Life is becoming more and more interactive right in front of our eyes. Today’s installment brought to you through mobile interactivity. One of the most popular forms of mobile interaction, centered around our lives and connections, is geo-location based services like Gowalla and Foursquare.
I personally play both of them, and I emphasize “play.” Not only do they provide another source of social connection, but they enable a game-like experience in my life. (I’ve also helped implement one of the first B2C experiences in Gowalla, a trend with both of them that is now picking up more steam.)
New to the game, both literally and figuratively, is Stickybits.
Stickybits is fascinating. The technology is centered around bar codes – these “stickybits” – to which people can attach photos, videos, and/or written word. In essence, they enable any real-world object to easily be made into social objects, ones that can be shared, passed around, commented on, connected through – anything, really, that you can imagine sharing with someone, just through a simple barcode. (You can either buy barcodes from Stickybits or you can use existing barcodes and download the Stickybits app, which is only available on iPhone and Android right now.)
As an example, think of a birthday card (which has a barcode). Instead of signing a long, drawn-out message on this birthday card, I can record a special video message and attach it to the card. Then, I can pass it around to others in the office for them to attach their special message to it. Then, when the recipient receives the card, they can scan the barcode and experience everyone’s messages. Cool, eh?
Think now, of applying/using user reviews. If I want to see what others have said about a new pair of tennis shoes before I buy them, I can scan the barcode and see a list of user reviews, provided someone has started the “string.” If not, I can create the review myself and attach it to the code for others to see who come after me.
There are cool things that you can do as the initiator of this string – you’re basically the moderator of all content posted thereafter. Anyone who contributes to the string can receive automatic updates and become even more involved in the (virtual) conversation.
From a brand’s perspective, this should be really exciting. Any packaged good that they produce has a barcode. They can easily attach a brand message or a special call-to-action or exclusive content for all who come into contact with that product to experience. You want to attach a special message from a thought-leader, or an executive at the company? No problem. You want users to vote on a particular flavor of soda (Mountain Dew)? No problem. You want Tom Hanks to deliver a Forrest Gump-like anecdote on that box of chocolates? No problem.
I talk often about the power of merging the offline with the online. It’s really what the 11th Screen is all about. This technology not only enables that real-time merging, but it provides connection, interactivity, and a little fun.