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28 Jan

Two business card alternatives: Save the trees, embrace the geekiness

Posted by 4 comments

My paper contacts in my office.

A few months ago, I uploaded a photo of my trusty, old Rolodex onto Facebook.

Over the years I have met some great people, collected a ton of business cards and attempted to alphabetize them in my Rolodex.

That alphabetizing part only lasted about 20 minutes some ten years ago.

Since then, I have had piles from different conferences strategically growing on my desk, in my backpack and around my Rolodex.

So, if business cards don’t work for me, what would?

Here are two ways I’ve begun sharing my contact info. Both of these I learned from people at I’ve meet at conferences.

The first is the extremely, iPhone-geeky-awesome Bump. This was introduced to me by David Stanton (@gotoplanb), Poynter Institute and University of Florida instructor, and all around cool tech guy. We met at AEJMC and sure, it probably took longer than physically swapping business cards, using the bump was much more fun. More importantly, it gets the contact information into your phone!

Why is it called Bump? To swap info, each iPhone user first loads up the free app, establishes a connection, then does a fist bump. Okay, the fist bump is actually optional… but the gesture/motion between the two iPhones triggers the app to look for a receiver/sender and syncs up the info. [See the video]

The second is simply, simple and I can’t believe it is free. At this year’s CES, I met some great L.A. tech folks, including Lisa Borodkin (@lisaborodkin). She’s an Entertainment + new media law and policy expert that is jumping into Web journalism reporting for LAist.

I didn’t believe her, but she asked me to text her first name to get a text back with her contact info. I did it, it worked. I set mine up.

Contxts is awesome. The downside: it’s in the SMS side of your phone, not contact side. But, it’s in your phone and adding it to your contacts shouldn’t take too long.

How’s it work, exactly? Just have people text your name/code to 50500 and boom, they get your info. I got greedy, so I have two accounts: webjournalist and roberth.

Try ’em out and tell me what you think.

There are TONS of alternatives to business cards swaps, and these are just two I’ve played with. Which ones have you used? What do you recommend we try or try to avoid?

Let’s do what we can to save the trees… and embrace your inner geek.

  1. March 14th, 2010 at 22:32 | #1

    Those seem like really useful apps. Do they work for any wifi-phone or just the iPhone? I might have to look more into these phone business card apps. I think there’s this app too that scans someone’s business card or something. Nice post!

  2. July 30th, 2011 at 14:21 | #3

    Ahem… you can send your contact through SMS and the phone WILL automatically pick the identity and ask you if you want to store it… (I’ve used it on phones that don’t even have a web browser a.k.a. ‘old’) and if you manage to get your contacts out of your email client into .vcf (i haven’t seen a single email client that doesn’t have this feature) you can import/send those to anywhere you want the contact to be. I find funny what other people find ‘geeky’. More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VCard

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