probably a good choice right?

To the left of that is a square with a bubble in it. This launches the broadcasting icon. See below.

The icon of the globe shows all of the current live broadcasts around the world. Some of these are just people messing around, but you may find some gems so do check it out.


  • To start a broadcast click the broadcast icon.
  • Enter your title first. If you start the broadcast before you do, there won’t be a title showing on your broadcast. (Lesson learned!). Make your title catchy and clickable! If you are broadcasting location specific, from a conference or to market your restaurant, think about putting the location in the title.
  • The icons at the bottom from left to right; allow your location to be broadcast, make your broadcast private, allow only users you follow to chat , share your live link on Twitter.
  • I prefer to allow only users I follow on Periscope to chat as this blocks of 99% of the trolls and negative comments. If you still get a lot you may consider un following or blocking those people.
  • FYI, if you block someone the block is shared with the rest of the participants in the chat. This is a step toward reducing the spam and trollage.
  • Please do respond to comments live while broadcasting. This shows you care about your viewers and helps make it more interesting for everybody. Think about doing and Ask Me Anything show.
  • When you are broadcasting think about audio quality and background noise. Think about holding the camera steady.
  • Periscope is created to broadcast vertically. This limits the screen people can see and while not optimal in most cases, it is what it is. If you try to broadcast horizontally it will be displayed as a teensy weensy video cropped to fit the vertical screen.

When you choose to share your broadcast to Twitter a post goes out like this letting your Twitter followers and the world know you’re live. When users click the link they’ll have the option of viewing on the web or opening periscope and watching there. Remember only users watching on the app can comment or give hearts.

Periscope tweet live

Saving and watching your Periscope video later
Periscope only saves public broadcasts for 24 hours on the “Watch” tab. A viewer can still watch the broadcast and add hearts for that 24 hour period. If the broadcast isn’t saved for replay the user will only see a summary of the broadcast including the title, time and location (if you chose to share it). If you don’t want this to be shown, view your broadcast on the watch page and swipe left to delete it.

Saving your video to the camera roll allows you to upload it to another platform, share it on Youtube and embed it in a website. Comments and viewers do not show if the version saved to your camera roll.

Viewing broadcasts
Watching someone’s public broadcast is easy. Follow their link and open the broadcast in a browser or in Periscope. If in Periscope you can comment and give hearts. In the browser you can only view the video as a live stream.

If viewing on Periscope consider commenting to add value to the broadcast. Ask questions. Be positive. Remember, you’re in public. Add hearts to show the love to the broadcaster and support them. Share the show on Twitter or other platforms.

Follower management
Finding people to follow is easy. Start by following your smart, savvy Twitter friends. Then do some searches for things you are interested in. For example Food and Wine magazine, Huffington Post, NBC, CNN and Ford are some obvious ones.

Find people your friends follow. Click on their profile and go to the link that lists who they follow. See if there are some there you are interested in.

See someone who is posting great comments? Follow them by tapping the comment. This takes you to their profile and you can add them there. Note: the broadcast continues to play behind the pop-up containing the bio. Click close to go back to the show.

At the moment comments stay on Periscope. They are not shared on Twitter or anywhere else. That would be a cool feature though!

The most loved list
Most loved is a list of Periscope users who got the most hearts on their show. Hearts are relative to “likes” on Facebook. A user simply taps the screen during a broadcast or a replay and sends hearts to the host. The ones who have gotten the most hearts show up on the most loved list.

Just because someone got a lot of hearts doesn’t mean they are worth a follow. You will se a lot of gaming of this with people broadcasting “Will trade hearts for hearts!!!!!” etc. Don’t do this. Just don’t!

All in all Periscope is shaping up to be a very cool way to expand your reach and have fun. Give it a try and let me know what your experience has been in the comments.

  • barkway

    Have the Periscope app. Can’t see how other viewers are commenting during broadcast I was viewing. There is no area/function for me to add a comment.

  • Look for the “Say Something” box at the bottom of your screen to bring up the keyboard add a comment.

  • Lindsay Halstead

    I have to get a new cell phone because mine was submerged under water for awhile. I downloaded Periscope to my iPad but I don’t see how I can bring up my original account/profile. Am I going to start all over once I get my new phone? Also, how can I access my account from the app on my iPad?

  • My issue has been that this is only available to those that have an Apple product. For it to really be wide-spread it has to be available on all platforms. Hopefully there are Android, Google, and Window apps in the works.

  • When you re-download your apps you should be good to go Lindsay. You can download it for your ipad and log into the same acct.

