This afternoon the new Yellow Pages came though the door.
He’s right. Every year this increasingly redundant and dramatically shrinking book comes through the door and I post something about how increasingly redundant and dramatically shrinking it is. Acting superior to dying media platforms comforts me.
Recently I’ve taken to posting a photo of their QR code instructions too. Last year it generated a few titters and quickly fell into the soup of forgotten tweets. This year it went mildly viral with 279 retweets and 79 faves at time of writing (not to mention another 100+ quote-tweets, or whatever we’re calling them now).
Still, at least Yellow Pages provide us with the most damning piece of anti-QR code copy ever: pic.twitter.com/Gd853w5RMv
— Pete Ashton (@peteashton) June 25, 2013
This doesn’t happen to me very often but when it does I’m always struck by how it has nothing to do with me. In order for something to “go viral” it has to be divorced utterly from the original context. The meaning is folded into the narrative of the sharer. The source, even when credited, is irrelevant. It’s part of the hive-mind, an object around which relationships, prejudices and opinions are shaped and enforced. That I took the photo is beyond irrelevant.
People who haven’t had this experience can get all excited on your behalf when something like this happens, thinking it’s going to have dramatic knock-on effects. Yesterday at least 2,252 people saw the photo on Twitter and I got 25 new followers. The day before, with nothing special going on, I got 14 new followers. Given most will be spam or ghost corporate accounts (the sorts where no-one actually reads the stream) let’s be generous and say 10 actual people followed me because of this picture. That’s a conversion rate of 0.44%.
I’m not complaining. I’m happy my funny resonated and I’m glad to have provided a weapon in the war against QR codes which are as stupid and ugly and useless as they ever were and need to die. But, as with the Amazon Rape T-shirt whirlwind, I’m under no illusions that this was about me.