Have you ever tried to leave a nice comment on a blog only to be derailed by five minutes' worth of trying to figure out what the squiggly text says in the box you have to fill in before you can leave your comment?
According to the official website,
A CAPTCHA [Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart] is a program that protects websites against bots by generating and grading tests that humans can pass but current computer programs cannot.
They're pretty useful for the webmasters and help eliminate quite a bit of spam. Those of us using them might have something else to say, though.
And that's why news of a new kind of captcha has me smiling and thinking of the possibilities in the Catholic sphere:
The PlayCaptcha system, developed by the UK’s Future Ad Labs, replaces the tired old text verification system with a mini game, suggesting it’s quicker than squinting at a normal captcha and, in good news for advertisers and brands, provides an exciting new little animated box that grabs the attention of internet users.
Think of the fun and evangelization we could have! If we can have error pages that invoke Saint Anthony and turn to the Mother of God, why not a PlayCaptcha that has us praying a Hail Mary? Or completing Bible stories? Or interactively teaching about the Mass?
Look at how Pope Francis used Twitter to trend #prayforpeace a few weeks ago in response to the conflicts in Syria. He essentially took something that I consider a fun pastime (Twitter) and harnessed it into a praying machine.
Really, it's what our call as Christians is all about: taking what's before us and turning it to Truth. Who says that can't be true of something as mundane and maddening as captcha too?
Here are a few hashtags to check out from the Catholic twittersphere:
Feel free to share your favorites in the comments: I'd love to do a post about them next week with your recommendations!