Prepping for RootsTech + Periscope plans

 Photo taken last year, following Donny Osmond's keynote address. I bet you recognize a few other faces in this photo too. AJ Jacobs is there and so is Rhonna Farrer and Becky Higgins! Good times!

Photo taken last year, following Donny Osmond's keynote address. I bet you recognize a few other faces in this photo too. AJ Jacobs is there and so is Rhonna Farrer and Becky Higgins! Good times!

I'm really wanting to be better this year at simply checking in and documenting more regularly what I'm doing and thinking and anticipating. I miss doing that kind of blogging (the just for me and my family kind) because it's so fun to go back to read. This is the first time really since completing the bulk of writing for my *almost* book that I've had the urge to sit down and write. I've been enjoying that wonderful "no deadline" feeling and the freedom to pay more attention to my house and healthy eating and better exercise and the little clean-up and organize projects here and there. I've still got my RootsTech presentation looming, but with all the work I did on my book, it's coming together pretty easily. I uploaded my syllabus last night (late of course) but I'm feeling a sense of relief about that this morning. 

In addition to being a presenter—a very small presenter—I have also had the good fortune of being a RootsTech Ambassador, which means I get to attend the media dinner and sit in really awesome seats for all of the general sessions, so that I can take pictures and post information and updates to social media. This really is a HUGE and exciting event to attend, and it dovetails perfectly with pretty much everything I'm passionate about (scrapbooking, storytelling, family, family history, technology, entrepreneurs and innovation and SUPER inspiring keynote presentations) so it's kind of a Disneyland feeling for three straight days! Anyway, I'm working on my Keynote (powerpoint) slides today and tomorrow and looking forward to seeing my family members, including Clark and his new girlfriend (yikes!) in Utah next week. I fly out on Tuesday and return Sunday. My parents are coming from Seattle, so Darci and Kevin waited to schedule Cache's baptism so that we could all be there -- this makes me extremely happy! 

I feel like I'm slowly figuring out where I want to fit in and what I want to focus on and I like that. The whole rejection thing sucks. I've been fighting those "I'm a loser" feelings, but I'm coming out of it now and I'm getting back to finishing some of the projects I started for the *almost* book and honestly, creating just makes me happy (period.) 

 See my  Sprinkle challenge  No. 29 

See my Sprinkle challenge No. 29 

I'm super intrigued with mobile technology and social media channels and how we can use them in unique ways to connect our families across time and space. A handful of projects in my book where technology related and I just had a cool Periscope idea the other day that I'm going to try and implement this coming Monday night. If you're not yet familiar with Periscope it is live stream video broadcasted from your smart phone (the app is available for both Android and iOS.) I love this quote, here, "A picture may be worth a thousands words, but live video can take you there and show you around." It's pretty much the closest thing we have to teleportation! Anyway, I set up a second Periscope account for my extended family and I'm going to do an introductory broadcast and simply share a story from our family history. When I'm done, I'll select another family member and challenge them to share a story next month. I want to get my kids and their cousins involved in hearing and sharing both family history and personal stories. My hope is that we can get together in this virtual way once or twice a month for 10 minutes and with Periscope, everyone can tune in—or watch later. We have family in four different states and young adults at college, so a video broadcast will be more inclusive than Skype and the actual video can be saved to the broadcasting device,  so that we can archive them. I'd like to do some minimal editing (maybe) and then upload the videos here to my blog or maybe even directly to These videos or scopes will obviously be very family oriented, but you're welcome to follow along if you're interested—our extended family Periscope account is NetworkPBHall.

I'm no pro, but you can keep reading for a little Periscope tutorial ...

Step one. 
Download the app. 

Step two.
Click on the account icon in the upper right corner to create a personal profile. Upload a photo and add a short bio/description. From here, scroll down to Settings and turn on the 'Autosave Broadcasts' feature, so that any videos you create will be saved to your device. 

Step three. 
Go back to the home screen and click on the people icon to search for people and/or organizations you know and follow them.

Step four.
Take a few minutes to click on each of the menu items/icons along the bottom. The TV icon will bring up a list of recent broadcasts created by people you follow. The globe icon will show you on a map of the world where people are scoping from, and the last icon, a camera will take you to your broadcast screen. 

How to Broadcast

The broadcast page uses your device's camera to show everyone what you're seeing, so when you open that page, look for the flashing cursor. This is where you'll enter a broadcast title, by answering the question, "What are you seeing now?" Before you start your first broadcast or "scope", play around with the buttons just above the 'Start Broadcast' bar. 1) If you want to notify your Twitter followers each time you broadcast, touch the birdie icon and turn it white. 2) If you want to limit questions and comments, while you're broadcasting, to only those that follow you, touch the chat button and turn it on. 3) You can also conduct a "private" broadcast by touching the lock button and then selecting or inviting a limited number of followers. This would be a great way to invite distant family members to a gathering or event, where you're not comfortable having others watch in. 4) To turn on precise location sharing, touch the arrow button. This will allow your broadcast to show up on the big map. If you're scoping from Yellowstone, turning this on is a great idea. If you're scoping from home, maybe not!

Watching a LIVE broadcast or a replay scope

If you turn notifications for Periscope on (go to settings on your device) then when someone you follow starts a new broadcast, you'll be notified, so that you can quickly open your app and watch LIVE. If you miss a scope, it will be available to you for 24 hours. Just tap on the TV icon from the home screen. When you want to replay a broadcast, you simply select it from the menu and then click the play button. You'll likely see a stream of mini, pastel hearts from the bottom corner as you watch. These are evidence that those who watched the scope live liked what they saw. If you like what you're seeing, you can double tap the screen to create hearts. Each viewer is assigned a color when they join, so the variety of colors represents in a way, the variety of viewers. You'll also see chat boxes pop up as people logged in and as they made comments. If you find these comments distracting, you can swipe right and touch the "Hide Chat" button. You can also swipe right and touch the 'Share' button to send out a tweet or post to Facebook. You must be watching LIVE to post a comment or ask a question. This live interaction is one of the things that makes Periscope so fun. Even in reply mode, it's cool to see where viewers were logging in from and what comments or questions they posted. 

Every broadcaster has their own style. Some spend several minutes at the beginning of a scope, waiting for people to join while they chat with their viewers, others jump right in and start sharing. There is no right or wrong way. I've watched scopes where there is no sound at all. The chat function is turned off and the broadcast is simply about showing you what is happening. 

This little how-to is by no means comprehensive and you can learn much more by visiting the help page at where you'll find a great help resources and information on using Periscope on Apple TV -- which hello? Will be so cool for my new family broadcasts that I'm envisioning. 

Go have FUN. Watch some scopes and let me know what you think and learn!