Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cracking the Code

I've always thought of myself as a teacher, a wife, a mom, but never a computer geek (Stop laughing--I'm serious.)...until last night. We were eating dinner at a restaurant when I noticed the QR code displayed on the table. I commented on it being a great idea (the waiter chirped about how his manager had whipped up the idea). When I tried to use it, though, it went nowhere. The reason: The url linking to the site had been pasted into a box that already had "http://" in it, so when the manager pasted his url in (also containing http:// at the front of it), it doubled up. I was able to explain it to the manager, who was grateful but annoyed; he had made a lot of copies of those codes and had them all laminated and placed on the tables in the restaurant. Moral of the story...Make sure your QR code works before distributing it.

 Upon returning to our meal, my husband looked at me and smiled, " little geek. I'm so proud."

 My name's Barb, and I am also (apparently) a computer geek

Want to know a little more about QR codes? There's an example of one at the top of this post, and if you don't have a smartphone, you probably don't know or care what they are. However, if you are a business owner or someone trying to promote something, a QR code can be a great tool for you to discover.

Basically, QR codes are usually linked to websites. You can display a QR code in your place of business, for example, and your customers simply take a photo with a QR code-reading app on their phones, and they'll be taken directly to your website/Twitter page/etc. You can choose which page it leads to. Smart business owners know how to connect with their customers (or potential customers) and take advantage of this simple technology.

Making a QR code is so simple, a monkey (who can read) could probably do it. Just copy the url to the site you want yours to go to, and then use a QR code generator site like this one to create your code. [Click on the url tab to make a code for a website.] (You can also make a QR code to lead to a phone number or other stuff I don't know anything about :)  All you have to remember is that if there is already something in the box you're pasting the url into, you should delete that, first. Then, TEST your QR code to make sure it works.

Got something to promote? Think about your target audience and where you can reach them--your business card, bus stops, college campuses, malls, bathroom doors (just get permission first when appropriate). Another idea I just came up with for a QR code is to put one in a Valentines Day card, leading to a special video or something. Wouldn't that be sweet?! In school, we're using them to take kids on virtual scavenger hunts and other explorations.  The possibilities are endless, of course.

Now that I think of it, I suppose the potential for abuse with QR codes is also there. It will be interesting to see where this technology goes. In the meantime, I'm going to have fun exploring.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your 2 cents...