Leave it to the great Marge Simpson to predict the future of the Twitter-based app Periscope.
“The courts might not work anymore but as long as everybody is videotaping everyone else justice will be done.”
This quote from Marge was aired over 20 years ago in an episode of The Simpsons titled “Homer Badman,” yet its content is more relevant than ever with the evolution of Periscope. The app allows users around the world to live stream videos in real time. They can then watch as the stream unfolds and even interact with its broadcaster as the video progresses.
The app was perceived as so cutting edge that the social media giant Twitter quietly purchased Periscope earlier this year, abandoning their own live stream app they were developing.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “The social-media company paid slightly less than $100 million, an amount that would make Periscope one of Twitter’s more expensive purchases. The deal involved a mix of cash and stock, but favored cash.”
And while there is competition in the live-streaming marketplace, namely from the newly launched Meerkat app, it looks as if Periscope is poised to take the role as the marketplace leader. Already, there is talk that Periscope will replace Snapchat as the dominant social media app amongst teenagers, as reported by Inquistr.
Twitter is heavily trying to promote Periscope to product companies looking for new ways to expand their brand, but there may be an even greater use for Periscope amongst the general public. Namely, that of law enforcement.
As reported by the USA Today, Anthony Rotolo, a professor of social media at Syracuse University, sees the benefits of Periscope beyond just product placement and advertisements.
“There’s this trend we’re seeing of people being able to capture incidents and police moments and share them with the world. I think that Periscope will share an important role in it.”
The writer, Meghan Mistry, also agrees, calling Periscope the “watchdog of the public and government around the world, much in the way modern day media was intended to be.”
Which brings us back to Marge Simpson and the fateful episode in which Homer is accused of sexually harassing the babysitter. In the end, Homer was vindicated because Groundskeeper Willie happened to be purporting in his favorite hobby, “videotaping couples in cars” (something he assured Homer every Scotsman does). The video exonerates Homer in the end, but not after he had to endure a week filled with protesters and round-the-clock media coverage.
If Groundskeeper Willie had used Periscope instead of just video back in 1994, Homer’s plight would have been cut short. It wouldn’t have made for great television, but hopefully would have at least drawn a few “likes” while it was streaming.
[Photo credit George Frey / Getty Images]