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Are you ready to get a warning from the Center for Science in the Public Interest about the evils of high fructose corn syrup every time you buy a Coke? Would you like to share your thoughts on the anti-feminist subtext of Computer Engineer Barbie with anyone who picks up the doll? For years, we’ve mostly confined political discourse to static, insular venues like the university, the coffee shop, and the Web. But now, thanks to a new app called Stickybits, we can have our say in truly vital venues, like the toy aisle at Wal-Mart.
To use Stickybits, you need an iPhone or a phone running Google Android. Once you download the app, you can start scanning barcodes or QR codes and attaching files to them—photos, video, text, music, etc. Then, when other Stickybits users scan the same code, they can see what you’ve attached. Stickybits sells packs of vinyl stickers printed with unique barcodes via Amazon, and you can also download free barcodes directly from the Stickybits website and print them out on your printer. In addition, the app works with any barcode that appears on a commercial product.
When you use one of the stickers that Stickybits provides, your audience is limited to whoever else scans that unique code. But a barcode that appears on a 20 oz. bottle of Coke isn’t unique—it appears on millions of other 20 oz. bottles of Coke. Scan the one sitting in your refrigerator, and your message will be instantly available to everyone else in the world who has a bottle of Coke with that barcode on it and cares to scan it.