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Teach an Old Business Card New Tricks, Part I

Are printed business cards nearing extinction? Austin Considine of the New York Times argues, kind of. In the age of apps and QR codes people are finding new ways to exchange information, but from the stack of cards still sitting in the CEL office, it appears we’re still not ready to go paperless yet.

Paperless business cards are like a virtual handshake by allowing people to quickly transfer information between mobile devices. Provide someone with your Twitter handle and they are able to contact you within a matter of seconds using any capable device. Sites such as Hashable.com, Contxts.com and About.me are available for creating online business cards. And LinkedIn has an app for that.

So why isn’t the stack of business cards in the office disappearing? Considine provides a few explanations for this minimum extinction. The first is pretty simple: business cards are a sign of status. Gina Trapani, quoted in the article, says, “I think, culturally, you’re real and you have a real job if you have a business card.” In other words, having the ability to hand someone a card with your name and title on it is a way of saying. “Hey look, I made it in the real world!”

Another reason for business cards sticking around is their practicality. Business cards are easy to swap mid-conversation or hand over in a crowded room where conversations are hard to keep. Some potential clients or collaborators won’t have the technology to virtually swap business cards, therefore a paper business card is still necessary to make sure you can share your information with everyone you meet.

Check out the full article “Business Cards Go Paperless, or Almost” by Austine Considine and look out for Part II of this blog coming up!

Published on: June 21, 2011

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