with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
(Pictured here: My very own fancy-schmancy QR code to take you to my shopping blog, just in case typing “wantnot.net” is too onerous.)
Writing online for a living brings a certain level of expectation in terms of keeping up with technology trends. Sure, you could be a professional blogger and refuse to use Twitter, but it’s a great way to increase your readership. Similarly, you could opt not to utilize Facebook, but it’s an easy way to increase your visibility and audience interaction. Etc. Social media is now considered par for the course in its various incarnations for those of us who do our business online.
So when QR codes started appearing everywhere, I dutifully (okay, maybe I rolled my eyes a little) started looking into them. And I downloaded a QR scanner to my phone.
And then… I became seriously underwhelmed.
I knew it was time to dig a little deeper when I started thinking about ordering new business cards and found myself considering including my QR code. Allow me to tell you exactly how many times I’ve used the QR scanner on my phone: Three. Once to scan my own newly-created code to make sure it worked properly, once to scan a PostSecret image, and once when I had someone in my house wearing a t-shirt with a code (but no smart phone with which to scan it). I couldn’t get the t-shirt code to scan, by the way, so I seriously suspect it of just being a squiggly square.
The thing is, unless you’re dealing with a URL that’s ridiculously long or there’s some reason why you’d like to mysteriously embed your code somewhere that text doesn’t make any sense, there’s very little reason to use a QR code beyond “it looks cool.” Having a URL next to the symbol is redundant. Or maybe I’m the only person who can type in a URL faster than I can locate my scanner and start it up.
So I’m pretty much loving this Globe and Mail article by author Ivor Tossell, which asks (in part):
[W]hy haven’t QR codes gone well and truly mainstream? Are these things the way of the future, or just the result of marketers talking to themselves?
Read the whole thing, because it’s a decent point-by-point analysis of why what’s “cool” isn’t always all that useful or logical in a given context. Granted, Tossell is talking about advertisements, but I daresay we can extrapolate out to business cards (which are a special kind of advertisement) and the like pretty easily. So, yes, I have a QR code. Does it belong on my business card? Does it say anything other than “I know how to make a QR code?”
I’m thinking probably not.
On the other hand, I can completely see creating a giveaway item (maybe reusable bags?) to give away at a conference or other event, and sticking a QR code on there instead of writing out my site information. That almost makes sense to me. Until I realize that if I want people to get the site name, it’s probably still more logical to just write it out than to force people to scan a square.
Is there some uber-practical application of the QR code I’m just not thinking of? Do you scan them when you see them? Do you use them on your own promotional items?
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