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Why, oh why, do we still carry business cards? Think about it. You meet people at a conference. They give you their business cards. You either immediately add their information to your phone's contacts or you... lose the damned thing. Months later, you clean out your car, only to find six coffee-stained business cards from people that you can barely remember.
The thing is, no one uses a Rolodex anymore. No one keeps paper address books anymore. So why are business cards stuck in a paper-and-ink rut?
We wouldn't advise ditching them altogether, as they're practically a social expectation at this point. But if you'd like to take the next step and ensure that no one loses your contact information in a fit of spilled coffee, here are a few ideas:
Gizmodo says that QR codes "suck so hard." While not too eloquently stated, they certainly do have a point. Most people stare at those square-shaped bar codes and think, "Huh?"
Still, when done right, they do serve their purposes. You can program a QR code to link to nearly any data -- a website, a YouTube video, a contact card, or even a map to your business. For your business card, you might consider having a QR code that downloads your contact information into the user's phone.
The recipient of your barcoded-card can simply open a QR Code reading app, scan your business card, and your information is stored. No need for manual entry, inaccurate business-card scanning apps, or futile attempts to read through coffee stains.
If you thought scanning was neat, try tapping. Near Field Communication (NFC) is a quick way to transfer small amounts of data, by tapping an NFC chip against a compatible device. Most upscale Android and Windows phones have NFC, and Apple is rumored to finally include the chips in their next generation of iPhones, reports MacRumors.
How do you take advantage of NFC? You can either tap phone-to-phone, or for something with a bit more geek chic, you can buy NFC-programmed business cards.
They look old-school, but tap your phone to the card, and all of your information, or a website, or a video, or nearly anything you can imagine, will appear.
Which to Pick?
QR holds multiple advantages over NFC. For one, it doesn't cost anything extra to insert a QR code onto your business card. You use a free online generator, save the image, and give it to your online or offline business card merchant of choice. NFC, on the other hand, requires chips to be embedded in the card.
The other major advantage of QR is compatibility. Though the recipient will have to download a QR-reading app and scan with a steady hand, every smartphone can handle such a task. NFC, on the other hand, is less widely used.