Back in May, Omar Gallaga gave us a solid overview of Periscope, the new live streaming video service launched by Twitter. Heading his article, he posed the question, "Will broadcasting app Periscope’s best side surface?"
Six weeks or so later content on Periscope is still evolving. Folks are testing the waters, throwing stuff out there to see what does and does not work, what will stick. About a month ago Austin360 music writer Eric Webb and I launched a new music show called 360 First Spins. Each week we’ve been taking over the Austin360 Periscope account to play music from new album releases. It’s a mix of live reviews, commentary and silly dancing.
Our day time shows were fun, but received limited engagement. So a couple weeks back we decided to do an experiment and see what would happen if we ran the show at night. To our delight hundreds of viewers tuned in the minute we logged on around 9 p.m. one Tuesday night. Then the trolls showed up. What ensued was a good 45 minutes of very sexually explicit commentary most of which centered around my cleavage. (I was wearing a not particularly revealing scoop neck shirt.)
I slogged through, trying to talk about music which is, you know, what I do for a living, but I was rattled. At one point, a commenter said something along the lines of "the only reason 500 people are watching is because they want you to take off your shirt." That was one of the milder comments, but it summed up the general message the trolls were trying to get across.
After we ended the broadcast I felt shaken, but also angry. The barrage of ugly comments only came from a small segment of our viewers but they were loud and very aggressive and their message was clear. "If you’re not taking off your clothes, why are you here?"
Since then I’ve been wondering about other women who are trying to carve out a space for themselves on Periscope. Are they having similar experiences? And how have they handled it? Tomorrow at 4 p.m. Mandy Dugan, who’s been actively using Periscope in her job as a morning traffic reporter for local news station KXAN will join me as we take over the Austin360 Periscope account for a discussion about what it’s like to be a woman on this new interactive video platform.
We’d love to hear from other women. If you have thoughts or stories to share, please join us.