Do you Periscope? Curiosity got the best of us and we've done it a few times now (viewing, not broadcasting). We have a semi-regular tradition of looking at a couple pages of Cute Overload before bed, so Periscope is a fun occasional changeup from that. There's a fair amount of sketchy-seeming dudes out there, not to mention an alarming number of young girls broadcasting alone, late at night. But every so often you land on something really neat. We've watched karaoke in Tierra del Fuego, some kind of wild girls' night in, somewhere in the Middle East, and a bar singalong in Wales, among other things.

I think the argument could be made that Periscope is the one truly pure social medium. (That is to say, pure when used by amateurs and everyday people, not those who've parlayed themselves to celebrity status with frequent broadcasting and heavy self-promotion.) No filters, no pre-arranged, carefully curated vignettes. No scripts and no time to think of clever captions or 140-character witticisms. Just boom, connection. Here I am doing my thing, there you are on the other side of the world, watching. Hopefully saying hello (every time we join a broadcast we say Hello from Los Angeles! and some people positively light up, they get so excited to have a viewer from ZOMGCalifornia, USA). It's really rather thrilling.

The only person I've followed (other than the auto-follows brought over from my Twitter account) is a guy named Grant Marcus (@tokkolosh). He's got less than nine hundred followers, but he's accumulated some 160k "hearts" due to the amazingness of his broadcasts. Grant is a self-described "wildlife and photography enthusiast" living in Madikwe Game Reserve, in South Africa. He broadcasts at least a few times a week, depending on what's going on. The first night we found him, he was tracking a lion, alone in the bush. He brought the phone down close to the ground so everyone could see the size of the cat's paw print in the dirt. Needless to say, we were hooked. Since then he's broadcast elephants, cheetahs on the prowl, and most recently, a massive wildebeest migration. In fact the migration is going on right now; Grant and his crew/guests are traveling alongside the herd and documenting their journey. Yesterday I watched as hundreds of them (thousands?) scrambled across a crocodile-filled river. Legit NatGeo shit, I'm telling you.

The broadcast quality is great; you can see the animals and landscape clearly. Plus his South African accent is a kick as are the other languages you'll hear the locals speaking. And if you enable push notifications, you'll get crazy banner alerts popping up on your phone like "hyenas dining on giraffe kill". Which, among the notices our electronic leashes send us all day long, has got to be among the more interesting.

Couple screengrabs (don't let the blurriness fool ya; the broadcasts are pretty crisp):

an African safari (with a side jaunt to the Seychelles, of course) has always been my ultimate dream trip

all I see are hundreds of Chaucers