POKENs Ditch Paper Business Cards, Could Make Shaking Hands More Than a Friendly Gesture

obama poken image

Oh yes...It's an Obama POKEN. Image via MarketWatch video

We know the greenest option for a business card: scratch the info off a card already handed to you, replace it with your own, and recirculate it. Nothing greener than reuse! But...it isn't exactly professional looking. Could a POKEN also be a green solution? It ditches paper and shares social network information digitally just by "high fouring" someone who also has a POKEN. Everything from email to Twitter and Facebook information can be transferred with a touch.

Ok, so it has the great features that you can share information digitally in an instant. No gathering up a stack of business cards at an event, only to have to input the data yourself into the computer and put the cards in recycling. No more having to shell out a pretty penny on cards printed on recycled paper with soy ink and all the other elements that make it a little bit greener. No more running out of those carefully greened-up cards in the middle of an event.

These are all tempting features. But does it make a POKEN greener than using a business card? First, it only works with people who also have a POKEN, which means that everyone needs to hop on board with this to make it useful. With that in mind, we'd love to see a lifecycle analysis on these so that we can compare its footprint to that of paper business cards. How long does it last and how recyclable is it? It also only holds 100 contacts at a time - not a lot of space if you're attending a big networking event. Users might still want business cards, or 2-3 POKENS, to make sure they have enough to share.

The POKENPulse seems like a better alternative, since it's the same thing but on a 2 GB flash drive, making it more useful in the long run. And, it doesn't look so cheesy as the "regular" POKENs.

Also, many smart devices have the ability to beam info. If two people have an iPhone, Palm Pilot or similar device, you can share the info without needing to buy another electronic widget. Or, there's TextID, which accomplishes the same thing as POKEN but without either user needing anything but their cell phone.

While the POKEN seems like a great alternative to paper business cards, especially for those heavily involved in online social networking as it links up with Facebook, Twitter and 45 other networking sites. However, it doesn't seem to be a much greener alternative than what services we already have available. It seems much more appropriate that if you're taking your business info digital, you use services that are digital on the devices you already own, like your cell phone, to transfer the information. We'd rather see an app for that, than a whole new electronic device.

They retail for about $20, and are available in 25 countries worldwide. And the business expects to see growth with its launch at the Sundance Film Festival 2010.

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