  • Kasia

    How can I make the transmission and see the comments in one time?

  • kevnad1966

    The VERY first time I watched a Periscope broadcast on my Android phone, I did see that “Say something”, but have not seen it since, and mostly I do watch the broadcasts live, so not sure what’s going on there…

  • Android is available too.

  • I think on Android it may be swipe to the left for comments, but then again it may be swipe right….

  • Ken McCreary

    When I save my broadcast and watch it back, I don’t see the chat! It is not set on hide chat. Has anyone had this problem or know about it? Is there something separate I need to do to save chat with the broadcast? Thanks for any help.

  • Dan

    I want to advertise my profile/channel. The link I get when I use “Share Periscope” is NOT to my personal profile. How can I do that?

  • Donna

    Periscope won’t save my scopes any more. Very frustrating. I have an android, I have uninstalled and installed it and cleared my phone of cookies etc. It used to save them and even with that option selected, it freezes when I stop broadcast. Any solutions?

  • The chat doesn’t carry over to replays.

  • As far as I know the only way to do this is to post your Periscope username and have people search for you there.

  • That has to be annoying! It’ sounds like you’ve done everything right. Here’s the contact info for their support team. contact@periscope.tv or tap “send feedback” when in the app.

  • Donna

    Thank you!

  • What color should the icon be to receive the notifications when someone is broadcasting?

  • Sherry I’m not clear on what your question is?

  • Thanks for great tips, Janet…appreciate your words of Periscope wisdom!

  • Macy

    When I do a broadcast, it gives me the list of live viewers and then says “10 more live viewers”. How do I access who those 10 people are? When I try to click it, nothing happens. Thanks!

  • Frank Verderosa

    Thanks for this rundown! I’m new to Periscope and love it- but I’m not able to see comments or likes when broadcasting. Am I missing something? Thanks.

  • RLC

    If I don’t have to use Twitter to join periscope how to I get to periscope? Also how can I put a hyperlink on a webpage to a periscope account?

  • Beach

    I did a broadcast and in the middle of it you could no longer hear anyone speaking. You could see them but no voices. What do you think went wrong

  • I would guess that’s a bandwidth issue or a faulty microphone.

  • Those viewers may be watching on the web and you won’t have access to their usernames.

  • mmh

    My Periscope followers list shows about 7 followers and says “38 More” at the bottom. Why can’t I see them (to block them if I so choose)?

  • I believe that means 38 more have watched your broadcast but are not Periscope users. Therefore you can’t block them. The Periscope team is really great on Twitter, ping them at @periscopehelp for a more detailed answer.

  • Mark Xcal

    Hello. I have a problem with my Periscope when I live stream my video It always comes up with Unfortunately Periscope has stopped. Can anyone please help. Thank you

  • Hi Mark, it’s kind of hard for me to be sure but I’d guess it’s a bandwidth issue or something is hinky a bout the app. Try uninstalling and re-installing and check to see you have strong connection speed. You can also reach out to Periscope through their help page. https://help.periscope.tv

  • Mark Xcal

    Thank you for getting back. I want to broadcast myself on video It’s that which don’t work. I tried Uninstalling it and re-installing no good. my Internet speed is very fast. I use a tablet Asus android 5.0 don’t know If that’s because It was not expensive one no Idea.

    Thank you Janet

  • Sally Oh

    When I’m on my profile (click the lower right people icon, then the upper right person icon), I can’t scroll down to see my followers (that’s where they are?) I don’t see a settings button anywhere, can you tell me exactly where that is? Sorry to be such a dope on this!

    Also, where do I find my broadcasts to upload to YouTube? Or to download them and edit?

    Thank you!

  • Zach

    Just called about periscope and she answered all my questions, Thanks ! #janetfouts

  • Happy to help Zach

  • Sarah Prince

    I can’t figure out how to join a chat. I don’t see any “say something” in the screen; tapping a comment only gets me to the writer’s profile. (iPhone user) is there something simple I’m missing?

  • Sarah Prince

    Duh… I was watching replays. It actually works while live.

  • Danielle Brown

    How do I get the scrolling bar with my info at the top of my periscope screen? I have also seen added pictures on the screen of a live video. How do they do that?

  • Hi Danielle, Periscope has an excellent help site. Check it out here: https://help.periscope.tv/

  • Nimisha Ray

    Hey Janet, Really a good piece of info on live streaming to periscope. Appreciate your words.

  • Zafir

    Is not it permissible to broadcast periscope matches here?

  • rosedaphne

    That’s really great info regarding periscope live streaming