Monday, May 21, 2012

A New Way to Use QR Codes

     There is a new trend involving QR codes where people can scan a QR code on their beer glass to check in to Foursquare. This new way of using the QR codes is meant to connect people via social networking, it can also do more than allowing you to check in via foursquare. It allows you to tweet about your outing, or even update yourself on Facebook. (Mashable)
     The interesting thing about Foursquare is that it is a form of social networking that allows for you to learn about nearby locations and review them. The app/social networking site is just that, it allows friends a space to share their experiences at different businesses or restaurants and even explore the best items to get. This beer glass allows for a quick and easy check in as well as quick and easy reviews of the place.
     Foursquare is in a sense a directory of the best or most popular places to visit, and try out. With this new glass it allows for more people to have access to these kinds of reviews as well as giving them the opportunity to review a place themselves. Some may think this is taking things a step to far, they are over these QR codes. However, this is slightly different from the recent use of these codes of brands self-promoting their deals or websites.
     This allows for the user to promote or critique the business or their experience, it is a more interactive way of conducting advertising. Or is it just free advertising for the business? This is where the line begins to blur. We may be entering a new form of social networking where we do all the advertising for free, by simply checking in and sharing the information with our friends. You have to admit, it is a very clever way of getting people to promote your business, since we quite self-absorbed and convinced everyone cares where we are and what we are doing.
     Nonetheless, we have proved we do care what others are doing and where they are doing it, otherwise there would be no need to have a "check-in-here" button. Either that or we are desperate to earn the points or badges or special rewards for checking in to certain places. No matter the purpose we are finding new ways to be more socially interactive with one another, maybe this is the step we need to take to promote actual physical interaction with one another through the use of social media. We simply check in and encourage others to join us and experience somewhere new, or a regular favorite, thus using a social network to allow for actual social interaction in the physical world.
     Not only can we self-promote while promoting the business we are at, or encourage social interaction, but we can share with others hidden gems of the local area, finding new places we never knew existed. Who could imagine so much could come from a beer glass?
     The real question is, is this just a new form of the same old popularity contest or will it really be able to help provide us with insight to the best mom-and-pop diner down the road? I am sure this will take some time to catch on, it it actually does catch on, but it could provide us with a more interactive way to participate with advertising and sharing information about local businesses. It is a fast and easy way to check in to places, and a more interactive way to us QR codes. Only time will tell if it can be truly effective, but in the meantime I suppose we will order that dark ale and pull out our smartphones and check ourselves in to Facebook, Foursquare, or Twitter and hope someone comes to join us for a beer.


  1. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts about how location-aware popularity games like Foursquare could be part of the digital journalism ecology. QR codes are already an important part of both advertising and location-based storytelling, so it seems that more could be done with both the technology and the social behaviors to enhance digital journalism.

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