The Business Card As Social Media

The printed business card is becoming an anachronism. |əˈnakrəˌnizəm|
1) A thing belonging or appropriate to a period other than that in which it exists, esp. a thing that is conspicuously old-fashioned.
Exchanging business cards is rapidly getting replaced by exchanging Web links to LinkedIn, Google, Plaxo, or online profiles from other business-oriented social networking sites.

There have been several attempts to provide the capability to exchange contact information electronically. Many of the older PDA's had a method to beam contact information via infrared. Some smartphones can transfer vCards wirelessly via Bluetooth. vCard is a file format standard for electronic business cards. Even when the transfer technologies between devices are standardized, the applications have different implementations of the vCard standard and are often incompatible.

I recently discovered the Poken: a new social networking accessory that contains your contact information. You can put your photo, name, email, social networking IDs, screen names in your Poken. When you meet other Poken owners (here's the catch), you touch Pokens to connect. A more expensive, Poken Pulse doubles as a 2GB flash drive making it more convenient to carry. Still, not everyone has a Poken to connect instantly without a business card. I could see where a Poken might be useful given as a promotional freebie (SWAG) at trade shows, conferences, events and expos.

I still hand out my business card. But when I do, it is one of several personalized sets that I customize online at Vistaprint to a particular target audience. Even if they become conspicuously old-fashioned, business cards are still ubiquitous.