I’m currently attend graduate school on Wednesday nights at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Over the past few weeks I’d noticed a few people walking around with t-shirts that read:
I agree with Brian.
Initially, I assumed that this was an inside joke that a learning cohort or some other student group had found hilarious enough to put on a t-shirt. However, tonight, I learned just how wrong I was.
I came upon this display on my way to class from our campus Starbucks. Realizing that I might finally be able to solve the not-so-age-old mystery of “Brian,” I pulled out my trusty iPhone and quickly opened my QR reader. Needless to say, I was quite surprised by what I found:
“Brian is an SIUE student who believes that many people misunderstand the true message of Christianity…often, Christianity is made out to be about what we do for God, rather than what God did for us in sending Jesus.”
So, apparently, Brian is one of the thousands of students at SIUE and he just happens to be a Christian who is using technology to get the word out with the “word” being the Gospel.
Can I get an ‘amen’?
What I love about Brian’s project—besides the main message itself—is the way he’s getting it out there. QR codes haven’t quite caught the mainstream smart phone user’s attention, at least not to the degree that many marketers had hope. However, I think that QR codes are great for some pretty obvious reasons and at least one subtle one.
1. Shorten Crazy URLs
This is pretty obvious, but a small Rorschach-like box is a lot cleaner and easy to design around than a mile-long URL. Brian’s URL is scary because his “site” is simply a Google Doc. Using the QR code helps to keep his posters clean.
2. Narrow the Audience
While this can be a very negative quality, it can also make thing simpler. Brian’s posters advertise a meeting tomorrow night at 7pm. The website clarifies that the meeting is a panel discussion focused on answering the questions posed to from students and faculty via the website. By using the QR code, Brian is limiting his audience to smart phone users who also have a QR reader and know how to use it. This means that at his meeting he is more likely to have younger, technically-inclined college students than older, less technologically immersed faculty members. I don’t know about Brian, but if I were going to offer a panel aimed defending Christianity, I would rather fill the audience with curious students that potentially antagonistic professors.
3. Add to the Mystery
I don’t know if that I would have given Brian’s meeting a second thought if the poster was just a simple statement about Brian’s view of Christianity’s PR problems with a date and time for the panel. By truncating the poster’s message with a QR code, my curiosity was piqued. I scanned the QR code and found out more about Brian. Generally, I ignore the posters on campus because I am there so infrequently and can’t ever attend such events. It was the “mystery” surrounding the t-shirts, posters, and the QR code that drew me in.
What do you think of Brian’s use of QR codes or their use in general?
Note: I have refrained from including a link to Brian’s site because it offers a survey element that would surely be skewed if linked to on a national/international blog.