Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Why Periscope is One of My Favorite Brainstorming Tools...

It took me several years to catch on to the idea of hashtags and shorter messages, a la Twitter. I hesitate to login to Pinterest as I struggle with losing track of time. Sure, its great for finding the perfect pattern for my heroine's dress (if I don't get "stuck" in the Metropolitan Museum of Art pin section). Facebook is pure fun, but I think my favorite creativity tool is Periscope.

A mere year old Periscope was news to me until one of my favorite bloggers/nonfiction authors began using it daily to update her readers. She offered a short daily vlog sharing a tip from her day or a chance for readers to offer their questions. I loved the fact that if I logged on at the right time, I could interact with this author by commenting or just giving "hearts." Although I was seldom at my computer at the same time as she was I could later "catch up" using katch (a tool which unfortunately is going away).

A few weeks after finding Money Saving Mom's feed and watching semi-regularly, I noticed Michael Hyatt began blogging about Periscope. After using it for 30 days, Hyatt said: "it may be the greatest leadership tool ever invented." High praise from a platform guru who is well-known in the industry for his productivity. I enjoyed his thoughts on his first month here.

Recently, Facebook Live and YouTube Live have launched and I'll have to spend more time checking them out. Productivity guru Chalene Johnson analyzes the ups and downs of Periscope versus Facebook live in this podcast. Its an interesting listen if you are considering marketing options.

Here's why I'm loving Periscope as a writer:

1) The purpose of Periscope is to discover the world through other's eyes.

And isn't that the very purpose of our world as writers? We want to discover the world through our characters' eyes and invite our readers into their world. As creatives we want to take others into the lush rainforests and the hustle-bustle of New York City. God opens our minds to new worlds and we just hope we can provide a gateway so readers can visit these same worlds.

2) What a fun way to market!

Its all about interaction. Livestream provides a further connection to readers. Its the next best thing to face to face as its in real time.

3) Relationships can form more easily in this live platform.

Vlogs are fun and personal and through the livestream it is possible to verbally comment to specific viewers as they are chatting. It is a more intimate platform and gives a chance to form a relationship that is not as easy on Facebook or Twitter.

Ideas for using Periscope for your writing life?

1) Setting, setting, setting.

Its not always possible to travel to the settings of our novels. Perhaps your story is about a child bride in India or a missionary in South Africa during apartheid. Google Earth is a fun way to view your location but a livestream can be even better. Watch live videos that take place in your setting. Recently I watched a video taken during a tropical storm. What a great way to watch in action the little details that I can then add to my writing. I can't conjure up a hurricane, but I can find one online and watch it in my own time, pausing to take notes. Though it is livestream, you can also search for videos and watch them later.

2) Global Map Feature

Zoom in on the map to find an exact location. The map will show both current streams and those created over the last 24 hours. Within seconds, enter your main character's world. I've gained details on the dress of my main character, been able to observe and better write about what a house looks like in China and gained insight into body language in other countries. Cheapest way to world travel on your iPhone.

3) Teleport for inspiration.

Looking for ideas? Coming up dry? Try the teleport feature which instantly transports you to a random location in the world. Five minutes of watching just might land you a new idea and there's just something fun about the concept.

4) Invite your reader into your world.

I love following published authors on Periscope because it is a more personal glimpse into their world. Why not dress up as your main character and conduct an interview? Or take the reader into a setting that is specific to your novel?

5) Build your tribe and have fun doing it!

Looking for some starter scopes to follow to grow in your knowledge of how to use Periscope. Here are some of my favorites:

Crystal Paine: Money Saving Mom discusses how to live the intentional life, use time and resources wisely, and answers weekly questions from readers. She makes it a point to interact with viewers.

Chalene Johnson: guru on marketing, online business and social media.

Michael Hyatt: great ideas on productivity, marketing, and time management.

Jeff Goins: writing, how to find your niche, productivity.

Jon Acuff: just plain funny.

How about you? Do you like Periscope? I would love to hear some of your favorite people to follow?

Julia Reffner enjoys writing both fiction and nonfiction from her home in central Virginia. She writes for Library Journal and the blog Wonderfully Woven.


Teresa Tysinger said...

This is fascinating, Julia. I am behind the times on Periscope. You've inspired me to check it out. Thanks!

Robin E. Mason said...

i've not ventured to ANY live interaction! for all my stage presence (think plays) and writer words, i DO NOT do well in spontaneous live interaction! sounds like i have misunderstood periscope, and thanks to your informative post i'll [at least] check it out if not sign up—can't WAIT to teleport myself somewher...

Cara Grandle said...

I love Periscope. I just found you and followed you. I don't writers encouragement show on there. And this morning I interviewed Mesu Andrews. I sure had to make some adjustments when Katch went down. Do you scope or just watch? I write Historical Fiction. I have an
Agent but not a contract...yet. Smile. Periscope has been awesome for getting me out of my friends and family bubble on all my social media sites. My handle is my name @CaraGrandle. Maybe I'll see you on there,Julia.

Julia M. Reffner said...

TERESA, Stop by and let me know what you think. I find it a lot of fun, and this coming from the lady who was intimidated by twitter hashtags.

ROBIN, I find the teleport feature fun! I know what you mean, I don't do video myself but maybe someday will dip my toes. Spontaneous is super hard for us introverts!

CARA, Thanks for the follow, I don't scope. Maybe someday. I will miss Katch, it was a great tool for catching up on missing scopes. I'll go check you out there!