Business Cards

Are Business Cards Obsolete?

I love that there’s an iPhone app that lets you exchange contact information just by bumping phones. But does this mean that business cards are becoming obsolete?

Business cards speak to me, especially when it comes to small businesses and solo practitioners. The paper, logo, design, and readability give me clues to a company’s personality and whether they have thought about that first impression. Whether someone does or doesn’t have a Web site and/or a customized e-mail address gives me some data about their permanence and their business sense. And please think twice before handing me a card with out-of-date information.

The Japanese have an entire ritual around business cards. While Americans are typically more informal, we might do well to probe the underlying reasons for the meishi exchange.

So what do you think? Do you decipher business cards or wish they’d go away?

On a related note, my friend Deborah Brody has a good post on business card dos and don’ts that has some common sense tips for making sure what you are handing out isn’t hindering your success.

[Note: This post originally appeared on IABC's Communications World blog.] Get a weekly dose of independent thinking in your inbox.

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Comments ( 11 )

  • Thanks for linking to my post. Someday, biz cards will be obsolete for sure, but for now, they are portable, cheap and easy way to exchange contact information.

  • I may be old fashioned but I love a good business card. Especially if it is well thought out and has something unique about it. Of course, I also love newspapers and some say they are a dying breed as well…

  • @Jennifer–I agree, good business cards are a great way to represent your brand. And the bad ones give me good information. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  • Not all of us have iPhones. Should we have to work harder to get contact information?

  • @Jeremy–I don’t have one either… But the larger issue you raise is really important: that we can’t be so reliant on technology that we forget how to connect as people.

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  • Yvonne Betancourt

    I just ordered non-work related business cards, sometimes I’m talking to people and make a comment about my blog, twitter or facebook and they want to connect, so the awkward part of looking for piece of paper and pen comes out since sometimes the spelling is not quite easy to remember and you may not want to give out your phone number to everyone you meet.

  • @Yvonne–Great idea! You don’t have to have a business to have a professional card that provides information about you. Perhaps we should be calling them “Who we are and we want you to know about us” cards.
    Daria Steigman recently posted..Happy Holidays 2010

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