13 October 2015


Last week I set myself a challenge. I didn't say it out loud or tell anyone because I just wanted to see if I could do it at all. What was it? I aired five live broadcasts on Periscope for five days in a row. And guess what? I loved it! I think it's my new thing.

Catch me and Lady Jane on Periscope @kathleendames

What's periscope?

Periscope is an app that was acquired by Twitter that allows anyone to live-stream a video broadcast from wherever they are. Viewers can watch "live" or catch the replay for 24 hours; they can share it with their friends on Periscope, Twitter, and Facebook; they can tap the screen to show how much they enjoy the broadcast; and they can type messages delivered in real time to the other viewers and the periscope-er.

What's in it for me, the viewer?

You can interact with people around the world! You can hear what I sound like and see the funny facial expressions I make when I get all excited about knitting. You can ask me questions in real time. We can have a conversation. But you don't have to broadcast yourself (like in some conferencing apps). Lurking is also a totally acceptable option, as is watching online from a browser, though you can't get in on the interactive part.

Lots of periscope-ers are showing viewers how they make their art. There are also really honest conversations about feelings-as-makers and business and whatever you might be interested in. And I'm sure there are lots of other things going on. It was started to share events live in real time, after all.

What's in it for you, Kathleen?

So far, I'm in it for the fun. And the chance to connect with knitters. People all around the world use my patterns. While I would like to meet all of them (and give them hugs), that's not really feasible. But I still love the opportunity to communicate with knitters and find out what they're working on, what questions they have, how I can make what I do more helpful.

What started as a brief #WIPWed 'scope (below - hopefully the "embed" code works), where we talk about our works in progress (WIPs) turned into an hour-long conversation about knitting styles, the Shaker community, what to do with shed antlers, and a few other topics that swam into our ken. It was so much fun, and I want to do it again!

I also got to do a scope last Thursday morning "live from New York". My neighbor let me know that they were filming not too far away from our building, using a bunch of antique cars, so I walked down there and shared what I saw, which was kind of the original purpose of Periscope (to share what's happening in the moment).

What are you going to do with it?

Good question! This platform is still in its infancy*. And I've only done 14 'scopes (my first was less than two minutes, and I had no idea what I was doing). But the 'scopes that have been the most fun (for me) are the ones where we had a conversation, and I'd love to keep that going.

My current plan is to broadcast on weekdays focusing on knitting and design with occasional "adventures" (like checking out the cars down the street last week or other NYC things I'm excited to share with you - Rhinebeck this coming weekend!). If there are topics you'd like me to chat about, let me know! Tweets, messages on Ravelry, comments on this post - oof, there are lots of ways to get in touch with me :)

I also need to figure out what to do about my broadcasts' ephemerality. I could upload them to my YouTube channel, if you were interested, but they are just quick videos made with my iPhone. They're archived on Katch, but that's one more thing to sign up for. Clearly I need to give it some more thought (so if you have an opinion, let me know).

Thanks so much for stopping by, and happy knitting!

P.S. I'm going to do a little sneak peek of my new Jane Austen Knits patterns this afternoon on Periscope! Catch it live around 1:30 or view the replay for the next 24 hours.

P.P.S. In case you forgot: Lady Jane is my dress form. She's wearing Sailor's Valentine in the photo, and I'm wearing Thistle Leaf Pullover.

*And I mean really in its infancy. You can't search for broadcasts on Periscope by hashtag, even though it's owned by Twitter. You can search for hashtags on Twitter and then follow someone over on Periscope (it shouldn't be that difficult though!). There's no fast-forward or rewind, and no way to know how long a replay is. You can gauge how long a replay is by starting to watch it and noticing how long it takes the little white progress line at the bottom to advance across the screen. The good thing is you can delete a broadcast right away if you're unhappy with it. The "bad" thing is that 'scopes only stick around for 24 hours. I say "bad" because the ephemerality allows for a more relaxed experience for broadcasters and viewers, but when it's gone it's gone. I signed up for Katch (and am really annoyed that it's spelled that way), so I do have an archive of all but the first two.

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