free html hit counter My Location Is A Box of Cereal - John Battelle's Search Blog

My Location Is A Box of Cereal

By - March 23, 2010

sbits.pngMy latest Signal is up over at the FM blog. I had a fun day. From it:  

As readers know, I’ve declared the “check-in” as the latest field in the Database of Intentions. “Where I am” is a powerful signal, in particular if where you are is a local business that might answer that signal with an offer that engenders loyalty, purchase, or both.

But I’m starting to think that we need to expand the concept of location to more than physical spaces. Why can’t I check-in to a website? An article? A state of mind? An emotion? Or…an object?

Over at FM, we’ve been thinking about that very question, and have been busy turning theory into practice (more on that later). But I got a glimpse of where “the check-in” might be headed today when my pal Seth Goldstein came over to give me a tour of StickyBits.

StickyBits started as a way to attach digital content to physical objects – “tagging” them with a physical sticker emblazoned with a barcode. A slick iPhone or Android app makes it easy – you just slap on the sticker, take a photo of it, and connect the sticker to a web media object in the cloud (for example a video of your kids). Then anyone who sees that sticker can scan it, and see the same object. It’s a great idea for, say, a greeting card company.

But a funny thing happens when you put technology into the hands of real people. Stickbits launched at SXSW, and as William Gibson famously said, the street finds its own use for technology. In the case of StickyBits, people figured they could scan any bar code and attach annotations. And it turns out, there are a hell of a lot of barcodes in our lives every day. And it also turns out, StickyBits supports the use of any barcode as a tagging location.

Cans of coke, bars of chocolate, boxes of Kleenex or breakfast cereal – the tagged items starting pouring in. People were actually checking into brands through the use of that brand’s product….


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One thought on “My Location Is A Box of Cereal

  1. remmy says:

    Oh no, not Seth Goldstein again. IS this yet another hit and run job?