Forget site redesign. LinkedIn just released a new mobile app feature, and it might be the smartest change they've made in a long time. When you open the app on your smartphone or tablet, you'll see the familiar search bar at the top. However, you'll now notice something different inside the search bar, on the right side.

Select that icon, allow the LinkedIn app to access your device's camera, and you'll now have your own personal QR code and capability to scan others. Once you scan someone, you teleport to their LinkedIn profile to connect with them.

This new feature--available in LinkedIn iOS and Android apps--makes use of QR codes to connect LinkedIn profiles instantaneously.

In doing so, the company is effectively digitizing the idea of a business card. 

"About time," echo business travelers around the globe.

After all, making connections based on as many colorful, printed rectangles of plant matter as you can stuff in your wallet at a given time does seem a strange juxtaposition with our otherwise tech-dominated modern business world, right? But hold on; it's not like paper cards will be obsolete anytime soon--they're still useful for a number of things, like jotting down notes in a pinch during a surprisingly good keynote speech or folding origami-style during a surprisingly bad keynote speech.

In all seriousness, though, when you give someone a physical business card, you're giving them a part of your brand and a chance for them to connect with it--from the font, color scheme, logo, down to the type of cardstock and finish--which is hard to compete with.  

LinkedIn isn't the first to try the move, either. About.me tried it, along with a number of other apps, none of which really took off. However, LinkedIn has arguably done it best in terms of user-friendliness, especially since many of the people you'd be connecting with already have the LinkedIn mobile app (so it has already achieved mass adoption).

Deep Utility

Aside from scanning the QR code in person, users can share the code via email or text. Maybe the crowning touch to the new feature, though, is the ability to download the code as an image in order to put it on marketing materials like posters or brochures. It could even go on a résumé, or--if you wanted to get really crazy with it--on your paper business card.

Mind. Blown. The possibilities are endless.

Try it for yourself if you're on a laptop and have your phone handy. Here's my code, which I saved. Open the app and give it a whirl.

Tom Popomaronis Code

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Published on: Jul 17, 2018