Get Wickd (props for the name boys – totally wicked!) is a tech-fashion brand that sells basic clothes with barcodes that can link your mobile phone to any page on the web, from a Myspace profile to a Youtube movie. This technique makes it possible to literally wear your virtual identity, where ever you go.
This goes something like this:
- You buy a piece of GetWickd clothing (of course, this is the most important step!);
- You download and install the special software on your mobile;
- If you see somebody else, or somebody else sees you with a piece of barcode-clothing, you take a picture with your mobile phone;
- You phone displays the personal page of the owner of the barcode.
Don't we know this? In the late '90's, at the heighdays of the dotcom-hype we had a fashionbrand called Skim.com. This brand sold fashionable streetwear with a personal number which featured as a login code for a personal website of the owner. So, if you saw somebody walking around with these clothes you could write down (to write things down – do we remember what this was, ladies and gentlemen?) the number and then look the owner up on his personal Skim.com page. And then? Well, nobody really knew what then, but in fact it didn't matter. It was possible, it was technology, it was sexy! It was a little hype for a while but nobody seems to really know what happened to the brand.So, is this GetWickd thing yesterday's news or is there really something intelligent behind the whole concept? One of the big differences with Skim.com is the involvement of the mobile phone. This turns the camera in your cellphone more in some sort of scanning device than into err… a camera. You don't have to wait untill you're home to look up this hot person you saw. No, you can just check their profile while you stand next to them and this is what makes the whole thing a bit awkward.
Do you QQ?
It reminds me of the way Chinese adolescents communicate. As you might know, you cannot just walk up to any Chinese girl to talk with her. You can only talk to her if you know her already. But how do you get to know her if you cannot eve get the chance to talk to her? For Chinese guys this must be pretty frustrating at times. Luckily enough there is QQ: the Chinese version of MSN. So, if you desperately want to get to know a Chinese girl, you can ask: can I have your QQ number? What would probably follow is a few QQ chatsessions and probably a date after that. It works, but still feels rather inconvenient and clumsy. Mediated experiences ARE replacing our real-life experiences and the same goes with this GetWickd thing. But let's get back to the comparison with Skim.
Another big difference is that this device can link to any page on the web, not just to a corporate pre-fabricated environment. This is handy, but also a bit lame. It doesn't add more to your life than just providing a techy fashionable way to look up somebody else's profile, also on moment when you're not behind your computer. It doesn't filter, generate or record new content and that makes the whole concept just a little not-so-two-point-zero.
To take a picture of a sign on somebody's clothes just to view their personal profile instead of just walking up to them to start a conversation seems a little quirky to me. In fact, if you'd write your personal webpage on a piece of paper and hand it over to the person you find interesting, you'd have a better starting of of a new friendship. You're already conversating!
All in all, to me this is a bit of a phantasy lacking example of how the virtual and the physical merge into a new realm. But it does show one thing: our realationships become increasingly dependant on the exchange information and the sharing of prefabricated lifestyles.
The business of linking people together through social networks turns out to become the business of people linking social networks together.