The meishi that inspired me to have Mirai-chan on the company card - Joy Max from Nitro Plus.
Name cards are not only useful for business but for any type of networking. If you have a card, it makes it easier for other other party to remember you.
Business is all about who you know but life in general is also about who you know. Even if you are not working nor have your own business, I still recommend you carry around a personal name card. Having an name card will help you connect with other people easily.
Even if you cant play around with Illustrator, you can easily make cards online with services like Moo.com. Invest a bit O cash and you will discover just how useful a name card can be.
Once you start to network, you will accumulate a ton of business cards which are a pain to maintain. What I do is follow up by sending mail to each person I met the following day - don't leave it more than a week or you will end up not following up. if a person replies, it shows they are interested in maintaining a relationship and once their mail comes in, their name and address is automatically added to your address book (for Gmail). What you can do then is to use the address export function in LinkedIn and add that person to your list of business contacts. I can use LinkedIn to manage my business comrades by region and can see who they know and as for introductions if needed. Its also much better than managing your contacts through physical meishi which you can simply search.