Why I'm Burning My Business Cards: Page 2

The practice of transferring professional data on a tree-based storage medium predates the telegraph. Just say no – and take a look at some alternatives.


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A startup app called SociaLink uses Bluetooth to enable people to exchange LinkedIn Facebook, Twitter and Instagram information.

The downside is that both parties need the app. You can send a link via email, but they need to install the app to get your data.

SociaLink is not really a business card replacement, but more of a way for two people to follow each other on 1, 2, 3 or 4 social networks — which you select at the point of exchange. Another interesting approach is a new feature called Livecards of an existing product called Cobook.

The idea is that you fill out your own contact information in your own Livecard interface, which exists both in mobile apps and on a desktop version, and you connect to other people using the app. When you update your contact information it's automatically updated in the Livecards of people you connected with.

It also links into both Facebook and LinkedIn to keep that contact data up-to-date as well.

One of the most elegant and practical ways to digitize business cards and transfer that data is Evernote Hello— at least if you're an Evernote user.

Available for both iPhones and Android phones, Evernote Hello lets you take a picture of someone's business card, which populates its contacts database. Best of all, when both people are using Evernote Hello, you can exchange contact information via sound — no wireless protocol required — you just have to be within earshot.

Most of the solutions are great, and will work very well if everyone would buy into them. The trouble is, everyone won't.

What we need is a solution so dominant that everybody uses it, or a standard that multiple solutions use where data could be easily exchanged across different products.

That's why I find it astounding that a company like Facebook hasn't come up with a business card replacement solution. Enough people use Facebook so that if they were to launch such feature, it could become the standard.

Professionals might feel uncomfortable using Facebook as their business card, which is why LinkedIn should put less effort into trying to be a social network, and more effort into trying to replace business cards.

Google recently revamped their contacts system. It's a little better, but the company still isn't trying to replace business cards in any serious way.

The prospect of replacing business cards with a universal digital standard looks grim. The companies that are trying to bring about this transformation through innovation are too small to become the standard, and the companies that are big enough to do it don't seem to want to.

Still, of all these methods, ordinary dumb paper business cards are the worst.

That's why I'm never going to exchange another business card. Maybe if enough of us stop the insanity, we can finally abandon this barbaric, wasteful and idiotic transfer of personal data on plant fiber once and for all, and transfer contact information instantly and wirelessly.

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Tags: networking, IT

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