More Than 500,000 People Watch Amanda Oleander Paint on Periscope — How Does She Do It?

By Justin Lafferty Comment


Periscope, the livestreaming app, is taking Twitter by storm. Twitter acquired the app in March, but the platform has already drawn a dedicated following.

At the Socialbakers Engage conference last week in New York, prominent Periscope users such as Mario Armstrong and Tasmin Lucia-Khan shared how they achieved monumental fanbases through the app. Many popular Periscope influencers have made money by partnering with brands for events and reviews, but some still see Periscope as the most raw form of expression out there today. There’s no editing, no filters and nothing between the viewer and the broadcaster.

SocialTimes talked with viral Periscoper Amanda Oleander, an artist who simply broadcasts while she paints and gives people a behind-the-scenes look at her daily life. When she turns the app on, her audience is more than a half-million people. How did she tap in to such passion?

SocialTimes: So what do you do on Periscope that makes your broadcasts so popular?

Amanda Oleander: It’s kind of like a daily blog. Every single day, I talk to (my followers). The best thing is, you can interact live. I paint, I draw, I have lunch with them and dinner, I’ll cook, I’ve longboarded while Periscoping. I fell one time off Periscope, and I told my community. Two weeks later, they sent me some guards for my knees and elbows. It’s so sweet. They’re such nice people.

ST: When did you start using Periscope?

AO: March 28, which was the day after it launched. I didn’t even know that I was on there so early until a couple weeks later.

ST: When did you realize that you really had something powerful?

AO: I think it was the first or second week, when I was the top woman on Periscope. That stayed for months. Then people like Bree (Olson), she’s in the adult industry and had a bigger following, came on, but … I didn’t have a following anywhere else. Twitter, I literally had under 1,000 followers. Instagram, under 2,000. That’s why people were like, “What the heck?” and I was like that too.

I spoke to the people at the Periscope office, and they said that they did notice me early on. They think one of the reasons my community grew so quickly was because I had content that people couldn’t really find anywhere — painting live from beginning to end. Usually people on YouTube, people fast-forward that and you never have time to talk to the artist. I think people found it interesting that I’m 25 and I’m my own boss in L.A.

ST: Do you feel that streaming apps like Periscope really bring out this new kind of content that just hasn’t really been around before?

AO: Live streaming is its own ballgame, really. You can’t take back what you say. That separates the people that want to get on there. People who love YouTube won’t even touch it, because they can edit what they say (on YouTube). Live streaming, I think it’s great for people who are creatives because it shines a light on what you do and all the hard work that goes into it. Sometimes, people were like, “I feel like I should be paying to watch this,” and I’m like, “No, this is what I do for a living!” I love it.

Something that’s great too, is that it’s not something I have to take time to do. It’s not like, “OK, now I’m going to Periscope for an hour.” I’m working, I’m painting, this is my job — and I get to Periscope at the same time. It’s not that hard to do it if you’re creative. If you’re a dancer, if you’re a singer, you’re going to practice anyway. Why not open it up to the world so they can see a sneak peek of your life? This isn’t reality TV where it’s scripted on television — it’s real. This is 2015, and people want more genuine and real and we crave that.

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ST: Do you ever have to work through a “writer’s block,” or do you just turn on the app and go?

AO: Not at all. I can probably create for the next 15 years and that’s how much content I have in my sketchbooks. Whenever I have an idea, I write it down in my sketchbook, on a piece of paper or in my phone, so I have so many projects that I’m waiting to do. Sometimes, I will be on Periscope for 45 minutes and not say one word; I’ll just be creating. People that already know me will fill in the new people. You never see people do that in any other app.

ST: Do you work with brands at all?

AO: I’ve had big brands reach out to me, but I just don’t agree with how they are. … If it’s something that I know my community is going to love, or something that I really enjoy, then I’m all for it. I’m just waiting to promote the proper things. When it comes to branding, it’s not that I’m against it, but it has to be something I’m passionate about. These people aren’t numbers to me. They might be numbers to people who work in marketing, but to me, they’re actually friends and Periscope family members I speak to every day.

Just like how you would treat a friend and you wouldn’t recommend them a pair of glasses you don’t like, it’s the same thing. But I think brands like that too, because then it’s genuine and people want to purchase it. That’s how I am. If there’s somebody on social media that I really believe in and they’re like, “I really love this brand,” I’m going to trust them more than if I go on Facebook and see an ad.

ST: What would you say to someone trying to build up their audience through Periscope?

AO: Sometimes people think that they have to create different, interesting, creative content and they sit there trying to write it down. What I say is, don’t do that. What are you passionate about and what do you love doing? You will find an audience that is interested in that. People can feel the passion from your voice and from your energy when you speak, especially when you’re live streaming.

Maybe for people who own a business and think, “Oh no, that’s not cool, I’m not painting or I’m not singing,” there are a lot of people who want to own a business and if you can tell them your experiences and you’re passionate about it, people will watch. There’s an audience for everything. The main tip I’d give people: if you’re going to Periscope, Periscope whatever you’re passionate about and find something you can help others with.

Readers: Who are your favorite people to follow on Periscope?

Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.