Two Ways to Replace Business Cards with Your iPhone

Last Updated Aug 11, 2009 9:21 PM EDT

I hate business cards. I don't like carrying a stack of my own cards, and I certainly don't relish the job of transferring other people's cards into my contact manager -- especially when I get a stack of them, like at a trade show. That's so 1987.

That's why I'm cautiously optimistic that these two iPhone apps could help bury the business card once and for all.
First up: Bump exchanges your personal information with another iPhone user when you "bump" phones. Then, sensing a jerk from the iPhone's accelerometer, it trades contact information with another nearby Bump user using Bluetooth. You can specify how much data to swap - you can limit it to your phone number, photo, e-mail, or address, or just send everything.

Another option: My Name is E is an identity-sharing iPhone app that leverages a service called E. The idea is similar to Bump, but on a far grander scale - bump your phones (actually, E spins it as more of a flipping motion) and you can not only share personal contact information, but automatically show up as a friend in any number of social networking services. So by flinging your iPhone in a stranger's direction, you can connect to him or her in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and a few dozen other services.

E bills itself as able to automatically friend you on social networking services, which is a pretty compelling feature. Unfortunately, I found that among the services that matter - namely, LinkedIn and Facebook - automatic friending is not supported. Bummer.

Are these apps the death of business cards? Not really, because for either of these apps to work, both people must already have them installed. And honestly, I have been carrying both Bump and My Name is E around for a while now, and I still haven't found a single person to share with. But I haven't given up hope. If you see me on the street, please Bump with me.

What about you? Would you use a biz card-killing app like one of these? Do you want to replace business cards with a digital solution? Sound off in the comments.

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