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Ever left a business meeting or conference with a fat wad of business cards that you know you're going to have to spend hours inputting into your electronic contacts list before tossing them into the recycling bin? Or have you ever left a trade show with more brochures and pamphlets than will fit into your grab bag, knowing that you're going to read through them maybe once or twice more, glean the info and then toss them into the recycle bin along with the business cards?
A popular alternative has become media kits on give-away USB flash drives. Using eco-friendly versions of these helps significantly cut down on wasted paper and ink, and they can be reused by the recipient for a good long time.
But there might be a green alternative even better than that through a service called TextID. The service allows a user to set up their business card info online. They set up an account an ID, and hand that out instead of a card. The recipient texts 555411 to the user's ID, and receives a text message with all the pertinent info, including links to URLs, PDFs and so on.
TextID positions itself as a paper-saving service for business cards. If that were its only use, we'd say "Pass..." But TextID has a lot more potential than just replacing business cards. It can help eliminate the need for printed brochures, press packs and other materials normally handed out to clients, instead sending them to a URL for a virtual copy.
As the company has pointed out on TreeHugger in the past:
Obviously the new service has a wide range of applications, from personal to commercial. Whether for realtors looking to get pricing and home information into a potential buyer’s hand while they are out looking for a home, a hip teacher providing up-to-date assignment and test information, a restaurant passing on weekly specials, a club promoter pushing the weekend band, or someone just looking to make the dating scene a bit easier, Text ID can work perfectly for a variety of users.
Weighing the pros and cons of using TextID versus business cards and printed hand-outs has to include the emissions issue - do emissions from using servers and gadgets outweigh the emissions from printed materials? Well, we can figure that people are going to use their cell phones and the internet with or without printed business cards and brochures floating around. And with more data center providers getting ever more efficient and using renewable energy to power servers, TextID is looking like a pretty green alternative.