September 22, 2014
September 19, 2014
Watch: a drone’s perspective of the Scarborough Bluffs
Worn Fashion Journal announces its final issue
Fort York Visitor Centre opens to the public this weekend.
Thousands line up at the Eaton Centre for a chance to buy one of the new iPhones
IParkedInABikeLane stickers aim to shame drivers who park in the city’s bike lanes
Condom Foursquare: Safe-Sex Mobile Check Ins with QR Codes
Let's talk about sex. ... With our smartphones. Would you check in?

Let’s talk about sex, with our smartphones.  

This month, Planned Parenthood launched a new program that brings Quick Response-codes into the bedroom. Over 55,000 free, QR code-enabled condoms have been distributed across Washington state, encouraging safe-sex and latex users to check in to a ’condom Foursquare’ after handling. Sexy.

I’m sure Spinderella would approve. Image: DesignTaxi

Users are able to scan the QR code and upload their location to Planned Parenthood’s “Where Did You Wear It?” site, anonymously. Since launching at the beginning of March, this condom Foursquare has recorded more than 4,500 check ins, and 65,000 views from 50 states.

The website, which pushes users to, “be proud to wear protection,” uses the QR codes to create an interactive map to show just where people are having safe sex. The map can even be filtered through gender, sexual orientation, approximate age and other searches, too. But don’t worry, distances are approximate, and names remain anonymous. Users are also able to rate their sexual dalliance on a scale from one to five, and can also write a performance review.

“A 20-something guy and a girl whose relationship is getting serious and have already talked about safer sex and STDs used a condom in the bedroom to prevent an unplanned pregnancy,” said an anonymous check-in review from Wenatchee, Wash. ”It was pretty good — I got no complaints.”

Charming.

“We really wanted to give people an option so they could see their check-in reflected on the map but at the same time give them some privacy,” said Nathan Engebretson, the Great Northwest Co-ordinator for Planned Parenthood.

This safe-sex awareness campaign is yet another example of the spread of QR code, mobile-friendly ubiquity.

This Planned Parenthood initiative may be using technology to debunk sexual taboos, but these cyber shortcuts and promotions are hardly the most unconventional use of the QR code. To catalogue this mobile omnipresence, Brad Frost and Craig Villamor of New York have started a Tumblr called, simply, WTF? QR Codes to comment on the “ridiculousness that is QR codes.”

Still, in an effort to make their site more user-friendly, even if one’s condom does not have a barcode, they can still register their safe-sex encounters online to support Planned Parenthood’s campaign. Would you check in?

____

Joanna Adams writes the Morning Cable, and lots more, for Toronto Standard. Follow her on Twitter at ‏ @nowstarringTO.

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