Condoms are supposed to do everything but spread things around, so it seems rather questionable when Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest announced and gave out 55,000 condoms with scannable Quick Response (QR) codes to let users report the locations of their romancing. But rest assured, this is not a way for the organization to snoop on your private life.
As part of a movement to help young people realize safe sex happens (and should be happening) everywhere, Planned Parenthood launched Where Did You Wear It so you can essentially “check in” using the GPS on your scanning devices and submit your locations to the site. The site will use this information to crowdsource a map of where safe sex has been occuring and hopefully normalize the use of condoms to make users feel “proud to wear protection.” Each check-in earns a new spot on a map that you can tweet to your followers or post on your Facebook wall. The map is also searchable by gender, age, location, type of relationship and other constraints to localize and cater to your curiosity.
“Condoms are an essential tool in preventing unintended pregnancy and stopping the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV,” said Nathan Engebretson, new media coordinator for Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest. “We hope the site promotes discussions within relationships about condoms and helps to remove perceived stigmas that some people may have about condom use.”
The site believes using social media will help the younger, sexually active generation feel comfortable promoting good practices instead of being embarrassed to publicly talk about safe sex. And unlike Foursquare and the new Google Latitude, users won’t have to reveal exactly where they are checking in. The organization realizes sex should still be a private matter, and will only post anonymous submissions without the specific address of the geolocation tagged to the scanned QR code.
“If a person puts in their actual home address, the dot that’s generated is randomized plus or minus three or four city blocks, so it doesn’t put a dot exactly at their house,” Engebretson said. “We really wanted to give people an option so they could see their check-in reflected on the map but at the same time give them some privacy.”
The campaign, originally launched during National Condom Week two weeks ago, has garnered responses from 48 of the 50 states and six continents to date. Planned Parenthood stated that various condom companies have also expressed interest in incorporating QR codes on their packaging to help promote the cause. So the next time you search on Where Did You Wear It, don’t be too disturbed if some naughty things have been happening at close proximity to your house. At least they were using protection, and it’s probably better than just plain announcing to Facebook you’ve recently gotten action.