Professional networking at events and conferences is still very much an analog process, with many attendees relying on paper business cards and a verbal exchange of contact info. But LinkedIn wants to bring networking into the digital age with QR codes.
In a recent company blog post, LinkedIn announced the launch of a new feature simply titled LinkedIn QR code—now available in the LinkedIn iOS and Android apps globally. The update allows users to simply open the LinkedIn app and scan the QR code in the app of their new acquaintance to automatically get connected on the platform.
"Gone are the days of requesting a business card, asking the person to spell their name, or handing over your phone to make sure you found their profile," the post said.
SEE: Social media policy (Tech Pro Research)
If a user wants to connect after meeting someone, they can still share the QR code with them over text or email as well. Additionally, users can download it as an image, the post said, to add it to a company brochure, a lanyard, their email signature, or their resume.
Another user's QR code icon can be found in the search box on the Home tab in the mobile app, the post said. To find one's own QR code, simply tap on the My code button to bring it up. For more information on how to use the feature, check out our sister site, Download.com.
Many companies have tried to digitize or replace business cards in the past. The website About.me was one of the most well-known, but apps like BizzCard and SamCard also gave it a shot, with varying levels of success.
LinkedIn's established popularity could give it an edge in finally doing what others before it have tried to do—killing the business card. At tech conferences, at least, it is common to hear the phrase "Let's connect on LinkedIn." Now, that can be accomplished almost instantly, without the need to tally up business cards at the end of the night or try to remember when the interactions took place, or what was talked about.
LinkedIn's QR code feature could also provide a safer option than sharing a personal cell phone number with someone, making some folks more comfortable with networking in general.
Still, the physical business card has a lot of tradition tied to it, especially in cultures outside of the US, and that could be a challenge for LinkedIn as it looks to popularize the QR code feature.
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- LinkedIn has launched a new QR code feature that allows users to instantly connect with one another by taking a picture of a QR code generated in the mobile app.
- LinkedIn's QR code feature could help replace physical business cards in areas where there isn't much tradition tied to the exchange of physical cards.
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Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.