Doctors are increasingly sharing procedures on Periscope. For the uninformed, Periscope is an in-line Twitter application that facilitates live, personal broadcasting. Most recently, an achilles tendon repair from Ohio State was ’scoped’. I thought it sounded pretty interesting, but I got there too late. The party was over and the video was gone.
The use of Periscope in the OR is the next iteration of live tweeting. The argument with live tweeting was that it was educational. But the reality is that it was a new way for a hospital to have its 15 minutes of fame. On the Visibility-Value Continuum, many of these events have tilted toward visibility.
And when it comes to Periscope and operative procedures, what’s new may be what’s old again.
Admittedly, broadcasts are more interesting than live tweets. But what’s more educational is the enduring nature of a recording that can be seen, linked to, and commented on months later. This would be a recording on YouTube or Vimeo. Periscope, on the other hand, fits into what might be referred to as an ephemeral media. It’s a piece of viewable information that disappears after a time.
Before choosing Periscope as a medium, I might first ask myself whether this is an event that needs a live, in-line broadcast? Or would it be better served recorded and published.
Live has its draw, for sure. And there are things about Periscope that make it valuable. It’s real value may come from the fact that it’s just easy. Even if I wanted to, the process of finding and uploading to a YouTube Channel can be a small chore that raises the barrier to sharing. And for heavy twitter users like myself, Periscope is part of my workflow. Perhaps more importantly, it’s where my audience is.
When it comes to (free open access) medical education, enduring content that’s searchable and retrievable is where the money is. Live has its place, but I’m concerned that it could be more for visibility than value.