In fact, for reasons not entirely known to us, fridge-streaming is the only cohesive trend that’s emerged on Periscope since Twitter launched its much-hyped Meerkat competitor on March 26. These are early days, mind you — Periscope has only just cracked Apple’s top 100 apps — but some 1,600 people have already tweeted about Periscope and refrigerators, many of them on the #fridgeview and #showusyourfridge hashtags.
(A #fridgeview is, for the record, exactly what it sounds like: a video of someone else’s fridge. Particularly the inside of somebody else’s fridge, the better to evaluate her taste in food/beer/condiments.)
Live-streaming video has, of course, had some nobler moments, too. In the wake of an explosion in Manhattan’s East Village on Thursday, Meerkat and Periscope both became hubs for live footage from the scene. “Live video [is] changing the Internet forever,” wrote Owen Williams at the Next Web. At the Verge, Ben Popper predicted Periscope would do for breaking news what live video had previously done for Occupy Wall Street and Ferguson.
But the sudden, deafening hype around live-streaming also smacks of a bubble that’s not too far from break. BGR’s Tero Kuittinen has already pronounced Meerkat dead-on-arrival — plugged relentlessly by the West Coast tech press and literally no one else, he argues, the app gained a momentary 15 minutes of fame that it never earned or deserved.
Meanwhile, though boosters still insist Periscope is the proverbial future, it’s hard to see concrete, practical applications for this technology. For one thing, it drains your battery and your data plan like nobody’s business. For another, early experiments on the platform are so … pedestrian. #ShowUsYourFridge was apparently launched by a Twitter employee. But is that the best you’ve guys got? Really?
In fact, in some abstract, family-friendly way, #ShowUsYourFridge echoes the refrain that toppled Chatroulette — another live-streaming video app heralded as the future of communication, done in by bored people looking for attention.
In either case, determined to understand this hip new Internet #trend, your author carefully positioned her iPhone in the dish-drying rack across from the Washington Post’s fourth-floor refrigerators, hoping to catch some hot refrigerator action. Upon returning with a Post-It note to warn coworkers that, yes, the phone in the dish rack was recording, she was confronted by an unknown and very peeved colleague, who wanted to know if the phone had just caught him bending over to retrieve his lunch. (Abashed answer: Sorry, yes.)
Neither the confrontation nor the 31-minute experiment brought us any closer to understanding the appeal of the #fridgeview meme (… though I suppose the chance to peek into something so ordinary, so unworthy of peeking, is its own kind of interest/intimacy). In the absence of a better theory, we’ll accept the explanation an early devotee, Aaron Trent, gave Mashable: “It’s like Sharknado, or Alex from Target, or Kyrzbekistan. It’s absurd and an entertaining way to kill some time with your friends.”
I know, I know: “’Absurd and entertaining?’ The paper that broke Watergate has descended to this?” But hold your tongues, haters: After all, Woodward and Bernstein used that fridge.