Saturday, 2 October 2010

A little experiment in hiding words in plain sight

    Yesterday at work I decided to try a little experiment. My desk is next to a busy thoroughfare, with a lot of people who I'd rate as fitting my target audience passing me every day. I printed out a QR code encoded with the phrase "Does anyone respond to QR codes? Email me if you're one of them" and my work email address on a piece of A4 and stuck it on to the office partition facing my passing colleagues.
    QR codes have interested me ever since I first read about them a few years ago. Beyond the steganographic appeal of hiding text in plain sight they offer an interface between printed media and the online world, two areas that seem so mutually exclusive. And since most mobile phones now have the capability to read them they should be far more common than they are.
    Hence my experiment. Employees of a large publishing company are likely to have at least heard of QR codes and also to posses smartphones, but how many will respond to one in their everyday environment?
    I'll be leaving my QR code up for a month. I'll be very disappointed if nobody responds to it.

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