The White House joined live-streaming app Periscope today to broadcast Pope Francis' arrival in Washington, DC. The @WhiteHouse handle sent out a plug for its first Periscope broadcast around 4PM ET today showing the Pope deplaning and greeting the Obama family and Vice President Joe Biden. More than 11,000 people tuned in to check it out, and the White House Periscope account now has nearly 3,800 followers.
Twitter-owned Periscope, used now by more than 10 million people, is using the Francis' visit to garner some attention. It's asking users to use special hashtags like #PopeInPhilly to generate custom emoji the company created for Francis' historic visit. It looks as if it's paying off: look here at the White House utilizing Periscope's new landscape mode.
The event is fitting social media synergy for Obama and the Pope, both of whom have relied heavily on technology like Twitter, Instagram, and other web channels to speak directly to followers and fans. Of course, Obama's affinity for social media is well known; it helped him get elected in 2008. But the Pope is no Luddite either. He's been crushing it on the @Pontifex Twitter account with Pope-esque musings posted every few days to his more than 7.2 million followers. He's also shown an affinity for Google Hangouts sessions, called the internet "a gift from God," and auctioned off his iPad for charity last April.