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Business Cards the Latest Internet Casualty 243

Posted by Soulskill
from the oh-my-god-it-even-has-a-watermark dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Chalk up another looming casualty of the Internet age: business cards. Ubiquitous as pinstripes, the 2-by-3.5-inch pieces of card stock have long been a staple in executive briefcases. But now, writes Matt Stevens, young and Web-savvy people who are accustomed to connecting digitally, see business cards as irrelevant, wasteful — and just plain lame. 'When I go into a meeting and there are five bankers across the table, they all hand me business cards and they all end up in a pile, in a shoe box somewhere,' says Diego Berdakin, the founder of BeachMint, a fast-growing e-commerce site that has raised $75 million from investors without ever bothering to print a card. 'If someone comes in to meet me, we've already been connected through email, so it really doesn't feel like a necessity in my life.' Some 77 million smartphone users have downloaded the Bump app, which allows them to bump their phones together and instantly exchange contact information. Others carry a personalized quick-response code that smartphones can scan like a hyperlink. At 36, Ralph Barbagallo is near the cutoff for Generation Y but despises business cards all the same. Barbagallo says he goes to three major conferences a year and has to distribute paper cards, but lugging and exchanging fistfuls of them is a pain and it's hard to remember who is who. 'When they run out this time, I'm not printing any more,' says Barbagallo. 'They need to die somehow.'"
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Business Cards the Latest Internet Casualty

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  • The Answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 17, 2012 @10:37AM (#39388991)
    QR Code containing VCard on the back. Tada, became relevant and useful again.
    • by hcs_$reboot (1536101) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @10:42AM (#39389033)
      I'd prefer a no-paper solution. Like a standard/protocol to exchange that information between cell phones (e.g. a working Bump).
      • Re:The Answer (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Saturday March 17, 2012 @11:46AM (#39389467)

        Japan has had this for years (as they have with QR codes, which we're just getting around to now). Phones have an IR port - you just touch the ports to one another and it exchanges contact information.

        I swear, the fastest way to become rich in America with cell phones is to go look at what Japan is doing today and shamelessly copy it as fast as possible.

        Also of note on things we can't quite do yet: paying for train/bus fare and using it like an RFID credit card.

        • Re:The Answer (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ColdWetDog (752185) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @11:54AM (#39389527) Homepage

          Been there, done that. Remember the Palms, Visors, HP whatevers and the original PDAs? All with IR ports. Wonderful things they were.

          Could output to a printer. Made a wonderful TV remote. You could program it with a secret code to have the UN's black helicopters home in on it.

          We've lost so many things. So many things.

          • by timeOday (582209)
            I really do miss PDA's. If I could just buy a pay-as-you-go smartphone I would, but there's really no such thing. (By "smartphone" I really mean "android", since tracfone's so-called smartphones have no apps and can't even sync with Outlook from what I can tell. Sheesh, my old Palm PDA's had tons of apps that I liked a lot).
        • General Magic (Score:4, Interesting)

          by flatulus (260854) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @01:56PM (#39390245)

          While at Apple in the early 90's, I suggested this concept to the person in charge of developing what became the General Magic handheld product. My concept was exactly what Bump is today. General Magic mutated it a bit, calling it "Kiss and Tell".

          If I had a nickel for every conceived invention....

      • by way2trivial (601132) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @01:35PM (#39390123) Homepage Journal

        http://www.almaden.ibm.com/cs/user/pan/pan.html [ibm.com]

        "Scientists at IBM's Almaden Research Center (San Jose, CA) are perfecting a new Personal Area Network technology that uses the natural electrical conductivity of the human body to transmit electronic data.

        Using a small prototype transmitter (roughly the size of a deck of cards) embedded with a microchip, and a slightly larger receiving device, the researchers can transmit a pre-programmed electronic business card between two people via a simple handshake. Whats more, the prototype allows data to be transmitted from sender to receiver through up to four touching bodies."

    • Re:The Answer (Score:5, Insightful)

      by azalin (67640) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @10:46AM (#39389059)

      QR Code containing VCard on the back. Tada, became relevant and useful again.

      I couldn't agree more. Anyway I don't think it's the card itself that is obsolete, but the practice of throwing useless cards around like confetti. I have no idea how many useless cards I have already thrown away, but sometimes they come in useful. But usually only if I wanted the info in the first place.

      • These solutions, like the article itself, will go over BIG in Japan.

        Not really.

        The card-ritual is as important and formalised as teh flippin' tea-ceremony.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hairyfeet (841228)
        While I haven't needed business cards in awhile (too overworked as it is) I always liked to use the little "mini-CD" business cards myself, because not only did folks remember them but at least then you could hand them something useful. The ones for the last band i was with had two tracks that didn't make it onto the album along with links to the website and for the shop it had AV and malware scanners that could be run from the disc along with a nice little launcher that gave the contact info as well as li
        • by hoggoth (414195)

          My mini-CD business cards contain a set of malware that install root-kits as soon as they are inserted into your computer. They've worked out really well for me; Paid for a skiing trip to Aspen.

    • Re:The Answer (Score:5, Insightful)

      by morari (1080535) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @12:41PM (#39389811) Journal

      That's what I do. I have a fairly traditional (if not stylish) double-sided card. One side has the logo and slogan, the other has basic contact information and a QR code. The thing is, business cards are just another form of advertising. They're not necessarily about "making a connect", they're about canvasing. Furthermore, the get passed around to new people. I redesign my cards just a bit about every year when I need more printed. Because of this I can tell how long any particular card has been around. Parents pass cards onto their kids, friends to each other, etc. Some of my cards have been in circulation for years, and I get new business because of it. Anyone who is writing off business cards as a bygone antiquity just doesn't understand marketing... then again, most of these "web-savy" kids don't. Not everyone has a smart phone, after all.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 17, 2012 @04:45PM (#39391211)

        I'd much rather get a piece of paper from my plumber, luddite aunt, or DMV worker than trust them that their info on their smartphone is accurate and *safe*.

