I want my mobile social address book

We have the technology. We even have the data. So why are we still using business cards?

Business cards are as obsolete as fax machines. And like fax machines, business cards have us still using paper to move electronic data from one digital system to another.

Let's review the whole archaic process. Send your electronic contact information to some company that prints it out on dead tree pulp. (The printing company requires the information electronically because, of course, giving it to them on paper would be an absurd waste of effort for them.)

Before leaving on a business trip, you have to make sure you remember to bring a stack of business cards, and transport them so they don't get folded, dog-eared or mutilated.

Meet someone. Shake hands. Exchange those tiny pieces of paper.

If you're good, you'll remember to find the card and do something with it after returning home -- along with all the other 20 cards you collected. Take a deep breath because, despite all that college education, you're now a data entry worker. Type that information into Microsoft Outlook or some other application that supports contacts. Don't make any errors!

Congratulations! You've now spent a huge amount of valuable time and effort to transmit digital data from one electronic contact database to another. The Internet could have done it for you more accurately in less than a second.

If you have the right kind of mobile phone, you might synchronize your desktop contacts list with your phone.

Over time, the people you meet get new phone numbers, e-mail addresses or even new jobs. Women get married and change their names. Your contacts grow increasingly inaccurate and useless over time.

Separately, you maintain a LinkedIn profile, and maybe one on Facebook, too. This is better, because contact with "friends" is maintained. But that doesn't help the obsolete numbers on your mobile phone. So when it's time to call someone, you're out of luck.

What a time-wasting mess.

Here's how it should work

Shake hands. Each of you pulls out a mobile phone. "What's your LinkedIn profile?" Open your phone's contact application, and press a single button. Choose LinkedIn from the drop-down menu, and type in the other person's profile specifier (in my case, it's "elgan" -- five quick digits). Press "Send." Done!

In bigger meetings, it becomes standard to add the appropriate social address book links with the invitation. The contact exchange happens before the meeting even starts, and that ridiculous contact exchange ritual is banished from the boardroom forever.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MySpaceskypeLinkedInsocial networkingFacebook

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mike Elgan

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?