What's missing in your birth control technique? Is it, maybe, a location-based app? If so, you will love the new safe-sex promotion from Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest. They're giving out condoms with QR-coded wrappers that users can scan to post their condom-use location online, after the fact. You know, just like Foursquare, but with a map generated of condom-use locations. Users can add information (anonymously, via pull-down box options) about the players involved, what "the safe sex was" like, and why they use condoms; they can also upload that information to their Twitter and Facebook accounts. Participants are urged "Sex that safe, should be shared," which is a great message... Sort of?
One recent description on the site WhereDidYouWearIt.com:
"A 30 something guy and a girl whose relationship is just for fun and have already talked about safer sex and STDs used a condom in the bedroom to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. It was ah-maz-ing – rainbows exploded and mountains trembled."
We are all for the promotion of safe sex, and for an openness about talking about such things, but this seems an awkward merger between capturing the potential of social media to create a more STD-free/healthy-sex-positive world -- and, well, just plain over-sharing. It also sounds a lot like bragging, one of the things many people dislike about social media. There's something creepy about the idea of "recording conquests" and thinking about other people reading them. After all, anonymous online behavior is generally not a model of decency and intelligence. Plus, do the pull-down box descriptions have to be so corny?
We think Planned Parenthood's heart is in the right place, but we're just not sure that this particular effort is. Do condoms really need a social media slant? Then again, if this really does help promote condom use and get rid of stigmas, we can't really complain. Maybe we'll even start using Foursquare.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.