By Nihal Tharoor-Menon
The fascinating and unsettling new app Periscope
A group of mates watching football in Saudi Arabia. A guy and girl playing drinking games in Cape Town. A trucker heading down a Nebraskan highway. A man singing his heart out in a Russian nightclub.
All live. All seen in a few minutes perusing the world on Periscope.
This new app let’s you explore the world through the eyes of somebody else. At any one moment, hundreds of thousands of people are streaming their lives off their phones.
It’s empowering and strange to have the world in this moment at your fingertips.
I found myself jumping to obscure places in my past.
Cities in Vietnam from my gap year. Streets in North Carolina where I did an exchange program.
Far away places rich with nostalgia in my mind are alive again in my hands.
I feel an uncomfortable sense of awe. Though it is incredible to have this power it also feels quite unnatural. The world feels much smaller and less mysterious.
Still as a piece of technology there are many problems it solves.
Firstly, it is difficult in day-to-day life to feel empathy for people in far-flung places in the world.
Take the group of friends watching footy in Saudi Arabia.
I have never been. I have no desire to go. And if you ask me to imagine this country I definitely have a skewed perception. But simply watching this group of mates laughing and hanging out formed a connection with this country I may never have had.
In day-to-day life Periscope has clear benefits.
Last Monday there was an impromptu event organized for Bowie in Brixton. I had gone home after school and was reluctant to go back out into the cold night.
But a quick look at people Persicoping in the area showed me this was a celebration I didn’t want to miss.
As the name suggests, Periscope is a one-way video feed but you can communicate with the user through instant messages.
I have yet to try it but I can see potential here for enhancing our personas and getting some honest opinions on the brands we’re selling.
Periscopers come in all shapes and sizes and seem more than happy to engage and answer questions from their audience.
Discovering Periscope I feel I have glimpsed into the future. A world where we seamlessly move between our experience and that of others.
And I must say, I’m both disturbed and excited.