Business cards need to die. Sooner rather than later. Maybe this is one of those Gen Y things but from recent conversations even others have the same belief they just haven’t really thought about it yet.
Business cards have been around since at least the late 1800’s. Before the digital age they were the only way people had for sharing contact information. You had to either write it down or have someone give it to you – hence the business card. It was the perfect solution.
And then it refused to die even as the digital age came in. I have never once pulled out a business card after receiving it. In fact, my go to is LinkedIn. This is especially true because after 2 years I have to assume there is some likelihood the person is no longer at the same phone or email address that their card has on it. Business cards can’t even be relied on as accurate sources of contact information today!
Here’s the issues as I see them:
- Everyone wants to keep in touch but mainly they want to keep in touch with either the person or the position. Either could change in the near future.
- No one wants to touch phones as that would be weird. Business cards are the best way of exchanging at least something. It’s non-committal and simple while still conveying some information.
- Contact information quickly goes out of date as people get promoted, change companies or no longer are the right person.
- Incomplete contact information. Some don’t include direct dials or cell numbers. They don’t include twitter, blog or LinkedIn accounts. They don’t say what the preferred contact method is. All of this is critical data.
- Even addresses can’t be relied on with a business card. With people working from home or traveling in increased numbers this can be a significant question.
Basically business cards don’t actually give you the information to effectively contact a person or stay in contact with that person over time. Essentially they tell you what company rep you met with and that you should reach out to that company if you have any questions.
So why do we continue the tradition?