Why Business Cards Aren’t Dead

In this era of smart phones and tablets, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would ever need to use a piece of paper for anything. I have gone more or less paperless with services that catalog my receipts, keep documents in the cloud for accessibility from anywhere, and an outright refusal to print anything. However, I’ve realized my lack of a certain kind of paper has actually negatively impacted my social and business life. Without business cards, I’ve missed key opportunities to quickly connect on both professional and personal levels.

Why Business Cards Aren't DeadSure, many technologies like Bump make it easy to swap contact information between smart phones. But not everyone may have that technology, or be connected to their 3G or a Wi-Fi network. In many places, like conventions, this technology is the heart of the event — but in crowded groups gathering deep in a convention center, the means for a method to transfer data is often lacking as cell phone service is too weak to work effectively.

Of course, a situation that requires a business card could also be resolved by sharing a Twitter handle or email address. Unfortunately, it could be too loud to share this information — especially if your name is anything more complicated than something like “Smith.” (I gave up sharing my Twitter handle verbally over a year ago for this very reason.) And in a situation such as discussing business on an airplane, there is very little time to exchange anything more than a card when each person realizes they need the others’ contact information while deboarding.

These situations may not be the norm for everyone — but for those who find themselves discussing business in noisy places, or quickly in passing, a business card could make or break the relationship and related deals. And for those who still thrive by living a paperless life, you can still have it both ways thanks to apps like CardMunch, which will convert business cards received to an entry on your phone, effectively allowing you to toss other business cards and also keep yours to a minimum as necessary.

Do you still use business cards? Let us know why or why not in the comments.

Flickr photo shared by TwisterMc.

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Kelly Clay, author of Blog Without Boundaries, is a freelance writer and lifestyle advisor.