I just visited a blog that was touting the virtues of virtual business cards and predicting the ultimate demise of the printed business card. This is an old story and I have not seen it happen yet. Virtual cards are a great idea and I look forward to them being a mainstream solution, but I continue to caution that new technology does not neccessarily have to replace old technology. Virtual and printed cards can co-exist.
One complaint I have heard refers to those who have stacks of cards or hundreds of cards in a box collected over a period of months or years. HELLO!! There is no need to keep someone’s card forever. The primary purpose of a business card is simply to transfer contact information that may be pertinent now or in the short term. If you look at a card and don’t remember the person – – where you met – – or sadly what product or service he or she offers – – throw it out. It has outlived it’s usefulness.
If you are a giver of a card. Consider that this is an opportunity to be sure that the recipient has your important contact information and that he or she might be reminded of you or your service over a period of a few days or maybe a few months if they keep your card. If you are a recipient of a card, this is a handy device to help you keep and refer to contact information from someone you have met. Keep it as long as there is a chance that you might want to contact that person sometime. As long as it has value as a potential resource for you.
Just as unused business cards sit on your desk so will unused virtual cards sit in your PDA, phone or computer. Don’t shoot the messenger. It’s not the business card virtual or physical that is at fault, it is likely the lack of a clear message or the very real reality that you have no need for that particular product or service.
Business cards are a courtesy. Offer them graciously and accept them graciously. There are no strings attached. There is no obligation inferred in the presentation nor any commitment in their acceptance. However if you do decide you want to contact someone they’re darn handy to have.