R We LinkedIn?
That was the question I asked all day last week at TribeCon 2010. I had the opportunity to talk to the crowd about why Advertising Will Never Light Your Customer's Fire and thought I'd use my 10 minutes of stage time to launch a micro-experiment. You know me... I love trying little social media experiments.
So I created a custom QR Code t-shirt (the one I'm wearing in the pic above) and wore it to the conference. Other than the missing question mark at the end, I thought it was pretty straightforward. I was inviting you to scan the code and if we were not connected on LinkedIn, add me.(BTW - it even works in this photo. Go ahead...scan it and see what happens.) UPDATE: I've been told by at least one reader the code won't scan... so just in case, click here to view my QR Code to see the actual code and scan it)
The point of the experiment was two-fold. First, I wanted to see if the technology would work. Would people be able to add me via the mobile device? And of course test the tracking software on the backend of the QR Code. Glad to report that all of that worked just fine. Overall scanning wasn't a problem, but I did have to occasionally make sure the shirt wasn't wrinkling over the code. The only other scan problem was when folks didn't have an open source QR Code scanner app. For instance, one person only had the MS Tag scanner, so it wouldn't work.
The second goal of the experiment -- and truthfully the more important one to me -- was to test basic human nature. Far too often I feel that technology makers and marketers can get caught up on our own love of the geek. We forget though that society, at least the face-to-face kind lives under certain social norms.
One of the biggest norms or abnorms depending on how you look at it is that in general, most folks do not feel comfortable coming up to a complete stranger and saying hello much less scanning their t-shirt. Given the high geek to normal people ratio attending TribeCon, I thought I might get a different outcome but alas, it seems even geeks feel odd violating someone's personal space to scan a t-shirt.
What I did see was a lot of folks looking at the shirt, pointing (usually sitting or standing in groups of one or two) and then they'd point to their phones... it was pretty clear they were talking about the shirt and the QR Code. But they wouldn't come over and try it for themselves. Of the 12 recorded scans (there were about 150 or so folks at TribeCon) most were by folks that knew me personally and wanted to "play with the shirt."
So it would seem that while we can create scannable clothing, human beings might not be quite ready for it. I'm hoping to learn more when I head up to Loudoun, VA for the SoMeT Tourism Symposium. I'm going to make a few more shirts to test. I think for one I'm going to put the code on the back and see if that one generates more scans. Maybe being able to sneak a scan is more acceptable... we'll see!
So what do you think about the idea/experiment? Why do you think I got the results I got? And most of all, any suggestions for how I might get better results with my next iteration?
And hey, if you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing so you can have posts from this blog sent directly to your eMail in box. And don't worry, I'll never share your email with anyone and I don't send anything but blog posts... because that's not what your here for right?