September 23, 2014

Have Business Cards Become Passe?

Freelance Switch recently published a post about creating memorable business cards, and it got me thinking about my own business cards, which I just reordered through Vista Print a few months ago (see above). These are not drastically different from the business cards I had before (which, admittedly, I still had a few hundred left), but I wanted to make a few little tweaks and decided that I could justify that small extra expense for branding purposes.

While at the writer’s conference back in October, I exchanged business cards with at least a dozen other writers and noticed that little variations (for instance, a vertical card instead of the usual horizontal) made a big impression. I thought I’d experiment with using color and copy on the back of the card to be a little different. (For some wackier ideas for business cards, read this post from QuickSprout.)

But here’s the thing.

We already had a booklet listing all of the attendees and their contact information, so while exchanging cards was a nice symbolic gesture, it wasn’t really necessary. I don’t have a good system for organizing physical cards, and I suspect that most people are in the same boat. My Rolodex is already overflowing, so I tend to search my email account before I’ll flip through a stack of cards.

Nowadays a lot of people just whip out their BlackBerries or iPhones and add you to their contact list (or Facebook friends or Twitter account) on the spot without exchaging any paper products. And while face-to-face networking is certainly valuable, you can cast a wider net by networking online. The online equivalent is your Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn profile, and those are a lot easier and cheaper to update.

All of this begs the question – will we still be using paper business cards five years from now? How about 10 years? And can anyone help me find a better system for organizing business cards until then?