So what is Periscope and why are we talking about submarines? Follow me on this bunny trail of social media. Most professionals in emergency management have an agency and possibly a personal account on Twitter. Well, Twitter now also owns Periscope which is a LIVE video broadcasting app. If you set up your Periscope account correctly when you do a broadcast on Periscope everyone who follows you on Periscope AND Twitter will be notified. As people join your scope (broadcast) they can type questions which you can answer in real time, which you in turn can address.
The first reason why Periscope is a game changer for emergency management and public safety is a BIG pet peeve many people have in the field with media. You are interviewed by a local station and you provide great information whether it’s about outreach or whether a disaster. After the interview you wait for the news story at the five or six o’clock news. The story airs and you think that was only a thirty seconds interview and I gave the reporter twenty minutes of great information!! This is very frustrating since it is information the public could really use. Even worst, sometimes the media gives the wrong information unintentionally.
So where do you go from there? The great thing about Periscope is that you are the media. You are in charge of your content. From ANYWHERE (with wi-fi or cellular coverage) you can decide to do a news conference. You decide the content, the length and the timing. Now you have control.
As an agency or organization you need to develop your audience, which first starts with Twitter. You need to be on Twitter and tweeting at least once daily sharing something of value to your followers. And then obviously connect your Twitter account to your Periscope account. Whenever you go live on Periscope you have the choice to automatically tweet a notification to your followers on both Periscope and Twitter. Anyone who follows you on Periscope will receive a notification of your scope if that option is selected. In a future post I will share specifically how you can set up your account.
I believe this is a great resource for those in emergency management to get your information out for both outreach and disasters response and recovery. If there’s a large scale emergency or disaster you can send your information out quickly. You can initiate your own news conference at your preferred time.
Just think about this. You are at a disaster scene and quickly you get on Periscope using your smart phone sharing the situation and the actions to take. Afterwards you can share the video on FaceBook or any other social mediums. Also you can send a link of the video to the TV and radio stations who are not following you. I would still suggest using your other methods of communication with the public and use other social media.
The second reason is on other side of the coin, someone can use Periscope to broadcast live during an emergency situation you are responding to. This happened yesterday when @nateanton broadcast “Escalating tension following officer-involved shooting in North St. Louis”. This video had 45, 324 replay viewers and 84,526 hearts (similar to “Likes”). Periscope is changing how emergency management, police, fire and EMS respond to emergencies. We can not ignore it.
I believe Periscope holds great, great, impact for emergency management.
There are a couple of agencies already using Periscope for outreach and emergency information. Here is a list to get you started in Periscope and ideas:
- Sacramento Fire @SacFirePIO
- California Fire @CalFire
- Pima County Sheriff @PimaSheriff
- Dekalb County Fire and Rescue @DCFRpubaffairs
- The Weather Channel @weatherchannel
Please also watch my scopes so you can learn from my mistakes and eventually you can do your own Periscope as an agency. Here is one of my scopes you can watch a broadcast without signing up. It is not perfect and I made mistakes along the way. BUT I keep getting better each time I use Periscope. You can also do a private Periscope to just a one or a few individuals to give you a chance to practice as well. I will share some of my tips in one of my next post.
Using Periscope is daunting at first, but it quickly becomes easier each time your broadcast. You can find me on Periscope by looking for @emerga to catch my future scopes. On Twitter you can follow me here: @emergallc.
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What questions do you have about Periscope?
Let me know and I will feature and answer your questions in my upcoming posts.