business cards: over.

One of the kabillion things that we observed while on the PlaidNation tour this year is an interesting trend in trading contact information: business cards are over.

We paid visits to over 20 companies, brands and people in ten cities across the U.S. We met with start ups, individuals and Fortune 500's. We handed out about 3 business cards.

What people want instead: your Twitter handle. Your email. Nothing else matters. If you have my Twitter handle, you can get anything you need.

Most of the time you'll hand out business cards in situations where etiquette or tradition dictate that it's necessary. Like when you sit at a conference table, with a team of people that you haven't met before. It's like we're all programmed that "now is the time we exchange business cards." But really - all they need is your email address. Do they really need a piece of cardboard?

We discovered this because tour meetings eliminated traditional meeting culture. And once the culture of a meeting is eliminated, people fall back on actual needs instead of habits. Only a couple of people that we met "needed" business cards. Everyone else traded Twitter names.

Try it at your next meeting. Ask for a Twitter name or an email instead of a card, and enter it into your smart-device of choice. And eliminate the cardboard that gets tossed, lost or mangled the moment you leave.


Spike Jones said...

Wouldn't be easier to hand them a card that has, oh I dunno, your email and twitter handle on it? Kinda like a business card?

Lacey said...

my thoughts exactly Spike Jones. I'm always about finding a balance before throwing something completely out. Business cards aren't over, not for all industries. So let's add twitter and email to the cards, and then if it doesnt work maybe it's time to throw them out. Not just yet though :)

Glenn said...

I agree with Spike. Add your Twitter name and your Skype address along with other contact info (and your blog URL).

Your post reminds me of the story about people in NY and CA who complained, "I don't know anyone who voted for George Bush!"

BTW, only a small percentage of business people use Twitter and other forms of social media. If you want to do business with them, you better have a business card.

Ben Kunz said...

The broader issue is bookmarking anything -- and how real-world objects, including business people in business meetings, still don't dovetail well with the internet. Twitter handles are good shortcuts, but only for the people who use it.

Personally I'd like to wave my cell phone at anyone or anything and have the data immediately sucked into my records. Hiking trail - zip. Interesting Chinese tea in retail store - zap. Guy my wife is flirting with - unzap (store for future deletion).

Plaid: Please get on this immediately.

Åsk Dabitch said...

I've carried "biz-cards" (with name title business adress yadiyada) and personal branding cards (full name, personal email + sigfile, printed in monaco or other monpspaced font on plain white paper) since 2000. These days the personal one carries twitter, skype and email.

Åsk Dabitch said...

(oh and am the only one in the habit of ringing people up or bluetoothing my info over to them if they just need my phonenumber? I do that all the time instead of handing out paper - hop straight into device.)

Angus said...

I like to think most people will stop having them, making really sweet ones like these stand out even more.

petelbury said...

@ Ben Kunz-

You can do that - How about cards with a qr code?

Me personally? I have a stack of 1,000+ BC's with various titles that I've never used, and, I never keep cards that people give me. Once I get their email that's pretty much all I need.

Åsk Dabitch said...

I keep cards. I collect them. Some are so PURDY!

Melissa Andrada said...

The business card is in many ways outdated, but I think it has the potential to remain useful -- just in a different sense.

If you treat a business card like an art piece. If you approach it not just as a way to exchange contact information, but as a way to represent your personal brand and be remembered, you may create more meaningful and memorable relations with the people you meet.

Harry said...

I personally think that the problem you mentioned depends on the industry you work in...I've seen situations where a sales person lost an important deal because he had a common business card...I know that such details aren't so important but a lot of people think different.

@bethbellor said...

Or you could use a Poken:

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