Business cards are the goofiest things. 98% of the time you hand them out to people who will never contact you. Exchanging them however, is a venerated ritual people still go through during business meetings. Most often this is unnecessary as our contact information is much more readily transferred online. A physical business card requires that you keep track of it and then enter the information manually. They’re really kind of pesky and annoying.
A new site, IdentyMe, offers a dynamic online business card service that helps further make the offline cards obsolete. It provides far above your basic contact information. You can create an entire portfolio representing your skills, talents, and interests. On top of that, IdentyMe lets you connect with other users and can be used for networking and building professional contacts.
Without further ado, I dove in and set up my own card. I must warn you- it looks far better than the business cards of yore. After recovering from the knock down style (of which there are many themes to choose from), you’ll notice five sections- Home, Portfolio, Resume, Social, and Contacts. Home contains basic intro information. This includes description, email contact, business URL, interests, and a link to download this info in vCard format. Portfolio is an image gallery. It’s entirely up to the user on how to use this. If they’re a designer they could readily import their best images. If a model then photos of their particularly good looking selves. If a computer nerd, then captioned pictures of Star Trek characters. The Resume tab has two options. You can either enter your resume into IdentyMe’s system or upload the document and people will in turn be able to download it. Some of the fields are industry, occupation, languages, rate, and skills. The Social tab is where your online social networking home pages are listed. Anything from Facebook to Friendster, AOL, to Twitter can be added here. This allows people to connect with you on whatever level is most convenient for them. Finally, the Contacts page contains your address, your general contact info, and also instant messenger handles. At the bottom is an embedded contact form so people can get in touch with you directly through IdentyMe’s website if none of the other options are preferred.
IdentyMe comes in three packages. The most basic is free. This offers all the described functionality and includes up to 100 images and 10 social profiles. By upgrading to their Plus or Maximum plans you get more images, profiles, and the option to include videos. The plans are $5 and $20 per month, respectively.
There are many advanced features that range from helpful to amazing. First is the ability to use a custom domain. Apparently you don’t have to host your business card on IdentyMe’s site; you can include it in your own URL. This is an incredibly helpful tool (or is that amazingly helpful?), since it will fit right in with an existing profile page. Next is you can readily set up Google Analytics with your account to track the number of views. In stark contrast, when you hand out business cards you have no idea where they end up. Here you can see if people are actually looking at the information. The granularity of privacy can be customized as well. For each piece of publicly displayed information you can select who you’d like to be able to view it. Fro example you can indicate if you’d like your phone number displayed to the whole world, just those in your contact list, only yourself, or set up a custom display. Still in development is the IdentyMe app for your mobile phone. Widgets have recently been released so you can embed your virtual card anywhere on the web such as blogs or on forums.
IdentyMe is a new and powerful tool for managing both your personal online business card and your online contacts. Its attractive themes are suitable for any industry and help you stand out and be remembered. The ease with which it can be set up makes it a simple way to give your online persona a complete face lift. It could help you get that new job or contract, and help impress all your business associates. Every advantage counts in the business world. IdentyMe’s virtual business cards help set you apart.