I was recently handed a business card.
I didn’t ask for it.
It was handed to me by someone I knew.
Only casually, I’ll admit.
But I had corresponded with this individual a number of times before we met that day.
I had communicated with this person over the phone, texted and shared emails.
We had interacted so often and over so many different medium that it made it hard for me to understand the utility she felt, in that moment, offering her card.
I clearly already had her office number, cell phone number, email and address (I was in her office at the time).
But she still felt compelled to offer it to me.
Not to be rude, yet still feeling perplexed, I obliged.
Took her card.
Gave it the perfunctory once-over.
Before promptly stuffing it in the right front pocket of my waistcoat.
That’s a vest for the haberdashery-challenged.
But why did she offer the card in the first place?
Force of habit?
The card held no more information on it, than she knew I already knew.
And it made me reflect how impulsively we all often give out cards.
I’m a card giver.
“Do you have a card?”
Sure…fumble fumble…here you go.
“Can I have your card?”
No problem…sift sift…I’ve got one right here.
I’m so over sifting through my wallet, fumbling around in my briefcase or digging in my pockets to hand or deposit a business card.
And then what happens?
You’ve got a stack of people’s cards cluttering your office/home/desk.
Or you’ve got unused boxes of your own business cards from every job you ever had.
I’d prefer to just exchange information via our phones and keep it moving.
If asked, I oblige.
But cards get on my last nerve.
So much so, that years ago I began looking for alternatives.
I played with Bump, to tone down the whole card game.
Unfortunately (for me) it took more steps to Bump than open my phone, enter ten digits and press send.
So I tried other strategies to extricate myself from cards.
When I worked for MX Telecom (now OpenMarket) I had a short code you could text “Stephen” to and get all my contact info via SMS.
It was very novel a trade shows, but people weren’t generally up on texting for such utilitarian purposes then (I’m talking 2008).
I even gave folks the old “trying to save trees” line to avoid giving or receiving cards.
And it was all so PC and Eco friendly, that it worked – for a time.
But folks still extended their hands, with those wretched slivers of card stock and ink.
Nowadays, and as much as possible, I try to stay ahead of the game by always affirmatively getting contact details and by-passing the card-exchange ritual altogether.
With my iPhone, I cut to the chase and simply shoot my vCard to anyone requesting my info.
And I try not to cringe whenever I hear those dreaded words or see an outstretched hand – with a card in it.
Is it just me?
6 responses to “Are you a carder? The utility of business cards.”
My co-worker and I just got hired a few months ago and she recently asked our boss if we were getting business cards and I looked at her kind of funny. They’re a little 2006 to me, especially since we work in a digital medium and I’m trying to have all my contacts soley on my iPhone. But I think some people can’t let go of that little piece of paper being an old-school validation of their employment and of their value in life.
But if someone wants to give me their card, I’ll take it and tuck it away in my Filofax at home just for safe keeping.
I’m glad I’m not the only one. I’ve been at my new gig 2 months & haven’t requested or been offered a card. And fine by it!
I still use business cards. I still take them for a couple of reasons some list business hours and fax numbers. The places I frequent often I carry them in my wallet so that I can call in advance and make an appointment. I have lost my cell phone several times or it freezes up so cards just come in handy sometimes.
Spice, I feel you. My contacts are synched across my devices, so I’m never compromised with my ability to recall contacts. I agree that phones are unreliable or quirky sometimes, but cards and me just don’t get along. I never refer back to the original card after I’ve received it. And I most certainly never CARRY someone’s card on me! Faux pas! If you’re that important to me, I’ll commit your details to memory from the sheer repetition o calling you. But as to all things, to each his (or her) respective own.
you must have a better memory than me I can barely remember the passwords to all of my many social online sites.
Casandra, I only have a good memory when I interact with someone frequently enough that their contact details get committed to memory. Most times I put details into my contacts to help add context that I can use later. Even if I keep a card, I won’t necessarily be able to connect it to the person who gave it to me.