This year’s SXSWi-ers were the first user group to be introduced to the world of Stickybits, a new user-gen content-and-location app. It’s been making pretty big waves across social and news media so we decided it was time to have a go with it in the office.
Essentially, it is a barcode to which you can upload content with your smartphone and stick to real-life objects. You can attach any sort of content to it (pictures, images, copy, audio, etc…) including the location, if you want. Other people can then discover and scan the barcode to see what you’ve uploaded (the content that ‘owns’ the bar code) and can add content to it (a bit like commenting on a blog – so everyone who scans/views the code after you will be able to view the content you’ve added).
Try scanning the barcode above (you will have to download the app, but it’s free) to see how it works.
Official barcodes can be bought or downloaded from the Stickybits site but, in an interesting twist, you can apparently also ‘tag’ (add) your content to existing barcodes as well (yep, even the one on that can of cola on your desk).
I’m not entirely convinced it’s eternally practical, especially in a broad scope of accessibility as it’s a smartphone app and not a web based app. Part of the appeal of Twitter, Facebook, et al. is that they are web-based with mobile capacity, meaning they are more accessible to more people, in more ways, in wider demos. Stickybits is for smartphone users only (and not even all smartphone users – though Adam, our resident Googlevangelist, is happy they’ve included Android).
I also imagine there’s a huge amount of trust needed to make this work in a family-friendly, legit way for any sort of long term stability. I don’t think anyone wants to see streets lined with Stickybits or stumble across disturbing content (though apparently there is a ToS to abide by) while they’re innocently scanning away.
Still, it’s intriguing. It opens up the door for brands (and not just the consumer ones, either!) to add another layer of interactive messaging to a physical product; a new layer of contact for building relationships.
It’s a great step in the direction of on and offline integration and there’s huge potential to get really creative with it. Brands can incorporate reviews, best practice guides, user manuals, product notes, inventory, tracking, feedback forms, viral contesting , maps, business information, networking details… the barcode is your oyster.
So now I put it to you – have you tried it out? Come up with some good ideas? Have any thoughts on its practicality, longevity or even relevancy?