Mingle Sticks Forge Connection at Government Conference

Business cards may become obsolete with the advent of the Mingle Stick.

Used by attendees at GovLoop's Next Generation of Government summit last week, this small piece of technology, a little larger than a thumb drive, allows users to instantaneously share contact info with a click of a button.

It was just one way the conference attempted to incorporate new technologies. The young Federal employees in attendance took to the technology with gusto, enthusiastically gaining as many new contacts as possible. GovLoop awarded a prize to the attendee with the most mingles.

Although the Mingle Sticks were only on loan, attendees did not lose the contacts they gained when they returned the sticks at the conclusion of the conference. Instead of a direct exchange of personal information, the sticks merely trade ID numbers, which are linked to online accounts. Afterward, a person can view the profiles of their new contacts, see their social networking profiles and get in touch.

Despite the digital exchange of information, face-to-face interaction is still required, as the devices must be no further than two feet away from each other in order to connect. An individual Mingle Stick sells for about $20.00, but the device only works if you meet a fellow owner of a Mingle Stick, so business cards won't disappear just quite yet.