You are at the party or favourite bar and you have started to chat with someone very well. But you mention that you are on Facebook and they say that they are also on that same social network. You ask if it is OK to “friend them” on Facebook and they agree.
The next thing you do is ask for their name to search for them in your Facebook mobile app. This can be very difficult in a noisy environment or if they have a name that has a particular spelling or is one of many common names. Pick, pick, pick, pick, pick – you have found that person and are sending a “Friend Request”to them.
Now Facebook have improved on this for the latest version of their Android mobile client by using the QR code to simplify the profile-sharing process. Here, you bring up “Friends” in the drop-down menu. Then you tap “Find Friends” which shows the “People You May Know” list. Touch the “QR Code” button on the top right of your display to show a QR code that represents a link to your Profile.
If you are adding your companion to your Friends list, you then tap “Scan Code” and point your Android phone’s camera at the QR code that your companion is showing on their Android phone’s screen using this same client. This takes you to their Timeline which would have any “public” posts that are on it as well as the option to add them as a Friend.
I don’t see this as a controversial feature for Facebook because you have to be pulling up your Facebook Profile’s QR code in the presence of your companion who then has to use their device running the client app to scan that code – you are not intending to “friend them” behind their back.
This function could be taken further for businesses who have Facebook Pages or people who use Facebook Pages as a way to maintain a sanitised “public” profile. As well, if a person maintains a Page for their business or blog along with their personal Profile, the QR code could lead the user to a screen with an option to go to the Page which you then “like” to follow or the Profile with an option to “subscribe” (see only public Posts and Photos) or “add Friend” (be seen as a Facebook Friend with standard privileges).
Similarly, other social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn could implement this technology to allow people to attract followers or connections. NFC technology can also be exploited to achieve the same functionality as these QR codes for “there-and-then” access to contact profiles.