Some things are too good to last

There is no doubt Periscope is a great live-streaming app. The unparalleled interactiveness of the apps unlike any other similar apps will come to an end after 6 years from its release. at its best text comments and verbal replies can be achieved in under ten seconds, far quicker than any other live-streaming app. Perhaps equal in speed to instant messaging or Usenet (and likely using such technologies) it made text/video online conversation and dialogue enjoyable.

YouTube Live, for example, while does something is nowhere as interactively engaging because of the lag. I suspect the lag exists because older minimal (not minimalist) technology is used. The frustration not only shows in the broadcasters face but also in the viewers messages as well as them voting with their feet (that is, exiting the broadcast midway).

As I have said many times I would have paid for the service to broadcast. A monthly fee of, say, USD5 would have had me forking it out for its service. The exchange should have been between me and the service provider, not between me and the viewers with the service provider taking a slice of the action.

While the business model is similar to television (this reflected in its name PeriscopeTV) it really did not work that way. Banking on broadcaster content when broadcaster content has not the manpower, time and money invested in it, did not work.

But, in the end, whatever the reason that Periscope is coming to an end it is sad and will be truly missed.

What has Periscope taught me?

I love Periscope. In my opinion it is the next thing in social media (SM). It is different to other SM because there is real-time interaction on a large scale. No other SM is like this. It is possible to interact with a couple of hundred people simultaneously in Periscope. Unlike other mediums the interaction is delayed, after the fact.

Anyway, one important thing Periscope has taught me is how to deal with trolls. Not only are trolls annoying to me but also to my viewers. I had not realised until using Periscope that others (my viewers) are equally annoyed with them. Up until then I had always thought of the viewers as a collective. But by understanding that each viewer is an individual with separate thoughts and feelings to what they are seeing (my scope) I realised that the troll is no longer what my viewers thought but that they are the extreme minority, perhaps an individual without a clue as to what proper social means.

At some level it has much to with, or the lack of, empathy. By being able to “put yourself into someone else’s shoes” we can empathise – know what another person feels or is feeling. The anonymity of the sign – the username – gives trolls the power to do what they feel without consequence.

Sigmund Freud broke this down to what, I think, are nice (and still relevant) categories. He called these the superego, id and ego. The superego is what society wants you to do. The id is what you really want to do. The ego is what you do in the face of conflict between your superego and id. So in Peri-land (or Scope-land) we are told to be civil to each other (don’t do or say unto others what you do not want done to you). But your id tells you to be selfish and that if people and their feelings do not exist this is what I would do. But after thinking about it your ego tells you that being nasty will have consequences because people have feelings, even though you do not want to acknowledge it.

In the end, it is all about whether you want to see others as lifeless but moving objects, or as having the same kinds of feelings as yourself. This acknowledgement is not easy because ultimately we have no direct access to other people’s thoughts and feelings. We can only guess at them through experience and inference. This is also what perhaps what The Buddha had meant by suffering.

Periscope Tip #3 – use a mic

The mic used by your phone may depend on whether you are using the front or rear camera. If the rear camera (the one facing away from the screen) is used the mic may be the one facing away from you also. To improve the quality of the sound of your speaking voice use a mic to override this. 

Periscope Tip #2 – choose a good informative title

Titles are important. They tell us what your scope is about, even if it is just a chat. Viewers want to know what they are coming to see. So make sure it is not left blank. It will also help you focus on your content (and viewer’s perspective) as well.

Periscope Tip #1 – don’t get burnt out

Do not set unrealistic goals time schedules for yourself. Scope because you have something to say, not because you have fans to please. Do not make promises which you cannot keep (example: do not say “I will scope everyday” unless you can).

My thoughts on 10 years of sustainability dharma

Has it been that long?

sustainability dharma started ten years ago on 17 February 2006. It was a critique of our lifestyles and a call to sustainability and a sustainable lifestyle. I still believe in these values but I myself have not achieved that. I am not even close. But this, as a log of who I am, is invaluable.

To live sustainably would mean to give up many things and to change my way of life. Blogging would most definitely be one. My work as an assistant professor would be another. They both use more energy than necessary. A lot of wastage.

But that is not a reason why I should quit. One must look at the overall situation. Do I lead an overall sustainable lifestyle? No, I do not. But perhaps the most sustainable part of my life is the farming, the growing of food. My wife estimates 80% of our vegetable come from our garden. It is grown organically and we probably have room to increase capacity.

My spiritual practice also has gotten better. More than anything my giving up of alcohol (for health rather than spiritual reasons) has made me a better and more controlled person, less likely to blow up and react inappropriately.

During this time I have watched my children grow up, grown older together with my partner, become a father and husband of sorts. I have taken on many more responsibilities, chosen to do things I have believed in, learned more than perhaps I have imparted.

Blogging is not easy. You need to have something to say in order to blog. You could say a lot but whether they are worth saying is a different matter. Which is why I have less to say today than I did ten years ago.

Another difference is that the internet landscape has changed somewhat. Blogs made it easy for everyone to have an online voice. But it was relatively static. It took a long time to reach an audience and to get comments. In 2016, we have Twitter but I think more importantly we have Periscope. No other time have we had life broadcast with an interactive audience to boot. Anyone can show their world to an audience and get realtime feedback and interaction. Once I have done my live broadcast, my scope, I am finished. No more is necessary. No editing is needed. It is different and efficient. It is the future of communication.

So is there a place for traditional blogs? Can we call them traditional even though they are no more than 15 years old? The time length for anything to become traditional has become shorter. These are stressful times. I would hate to be my son’s age. I would hate to be born now. It is so confusing and at the same time exciting in a strange kind of way.

We no longer surf the net with notebook or desktop computers. We go online with our mobile devices – our smartphones and tablets. The landscape has changed a lot. I no longer read about this morning’s protest at this afternoon’s website, I can now see it from four people’s perspective in realtime and even react to and with those people who are scoping.

But somewhere in there, still, is room to write these posts, albeit only once in a while rather than on a daily basis like in “the old days” when I had no other means.