Techno Gizmo Gadget

    September 25, 2000

There is an infomercial running these days by a company that makes a Techno-Gizmo Gadget. The production values are high, the writing is clever and the goal is the clear. Get this “gadget” into the hands of consumers and it allows immediate interactive advertising! Use this goody, connected to your computer to scan a bar code on a product and you are taken immediately to a web page with more info! I can’t imagine what more I’d want to know about my soda-pop, but what a great idea for interactive learning!

I can see both the good and the bad here with two major scenarios.

1) Immediate interactive TV ads with privacy invasion implications.

2) The potential for powerful and immediate interactive learning and community building!

OK, maybe many more things, both good and bad, but at least these two highly polarized ends of the spectrum are possible. To me, the latter is worth the risks of the former.

If it is used only to give you the ability to let you scan product barcodes to visit an online advertisement, then it is definitely junk. But hang on a second.

This has huge implications for learning! Imagine a kid sitting in a classroom, scanning a bar code from a textbook to go directly to an online dynamic lesson with more engaging learning potential than that of the dead tree, fixed information text book. This could revolutionize teaching, learning and yes, even advertising.

Let’s look at the possibilities here, instead of the mind-numbing stupidity of using it for it’s primary purpose of interactive consumer monitoring, privacy invasion. How about the potential for quality, interactive learning?

There is another aspect to this tool. If you connect it to your TV, a special tone takes you to a dedicated web page. Now when used for soft drink sales, this is plain dumb. But used for education and learning, it becomes wonderful and potentially invaluable!

*You* can now get your own barcode to take those same consumers to a specific page at Will you take the opportunity to promote your product or service? You bet you will! But consider doing this in a valuable manner by promoting a discussion list or even connect them to a chat room to discuss a valuable TV show on the Discovery Channel or present a webcast or to study community building techniques and web learning trends. Product sales follow.

Let’s go to the Learning Channel. I have a cable modem for blazing fast information transfer online. It happens to come with my local cable TV. New ways to connect online suddenly become apparent. I’m watching a show on the Learning Channel and decide I want to know more about the subject. A special tone sounds on the TV and takes me to a web site dedicated to that subject with links to more resources. If my computer is separate, that means I must have it in the same room and pay attention to both the TV and the computer.

But hold on! What happens when the TV can display that web page on a split screen? Now I can watch the educational Television and surf to and bookmark relevant information related to the subject that interests me! Take this technology wireless and it translates to radio interaction, interactive college courses with combined video and web chat live during a lecture or presentation, even remotely attending meetings and events with the ability to participate.

Use it for laudable and worthwhile ends rather than soda-pop sales! This tool makes learning engaging and immediately interactive! I’ve personally sent for a techno-gizmo gadget of my own! They even got me to pay shipping. But I am so jazzed about the possibilities that it’s worth it and I can’t wait to get it. Forget the stupid intentions of interactive advertising!

What about the potential for LEARNING? I’ve not doubt that there will be attempts by dog food makers to get me to surf to their kibble page online, but I intend to use this cool tool to visit reference material, reasearch articles, learn new skills and then pass them along to others! Watch for the WebSite101 bar code to appear on your cereal box soon!

Mike Banks Valentine operates SEOptimism, Offering SEO training of
in-house content managers
as well as the Small Business Ecommerce Tutorial at and blogs about SEO at
where this article appears with live links to SMO stories, buttons, blog posts and examples.