Business Cards or Poken for the BlogHer Conference This Year?

BlogHer Original Post

The one thing everyone agrees on about preparing for the BlogHer Conference is this: You must have business cards. Those business cards end up being your billboard for the weekend. They tout your brand, blog URLs, e-mail addresses, Twitter sign, and anything else you can squeeze onto the 3x5 inch surface (unless you have those tiny Moo cards--then you have even less real estate to work with). Enter Poken, the new tech gadget that allows you to store your information on a cute little thumb drive and share information with others via the High Four. It virtually eliminates the need for traditional cards. Or does it?

Using the Poken

The idea behind the Poken is that you store all of your social networking information on it (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Linked-In, MySpace, LiveJournal, etc.; You can decide how much of your information you want to share when you set up your account.). Then, when you meet someone else with a Poken, you High Four them:

The palms of the hands transfer information and that information is stored in the thumb drive. If the information doesn't transfer properly, the palm of the "hand" glows red to let you know to try again. When you're ready to download Poken information to your computer, the "hand" of the Poken pulls away from the body to reveal the USB connector and you just pop it into your computer. Each Poken stores up to 64 contacts before you need to download them to your online database.

The Poken Look

The look of the Poken, to me, seems geared toward women--it has an almost Hello Kitty feel about it. You know what I mean: that round, puffy, I'm-not-weird-and-creepy-I'm-cute look. I'm not much of a Panda or Bumble-Bee girl, myself, but I could get used to a Zombie or Alien.


Picture by Flipsen&Gaabstra

You can even customize your Poken for your business!

We do customized products for advertisers--both customizing the device (complete poken artwork that "looks like" your company's image, or logo printed on the back of the head). We also offer discount pricing for large quantities. Please note that we do logo customizations only if you are ordering more than 5000 units.

The possibilities here are endless.

Do You Poken?

In one corner we have the early-adopters who love the idea of the Poken because business cards are easily lost or are disposable (c'mon tell me you haven't just tossed those cards at some point!). The Poken keeps track of that social networking information you probably won't take the time to key into the system yourself. You plug in the Poken and it automagically takes care of everything for you.

In the other corner, cooler heads want to know what happens when you're the only hip kid in the room with the Poken? How do you trade information then? And what happens if you misplace the Poken (a valid question considering my relationship with car keys)? Pam Mandel asked me, "(What if) your contact doesn't have one? That person, they're a really important contact and you went all new gadget and didn't buy cards. Off goes super important contact with no card from you. Fame eludes you, the big bag of money never makes it to your porch, and you wonder why Super Important Contact never called. You cry bitter tears and have to go to work at the cube farm." Obviously this is a worst case scenario, but touche, Pam. You never know, do you? That one time you missed the contact could have changed your cube-dwelling life.

Pete Cashmore at Mashable isn't sold on the Poken either; he thinks we'll rely more on apps for our phones:

The characters sure are adorable, but there’s an obvious critical mass issue here: until everyone has one of these little critters, they’re next to useless. Not to mention the hassle of carrying an extra piece of kit when modern phones can do the same job (the Facebook iPhone app is great for this). Business cards are about to die, no doubt, but the services that replace them will not require new hardware. Instead, they’ll be on the device we already carry to every meeting, every networking event and, frankly, everywhere we go: the cellphone.

Erin Kotecki VestM countered with

So, I have my blackberry. I have my iPhone. I have my Poken. I have my laptop. My Poken can go on my keychain. It can go on my Flip's cord. It can be taken care of like I take care of my camera or my flip or my cell or my keys.

We meet, our Pokens touch, and when I get back to my room I stick my Poken in my laptop and BAM! you're now on my twitter, facebook, email, etc.

THEN I plug in my iPhone or my Blackberry and DING! it syncs and it's all on my phones.

I agree that the Poken idea is a good one (people always want a new way to connect), but I wonder if it will really take off in this first version. It seems to me that Bluetooth technology should be on this already. Our phones have the capability, someone just needs to harness it and enhance the usability. I say that, but rest assured that I am absolutely going to try to get one of these babies before the BlogHer conference. I can't resist a Zombie High Four.

So tell me, do you Poken?

More Poken Reading:

Melanie Nelson writes easy-to-follow tips and instructions for beginning and intermediate bloggers at Blogging Basics 101.

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