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The Rise of the QR Code

This is the year of the QR code. In my first few hours at BlogHer, I’ve already been handed several business cards with this nifty code printed on the back. So, what the heck is a QR code?

Here’s the definition from Wikepedia:

QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response code) is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) that is readable by dedicated QR barcode readerstelephone cameras, and to a less common extent, computers with webcams. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded may be text, URL, or other data.

Common in Japan, where it was created by Toyota subsidiary Denso-Wave in 1994, the QR code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes. The QR code was designed to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.[1]

So why have a QR code on your business card?

Once you’ve generated a QR code (I used this site, but there are literally dozens of free QR code generators), anyone that has a QR code reader in their cell phone (both iPhone and Droids have free QR code apps available) can easily access your personal information with just one click. The QR code reader will then store all the links and notes that it’s read for easy access later. It’s a great way to gather information at conferences and events rather than collecting physical business cards.

Of course the question is, what should your QR code link to? You can choose to link to a website (I’ve linked to my About.Me page because I find it to be the best way for folks to see the entirety of my online presence). Other folks have linked to their blog pages, created a downloadable note, set up contact information, and more. You have complete control over what the QR code links to.

You’ve probably seen QR codes around; I spotted one on the plastic soda cup from a fast food restaurant, I’ve seen them in store windows advertising sales, and whenever I travel my digital boarding passes feature a QR code (the airlines and security check points all have QR code readers now).

I’m looking forward to watching how the QR code comes into play at the BlogHer this weekend. How about you? Do you have a QR code on your business card? Do you think it’s a great idea or just another tech gizmo that is only relevant to a few folks?

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