📑 4 Lessons From the Improbable Rise of QR Codes

Bookmarked 4 Lessons From the Improbable Rise of QR Codes – OneZero by Clive Thompson (clivethompson.medium.com)

The pandemic created an actual, honest-to-goodness problem for society: When we were out in public, nobody wanted to touch things. In the early months, everyone was worried about “fomites” and catching the coronavirus from surfaces. Obviously we know now that’s not how people really catch COVID-19, but for months the CDC was insisting we be super careful. If you went to a restaurant, you didn’t want the waiter to hand you a menu. At a doctor’s office, you didn’t want to touch forms. Nobody wanted to handle cash.

Suddenly the QR code became legit useful. Restaurants used QR codes to take you to their menu. Same with doctor’s offices and intake forms.

Clive Thompson reflects on the rise of QR Codes from being something of a gimmick to an actual solution to a problem during the pandemic. In the process, he identifies four lessons learnt through the process:

  • Technologies that seem silly can become unexpectedly powerful
  • Sometimes a tool is still waiting for its problem
  • Iteration can make dumb tools become good ones
  • “Open” usually wins over “closed”

As an easter egg, Thompson includes an “ouroboros of publishing” with a QR Code linking back to the actual article where the code is found. I remember doing something similar on Twitter in my early days. Thinking I was somehow clever or funny, I made my profile picture a QR Code linking back to my Twitter profile. However, when someone point out the effort they had to go through in scanning it, I soon changed it. The things we do sometimes I guess.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *