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Today, I attended CPCC’s Geek Fest. Basically, a mini-tech convention put on by the local community college, and sponsored by companies local, regional, and international. And as had been the course the past two years, I attended as a speaker (more info about that at MMM). After I did my morning talk, I wandered the halls connecting with some companies that I’d not talked to in a while, and running into some other folks who are new to me, but by no means new to IT. And then it happened, the business card question. I don’t like that question… especially at a tech conference.

Do you have a business card?

Well, course I do. The question you are really asking is: do you have a means of contact information that you want to share with me, that I’m free to add to whatsoever database I choose, and you have little to no means of tracking it until you are contacted?

Eh, ew. Or maybe the interaction was more like…

Do you have a business card?

Sure. How do you wish to receive it, because its digital only?

Then comes that face. Folks don’t know they can send contact info via SMS or Bluetooth. They want to hold onto a sheet of paper and want me to hold onto theirs. Then I’ve got to spend some amount of time putting that info into my contact system, sync to my phone(s), and make sure that it only touches the sides of life that I wish for you to touch.

Yes, I’ve got a business card. But, I refuse to do the dance.

So, people got the answer from me that’s become normal. I can send it to you digitally, or you can wait until I get to a place where I feel like emailing it to you. Or, you can be really advanteageous (having paid some attention to my presentation earlier) and ask if there’s some QR/AR method for me to get your contact info without passing paper.

Its longer, but I like that better. I like being able to go into my Messaging app and see strange numbers for people and that there’s a sent or received vCard from them. Even better when that’s seen with a Bluetooth icon. Because now I know that person knows a bit more about to use their mobile.

Or, those folks who don’t have anything on their business cards but a name, title, and LinkedIn/personal URL. Even more fun there, because you know they are tracking it.

I’ve stopped carrying paper business cards. Especially at tech conferences, they aren’t the part of the experience that I like. And when you are a speaker, and your contact info is already public, you really don’t need to pass a strip of paper, that will get lost in a washing machine or wet wallet. Surely we are better than that… then again, am off to said tech conference to learn about making digital books that are as familiar as paper, but with fancier images.

I’m sure we can do better.

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