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The next big thing? What the heck is this Periscope, anyway?

Periscope is emerging as the clear favorite new app, but what exactly is it and why you really need to know more about it.





All of these new live streaming tools make your head spin

Twitter has made their preference for Periscope (over Meerkat) clear, but what does Periscope actually do? If you haven’t heard about it yet, it’s slated to be the next best thing in the Twitter world.

periscope appPeriscope lets you set up a live video shoot, adding a title, and your current location, if you choose. Then, when you start the broadcast, your followers on Periscope will receive a notification to watch. All they need to do see your stream instantly, is touch the provided link.

During your live video broadcast, viewers can comment, or like the video. These are visible instantly. You can see comments on your phone and other viewers can see them as they are typed, allowing you to instant chat over your broadcast, as it happens.

Viewers can also “like” your video, by hovering, or pressing, anywhere on the screen. Once a video is liked, a heart icon will float up for everyone to see, spurring conversation on further.

The video lives on after the broadcast

Once your broadcast is finished, you can either save the video to your camera roll, or make it available for viewers to see and replay. This allows viewers that missed the original broadcast to see the video for up to 24 hours after you post it.

When you think about this in the larger context, this allows anyone to make live streaming easy and accessible, anywhere. Concerts, games, movies, parties, and more can all “go live” now with Periscope.


periscope app

In one way, this has the potential to be amazing by allowing viewers to see what it’s like to party in China, or attend a concert in Berlin, but on the other hand, this has the potential to be viral, in the worst since of the word. At least with YouTube, users had to wait for the video to upload; with Periscope all those questions choices in college are going to go live instantly.

I see Periscope as a little bit like Instagram meets YouTube

There are plenty of videos to chat about, just like YouTube, but there’s more of an Instagram-type following. The videos come up fairly fast, since they are live feeds, so it’s a bit chaotic right now, as it is so new. As Periscope loads, pulling down will refresh the list of videos rather quickly and it is easy to accidentally refresh the stream when you are actually trying to tap on a specific stream thereby losing the stream completely in the refresh.

You can also post your Periscopes to your Twitter followers (sound like Meerkat?), by tapping the Twitter icon before you start broadcasting. If you forget to select this icon, only Periscope users will see your broadcast. Again, like the Instagram following I mentioned, Periscope will suggest people for you to follow. You can see these suggestions under the “people” heading.


periscope app

If you only want to share your broadcast with certain people, only friends and family for instance, you can do that as well. Simply select the people you want to see your broadcast and they’ll get a notification to view and they will be the only people to see.

Right now, Periscope is still a bit rough around the edges, but with full support from Twitter, I expect it to get a bit more polished soon.


Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

Social Media

Zillow launches real estate brokerage after eons of swearing they wouldn’t

(MEDIA) We’ve warned of this for years, the industry funded it, and Zillow Homes brokerage has launched, and there are serious questions at hand.



zillow group

Zillow Homes was announced today, a Zillow licensed brokerage that will be fully operational in 2021 in Phoenix, Tucson, and Atlanta.

Whoa, big huge yawn-inducing shocker, y’all.

We’ve been warning for more than a decade that this was the end game, and the company blackballed us for our screams (and other criticisms, despite praise when merited here and there).

Blog posts were penned in fiery effigy calling naysayers like us stupid and paranoid.

Well color me unsurprised that the clarity of the gameplan was clear as day all along over here, and the paid talking heads sent out to astroturf, gaslight, and threaten us are now all quiet.

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Social Media

We watched The Social Dilemma – here are some social media tips that stuck with us

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Here are some takeaways from watching Netflix’s The Social Dilemma that helped me to eliminate some social media burnout.



Neon social media like heart with a 0

Last weekend, I made the risky decision to watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix. I knew it was an important thing to watch, but the risk was that I also knew it would wig me out a bit. As much as I’m someone who is active “online,” the concept of social media overwhelms me almost more than it entertains (or enlightens) me.

The constant sharing of information, the accessibility to information, and the endless barrage of notifications are just a few of the ways social media can cause overwhelm. The documentary went in deeper than this surface-level content and got into the nitty gritty of how people behind the scenes use your data and track your usage.

Former employees of high-profile platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, and Pinterest gave their two cents on the dangers of social media from a technological standpoint. Basically, our data isn’t just being tracked to be passed along for newsletters and the like. But rather, humans are seen as products that are manipulated to buy and click all day every day in order to make others money and perpetuate information that has astronomical effects. (I’m not nearly as intelligent as these people, so watch the documentary to get the in-depth look at how all of this operates.)

One of the major elements that stuck with me was the end credits of The Social Dilemma where they asked interviewees about the ways they are working to eliminate social media overwhelm in their own lives. Some of these I’ve implemented myself and can attest to. Here’s a short list of things you can do to keep from burning out online.

  1. Turn off notifications – unless there are things you need to know about immediately (texts, emails, etc.) turn it off. Getting 100 individual notifications within an hour from those who liked your Instagram post will do nothing but burn you (and your battery) out.
  2. Know how to use these technologies to change the conversation and not perpetuate things like “fake news” and clickbait.
  3. Uninstall apps that are wasting your time. If you feel yourself wasting hours per week mindlessly scrolling through Facebook but not actually using it, consider deleting the app and only checking the site from a desktop or Internet browser.
  4. Research and consider using other search tools instead of Google (one interviewee mentioned that Qwant specifically does not collect/store your information the way Google does).
  5. Don’t perpetuate by watching recommended videos on YouTube, those are tailored to try and sway or sell you things. Pick your own content.
  6. Research the many extensions that remove these recommendations and help stop the collection of your data.

At the end of the day, just be mindful of how you’re using social media and what you’re sharing – not just about yourself, but the information you’re passing along from and to others. Do your part to make sure what you are sharing is accurate and useful in this conversation.

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Social Media

WeChat ban blocked by California judge, but for how long?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) WeChat is protected by First Amendment concerns for now, but it’s unclear how long the app will remain as pressure mounts.



WeChat app icon on an iPhone screen

WeChat barely avoided a US ban after a Californian judge stepped in to temporarily block President Trump’s executive order. Judge Laurel Beeler cited the effects of the ban on US-based WeChat users and how it threatened the First Amendment rights of those users.

“The plaintiffs’ evidence reflects that WeChat is effectively the only means of communication for many in the community, not only because China bans other apps, but also because Chinese speakers with limited English proficiency have no options other than WeChat,” Beeler wrote.

WeChat is a Chinese instant messaging and social media/mobile transaction app with over 1 billion active monthly users. The WeChat Alliance, a group of users who filed the lawsuit in August, pointed out that the ban unfairly targets Chinese-Americans as it’s the primary app used by the demographic to communicate with loved ones, engage in political discussions, and receive news.

The app, along with TikTok, has come under fire as a means for China to collect data on its users. U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has stated, “At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations.”

This example is yet another symptom of our ever-globalizing society where we are learning to navigate between connectivity and privacy. The plaintiffs also pointed out alternatives to an outright ban. One example cited was in Australia, where WeChat is now banned from government officials’ phones but not others.

Beeler has said that the range in alternatives to preserving national security affected her decision to strike down the ban. She also explained that in regards to dealing with national security, there is “scant little evidence that (the Commerce Department’s) effective ban of WeChat for all US users addresses those concerns.”

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