The death of the business card

IMAG0074How many business cards do you have in a pile on your desk?  Go on – have a flick through them all..

Now how many of the names do you actually recognise?  How many people have you been in touch with since you met them?  How many people do you actually intend to get in touch with?  Ever?  Come on…

We go to events, and give out cards like confetti.  We hardly look at them again.  Do we really intend to use these cards, copy them into Outlook using a card scanner, where the details sit there, never to be used?

The business card is becoming irrelevant in this online age.  So why do we persist in this habit of exchanging cards, a habit which has been around long before anyone thought of storing any information digitally.

Where to we go to find out about anyone online these days?  Google, bing, Yahoo! or others?  We spend a lot of time searching for information, and naturally, the people you want to connect with should come up in the search results.

Failing that, you’d try LinkedIn. 

I’m quite scathing about LinkedIn now – well, not about LinkedIn itself, but about people that don’t have a profile there.  With recruiters using LinkedIn for first vetting of their searches, journalists getting a good insight into your career history, and all of those extra bits of information that aren’t on your official biography, you need to be there! You need to be there if you work in technology.  This is your online brand so it should be in tip top condition.  It needs to be discoverable.  It needs to be found.  you need to be found…

Your online brand says far more about you than a business card ever can.  You need to keep it fresh, updates and full of interesting information.  You will then be discovered by the people who want to find you.

I’m doing some work for a client that works as part of a really large company.  We didn’t exchange business cards.  We chatted, she found me on Google, and got in touch.  My social media branding workshop helped others in the technology team get their profiles into shape so that they would be discovered and discoverable too

So when you’re asked for your business card, ask yourself.  “Do I really need to hand this out?”  Will it be useful and used by the person I’ve given it to?  Will it be piled up in a heap – like the cards on your desk?  Will it be discarded by someone when they have a clear-out?  Is that what you will do with their business cards?

Do you really need all of that clutter on your desk?  Do your business contacts?  Or will they turn to searches and LinkedIn to find you.  I think they will turn to their browsers, long before they will try to find your details in that ever growing pile…

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2 thoughts on “The death of the business card

  1. Justin Morris

    I tend to disagree Eileen. I’ve had plenty of times networking at drinks, peer meetings and conferences with other travel bloggers and PR folks where I’d say “oh yeah, I write this travel blog, my URL is x” and would never hear/see anything back from them.
    Once I got business cards for my blog that had my URL, twitter and facebook links on it and started giving them out I saw my traffic and follower count increase heaps. I started connecting with those people again after the event. There’s definitely value in giving someone something tangible when you first meet them to remember you by IMO.

    1. eileenb Post author

      Justin,
      you do have a point there. If you’re not good with names (and I’m not) there’s a chance that you’ll forget who you wanted to connect with in the first place. perhaps a simple card with only your Twitter handle on it (which points to all of your other information), or your blog URL might be the best way here.
      Even just your name (or web URL) on a blank white card might just pique someones interwet enough to Google you and find out more about you..
      Then, when you’ve connected electronically, you can still throw the card away and avoid the heaps of paper cards with names you’ve forgotten🙂
      I wonder if this will still be true in 10 years time??…

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