The digital business card is not really a new idea. Over the past several years, it has evolved from the basic level of people including a URL on their physical business cards, to services now like Dropcard where you can send your details automatically by email, to sms based services like Contxts where you can just tell someone to sms your name to a shortcode and get your details (send a text message to 50500 with the word "rohit" to see how it works).
Earlier this month at the TechCrunch Europe Awards, a new social networking service won top honors for a new model that may just reinvent how digital business cards work. The company, called Poken, makes small USB devices that carry your personal social network information and exchange it with others through simply touching the devices together (called a "high four" due to the shape of the hand and four fingers instead of five). The device has been a hit in Europe and Japan and is starting to generate some buzz here in the US – having recently been spotlighted at the SXSW show a few months back.
To me, the most powerful part of Poken is that rather than blindly sharing your email and phone number with every person you meet, you can essentially collect their names and social networking profiles through the device (and share yours back) and then decide later if you want to connect with them or accept their contact. If you think about it, this is essentially what people have always done with business cards from events … collected them in a pile and tossed the ones they didn't want afterwards. Now you can do that digitally.
The real trick for Poken will be to get enough people to buy the devices to get them to make it viable as a way for people to connect. Their team blog offers some insight on how they might be able to actually do it, with a World Tour in the works and a growing stable of fans of the service. Not to mention, a singing pitch for the device from one of their company bloggers (below). If they can, the Poken may mean you never need to write down a fake phone number or pretend to run out of business cards again.
What made Seinfeld one of the best television shows ever? A big part of it was his ability to based an entire episode on an everyday observation. Over the run of the show, this method gave viewers such memorable moments as double dipping (taking a bite and then redipping the chip into the dip) and Festivus (a made up holiday…Read More >>
Many brands like to treat social media like a big party at the cool kids house. Everybody’s invited, and having a great time. The conversation is flowing and it’s the place that everyone wants to be. Eventually, you realize that your brand is not there yet, and someone (usually someone with a big title) decides that your brand should be….Read More >>
Last month an unlikely underdog stunned the marketing world at the International Cannes Advertising Festival. At the show, a single marketing campaign took home a Grand Prix award in three categories simultaneously–direct, cyber and PR– something that had never happened before in the 50+ year history of the show. Contrary to what you might expect, the unanimous winner of this…Read More >>
UPDATE: Follow me at @rohitbhargava if you liked this post! Last month a social media analytics provider named Sysomos released a comprehensive report on Twitter usage. The problem with most analysis on Twitter, though, is that it is limited by the minimal amount of data that Twitter collects. So, to fill the gaps, most reports do things like guessing gender…Read More >>
This weekend is the celebration of the American Independence Day on July 4th and if you have ever lived or travelled to America on this date, you know that the day is typically celebrated with BBQs and fireworks. Across the nation, people get ready for traditions that have remained largely unchanged. As the big day dawns, though, there are several…Read More >>
About Rohit Bhargava
Rohit is founder of the Influential Marketing Group and the best selling author of four marketing books. He teaches marketing at Georgetown University and speaks at events around the world on marketing trends, social media and the how to create more human brands.
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