Posted by: Ian Ross | May 6, 2008

Is The Business Card Dead?

It struck me a few weeks ago at a Canadian Public Relations Society event that I’d forgotten to get a new set of business cards. 

I think I’ve gone through 3-4 versions over the past three years. The version currently sitting in my desk drawer has a old job title and the old Ontario government logo. I guess they will still work in a pinch since the email and name are correct. But there they sit — collecting dust.

My first thought was to get a new set of 500 printed up. But then I began to think about why business cards are still used?

If I meet someone at a meeting, event or party, I usually remember at least their name. And then days later it is a few quick taps at the keyboard and I can pull up their info. If they are a public servant, they can be found in the government directory. If they are a CPRS member, I can look them up through the society’s website. If the first two options don’t work, Goggle or another search engine usually does the job. I assume other people will do the same instead of going in search of my card.

In fact, if I put in just a few more minutes of work, I can get much more than a person’s phone number and email address. Through company profiles, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr and other online hot spots, I can often get an interesting snapshot of their life and career. No more hiding behind a fancy job title. And an important reminder to stay in control of my online image.

But what about the old rolodex? Don’t people need business cards of their top contacts to easily flip to find? It seems that’s pretty rare these days. Most people carry Blackberries or cell phones that hold all that info 24/7. 

So after thinking through it – why do we still hand business cards out? Is it just tradition? Or is it a nice way of saying goodbye?



  1. Why spend time on all the sites when you can have the information on a simple card 🙂

  2. The success of Moo suggests that business cards aren’t dead – they’re just in need of a shot in the arm in terms of design and customisation.

  3. I like to get cards so I remember who to look up on twitter or Google when I get home. I don’t really use the card for much. At Web2.0 I didn’t have my Moo cards yet, so I handed out my name handwritten on a blank business card. Saved a fortune on printing costs.

    I like Moo a lot. Wrote about why here:

  4. Agreed with the above. Business cards are not dead, but bland drab business cards are pointless. A business card should be designed such that someone who you give it to thinks, “Hey cool, I should show this to “. I’ve gotten some cards that were really boring, and those wind up in the bottom of my pocket till the next morning when they wind up at the top of my waste bin.

  5. Business cards are for people like me, who can’t remember your name until the 3rd time we’ve met. Put a business card in my hand and it will keep the conversation going after the event is over.

  6. Wow! You can remember the names of all the people you meet!? I can’t.

    Business cards help me remember who you are especially if I have a pen handy and take notes on what we talked about.

  7. Some really good points. I checked out Moo and agree they’ve got a good thing going. Unfortunately, my employer requires the bland style. Perhaps I should get cards for my alter-ego.
    And I suppose I shouldn’t be assuming that everyone uses my tactics (memory and BB notes), but should be thinking about how best to ensure they can reconnect with me.

  8. I’m fascinated in the contrasts between Western culture and the Japanese culture of business cards, where there is a ritual, protocol, and process for giving or receiving a business card. Was a wild experience and a source of constant stress (making sure I did the right thing in RECEIVING a card), whereas here in the West, I have piles and piles of cards in various drawers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: