Both Periscope, owned by Twitter, and Meerkat allow users to live-stream personal videos. Cue footage of comedians washing their hair and families going for a bicycle ride – trending in Germany last week. However, Periscope has already proved itself invaluable for citizen journalists, according to Jeff Howe, a journalism professor at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and was used to great effect during the fire that broke out in New York’s East Village last week. “The crowd is great at being at the right place at the right time and happening to have a smartphone,” said Howe.
Users are still trying to see what works, Jeetendr Sehdev of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles told New Scientist. “No one really knows what sort of live streams are going to catch on.”