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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  • http://twitter.com/worklifecreate WorkLifeCreativity

    I still use business cards, the people in my local area are not so “techy” for the most part. That being said, if I run into someone with some tech savvy, then yes, usually my Twitter handle or home URL are enough to create the contact right there in their phone.

  • http://twitter.com/worklifecreate WorkLifeCreativity

    I still use business cards, the people in my local area are not so “techy” for the most part. That being said, if I run into someone with some tech savvy, then yes, usually my Twitter handle or home URL are enough to create the contact right there in their phone.

  • Bobby Gooding

    As someone who writes about video games, I have to say that business cards are still a vital part of my arsenal. Particulalarly on the show floors at expos and conventions, there’s simply no other way I can hand somebody all my details in a instant — knowing that so long as they don’t drop it, they’ve got the right URL, email address and Twitter handle, all in one fell swoop!

  • Bobby Gooding

    As someone who writes about video games, I have to say that business cards are still a vital part of my arsenal. Particulalarly on the show floors at expos and conventions, there’s simply no other way I can hand somebody all my details in a instant — knowing that so long as they don’t drop it, they’ve got the right URL, email address and Twitter handle, all in one fell swoop!

  • Kyle Polansky

    It would be nice if a universal standard was available for contact sharing. For iPhone users, it can be hard to search all your apps to find one to share your information with someone. Also with the iPhone, Facetime is a great idea (that has already been used in other services), but the lack of support on Windows, Linux, and other phone OS’s really limits the potential of it. If Google integrated Google Wallet tap technology with the sharing power of Google+ with circles, I think we would have a great way to share contacts. Right now, few phones have the proper hardware but in 5-10 years, I think we will see new hardware that will make this possible no matter what software your phone runs.

  • Kyle Polansky

    It would be nice if a universal standard was available for contact sharing. For iPhone users, it can be hard to search all your apps to find one to share your information with someone. Also with the iPhone, Facetime is a great idea (that has already been used in other services), but the lack of support on Windows, Linux, and other phone OS’s really limits the potential of it. If Google integrated Google Wallet tap technology with the sharing power of Google+ with circles, I think we would have a great way to share contacts. Right now, few phones have the proper hardware but in 5-10 years, I think we will see new hardware that will make this possible no matter what software your phone runs.

  • http://twitter.com/MarkSchaub Mark Schaub

    Great points here. This is why I feature a QR code on my business card. It can feature a URL or even a vCard to store your business card information on a person’s smartphone. It’s effective two-fold.

  • http://twitter.com/MarkSchaub Mark Schaub

    Great points here. This is why I feature a QR code on my business card. It can feature a URL or even a vCard to store your business card information on a person’s smartphone. It’s effective two-fold.

  • Monsey

    By being in the tech business (affiliate program manager), my job is to help people who are NOT in the tech business.  A business card is a must.  If I gave them anything more high tech than that, they would feel that I’m above their tech knowledge and be reluctant to let me help.