Thursday, October 27, 2011

Automatically Tweeting with a QR Code

To continue with my QR fever, I've been looking into what can be easily automated using QR codes.

Twitter
The first thing I found is how to tweet from a QR.  This is fairly easy since any QR can contain a URL; So, the only thing needed is a URL that will tweet.  A quick search on the web revealed this.

http://twitter.com/home?status=insert%20your%20message%20here

Use these codes for special characters – (%20 is a space) (%40 is @) (%25 is #) (More here).  Given that, you could even include a mention, a hash tag, or even a tiny url.  I'm trying to figure out how to include a location in a tweet, but that's proving more difficult.  If anyone knows how to do that, please let me know.  Once you have the text, you can put it into the QR code generator on Google's chart API.

Facebook
The next thing I found is how to make a QR code to get someone to Facebook.  Unfortunately, there's not really an easy way to get people to 'like' something on Facebook by just scanning the code.  What you can do is point people to your Facebook page (or to any URL really) and hope they like it from there.  One thing you can do is point them directly to a 'like' page within Facebook.  This is accomplished by creating a URL like this:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href=http://stuart.weenig.com

Click on the link above to see what this looks like.  You can replace the href=http://stuart.weenig.com with your own URL (like href=http://www.facebook.com/NetQoS).  This will bring up a very small like button that the user can then click on.  The nice thing about this is that if they're already logged into Facebook in their browser, they'll get a richer experience.

LinkedIn
Turns out sharing something to LinkedIn is pretty easy.  I used the qr generator at QR Stuff to figure out the link:

http://www.linkedin.com/shareArticle?mini=true&url=http%3A//stuart.weenig.com


I thought it was weird that the colon needed to be translated but that the forward slashes did not.  If you find that you need it, the URL code for a forward slash is %2F.  As you can see by clicking on the link above, the forward slashes do not need to be encoded for the share to work.

Locations
My next goal will be to figure out how to enable location based check-ins through Facebook and twitter.  If anyone already knows how to do that, let me know.