When I first heard about Periscope, Twitter’s new live-streaming video app, I responded the same way I did when I heard about Twitter for the first time. I thought it was stupid.
But I noticed that people I respect, like Chalene Johnson and Chris Ducker, were going all in—and killing it. Within a few days I had contracted FOMO (“fear of missing out”). I thought it was time to give it a shot.
I did a few trial broadcasts and almost immediately saw the potential. I said to my team, “Periscope may be the greatest leadership tool ever invented.”
As someone serious about expanding my influence and increasing my impact, I knew I had to consider adding Periscope to my communications toolbox. As a result, I embarked on a 30-day test, to see if I could sustain my enthusiasm.
So What Are the Benefits of Periscope?
The short answer is yes. In fact, I am more excited about Periscope today than I was when I started. Over the past month, I have experienced the following four benefits:
- It has provided me with an opportunity to become more comfortable in front of a video camera. I shoot a lot of video. Between what we produce for Platform University® and my various online courses, it seems I am constantly in front of a camera.
As an introvert by nature, this doesn’t come easily. I don’t often enjoy it, though I appreciate it’s power.
However, by doing a daily live show, I am quickly getting more and more comfortable with the medium. In fact, I now look forward to it almost every day. I think this will pay big dividends when I walk into my next video shoot.
It has provided me with an opportunity to interact with my followers in real time. When I started blogging in 2004, one of the things I loved was getting near-instant feedback from my readers. Periscope takes that to the ultimate level. The feedback is instant.
Viewers can comment in real time, and I can see their comments. Often, they scroll by so quickly I can’t read them all. But I pick and choose as I am able and respond with my thoughts, answers, and questions. It takes a little getting used to, but it is addictive.
I like it for the same reason I love Q&A sessions following a speech. I have the opportunity to entertain real questions from real people and provide answers that are personal and relevant to them.
It has provided an opportunity for people to experience the authentic me. Think of it this way:
- Blogging is one-dimensional: just words.
- Podcasting is two-dimensional: words plus audio.
- Scoping is three-dimensional: words, audio, and video.
Because of this, people are able to experience more of who I truly am. Why is this important? Because the more authentic we can be, the more impact we can have.
One of the first things people said to me when I started podcasting was, “I didn’t realize you had a sense of humor.” It’s not that I was any funnier in front of a microphone; it’s just that people didn’t have the opportunity to experience it as much as in my writing.
Periscope is similar. I laugh. I get on my soapbox. And I ramble. I occasionally bring on my wife, one of my daughters, or even one of my grandkids. It is the authentic me as my rawer, less filtered self.
It provides an opportunity to create even more transformation. I have a theory: The greater the access, the greater the transformation. In other words, as a leader, the more you let people into your life, the greater the opportunity you have to create real change.
For example, if Jesus simply wanted to impact the greatest number of people, he should have come during our lifetimes—the age of social media. Imagine how many millions of followers he would have had on Twitter!
But that wasn’t his strategy. He wasn’t going for breadth. He was going for depth and impact over time. He spent relatively little time with the masses. He invested most of his energy in a handful of faithful men and women. Through them, he “turned the world upside down” (see Acts 17:6).
So, how Does Periscope Fit into My Content Strategy?
My blog provides an opportunity to connect with the greatest number of people. Currently, I am getting almost a million page views a month. However, most people read a blog post in about two minutes. So, unfortunately, the impact is not deep.
Nevertheless, my blog is strategically important for me. It is my “intellectual workbench,” where I first express my ideas and see how they connect with my audience. It is the foundation of everything else I do.
My weekly podcast goes a step deeper. I average about 300,000 downloads a month—about a third as many impressions as the blog. But most people take 30 minutes to consume each episode, which is fifteen times as long as they take to read a blog post. The impact is thus deeper and more intimate.
When people come up to me after a speaking engagement, they rarely say, “I love reading your blog.” Today, they are ten times more likely to say, “I listen to your podcast every week. Thank you for doing it.” While there is less reach, there is more impact.
Periscope takes this a step further. I currently have 16,000 followers on Periscope. My daily “scopes,” as they are called, attract 1,500 to 2,500 viewers. I broadcast daily for 30 minutes or two-and-a-half hours a week.
I don’t know the exact number who tune in daily, but with this much air time, there is an even greater opportunity for impact than with blogging or podcasting. If I am series about creating transformation (and I am), then Periscope is a no-brainer.
Where Do We Go From Here?
As a result of my 30-day test, I am committed to broadcasting five days a week, Monday through Friday at 12:30 p.m. Central. Sometime, the schedule will have to flex, given my other commitments. But as much as I can, I want to stick to this schedule.
I will continue to call the show The Virtual Mentor, following the branding of my website and the phrase people most often use when they write to me.
If you want to follow me on Periscope, download the iPhone app here and the Android app here. Then search for my name and then click the follow button. (I really wish the Periscope developers would give us a unique link that people could click to follow us.)
If you are a leader, I would especially urge you to consider Periscope. You owe it to yourself and to the people you serve to explore whether or not this can better leverage your influence for the common good.