Death of the business card

Think back to the last time you exchanged a business card.

With our phones, LinkedIn and Facebook, in a matter of seconds your contact information can easily be accessed by anyone online. But for many — especially those who attend face-to-face meetings or networking events — the physical exchange of one’s business card creates a connection that online platforms, websites or phones simply can’t recreate. Plus, many business-card advocates would challenge that business cards are still the greatest extension of one’s brand, and they carry the uncanny ability to add a “personal touch” that many feel is a lost art in itself.

On the other side of the spectrum, LinkedIn and Facebook are being deemed the dynamic leaders for making contacts today thanks to the opportunity of posting eye-appealing visuals onto one’s profile or timeline, which assists in telling your story. (And often more!) Also, as one moves on through life, guess what? So does your profile!

Dare I state my own theory behind why the jury is out on the “business card vs. online contact” debate? It’s relatively simple when you view it as yet another clash between two polar opposite demographics working their way through business circles today. There are the older — a.k.a. “seasoned” — employees who still enjoy paper, overstuffed rolodexes and the opportunity to relish the ritual of a business-card exchange. In fact, the cards are often positioned and displayed proudly on their desks while they collect and distribute them like there is no tomorrow! This group also claims business cards are the MVP of ice-breaker techniques, deeming them to be the easiest conversation-starter in any networking environment.

The other group, who for simplicity purposes I’ll refer to as the “younger-future-leaders-generation,” may actually be the culprit behind the demise of the business card. The generation that grew up on social media and had their first cell phone before they could drive often view business cards as dated and archaic.

And let’s not exclude those who feel paper cards are simply not eco-friendly enough, especially when the simple option of connecting with someone on LinkedIn or befriending them on Facebook is just a few taps away!

What are your thoughts? Is the business card on it’s way to becoming obsolete in your circles? Is LinkedIn or Facebook your preferred business card? Or, are you like me, where you’re simply caught in the middle as you balance both options?