        I know that the Bump app is ubiquitous, but what if the plumber is using some E-Card Widget made in China and just tell me to install that app on my phone just so i can have his "business card"?

        No thanks.

    • QR Code containing VCard on the back. Tada, became relevant and useful again.

      I prefer to have the QR code on the *front*. Ditch some of the fluffy artwork and put the QR code with vcard info on the front with the traditional text contact info. The resolution of somewhat recent cell phone cameras can handle a 1x1 inch vcard QR code. The 3MP camera in an old iPhone 3GS works just fine with this size. The iPhone 4 has a 5MP and the 4S an 8MP camera. I expect comparable cameras on older and more recent Android devices.

      Use the back for other QR codes, for example links to product info

    • by stesch (12896)
      Except that they don't really work that well. The character set is undefined, so you end up with different interpretations of non ASCII characters in different apps. And not all necessary fields are available or get recognized in every app. Nope, I'd really like QR code to work for this, but they don't.
    • Re:The Answer (Score:5, Insightful)

      by am 2k (217885) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @02:58PM (#39390539) Homepage

      I like to use the backside of business cards for writing notes about that person (for example, why I should contact them at all). Don't take that valuable space from me!

    • by acedotcom (998378)
      The back of my cards have QR Codes on them...works great and i have been doing that for years...but as far as I am concerned the article is irrelevant because 90% of the people I deal with ask me for a card. And if you are in business, especially for yourself, you don't want to be caught out there without everything your clients ask for.
  • by msobkow (48369) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @10:40AM (#39389029) Homepage Journal

    I want to set up a business card with one of those digicodes on the back that can be scanned by a smartphone, such as appear on YouTube VEVO broadcasts.

    Realistically, business cards are for giving people your contact info, and nothing more. I never give business cards to people who already have my contact info, but they're invaluable for shows and conferences where they don't have your contact info.

    Plus they're handy for dropping in to those "win a meal" restaurant promotion draws. :)

    • by iamhassi (659463) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @11:20AM (#39389289) Journal

      I want to set up a business card with one of those digicodes on the back that can be scanned by a smartphone, such as appear on YouTube VEVO broadcasts.

      Realistically, business cards are for giving people your contact info, and nothing more. I never give business cards to people who already have my contact info, but they're invaluable for shows and conferences where they don't have your contact info.

      Plus they're handy for dropping in to those "win a meal" restaurant promotion draws. :)

      Business cards are about as useful as books or magazines: they're instantly available, need no electricity, can be passed from person to person, etc. You can run into someone in an elevator and during your 20 second pitch hand them a card. Not everyone's going to say "Oh let me get out my smartphone and start the QR code app and scan the QR code, etc". Maybe they don't have time for you. Maybe they're already using their phone (very likely). Maybe they only half heard you because they have something else on their mind. Whatever the reason, business cards are useful.

      I still have IT internet-savvy entrepreneur .com types ask for business cards. They're not dead.

      Usually I hang on to cards I'm handed until I have a few seconds to scan the QR code. If there isn't a code I take a photo of the card with the smartphone and toss the card.

      But thank you for this article, reminded me I should see if there's "an app for that", some sort of app that can scan a business card and add them to my contacts. Quick google search lead me to this page with the top 10 iPhone business card scanning apps available. [inman.com] I'll try some of the free versions and see which works best.

      • by msobkow (48369)

        Not everyone's going to say "Oh let me get out my smartphone and start the QR code app and scan the QR code, etc"

        Precisely why I want to have the QR code printed on the back of a business card I can hand out. They'll have the text version for the 90% of the population that doesn't know what the interesting pattern of dots on the back is for in the first place. :)

        I don't expect this "bump" capability someone mentioned to be any more useful than the Palm Pilot's ability to beam your contact info via IR wa

      • by hawk (1151) <hawk@eyry.org> on Saturday March 17, 2012 @01:30PM (#39390089) Journal

        Noone is going to be downloading *anything* directly into my phone like that.

        Various folks have been pushing electronic business cards for years. They really fall into two categories:
        1) spam me senseless operations, which are gathering data and presuming that this opts me into whatever they want to send, or gathering data for the "mothership," again for marketing purposes, and
        2) multi-level marketing nonsense, designed to get people to "pay" for this service.

        The two are not exclusive.

        No, I will *not* text to a number or download an ap for your "electronic business card.". It's not going to happen.

        And these operations aren't that different from the MLM nonsense like the "hello world" video mail of five years ago, which was about ten years behind simply sending an attached file, or the various videophones running around right now (just $200 plus $30 month for each person) that work marginally better than Skype (on a good day) and are no match for FaceTime . . .

        A qr code on the back I'd likely use, but straight access to my data, or trusting your application/server/whatever just isn't gang to happen.

        hawk

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        This....

        Also you are not always dealing with .com companies. Many 'old guard' guys have stacks of these things. It is the way they run their business.

        They are still good for 'oh yeah met that guy at that conference where is his card'... 'oh yeah thats his name and let me pop him off an email quick...'

        To think they are dead? laughable. They are still doing what they did before. That extra piece of paper hanging around to remind you 'hey we met and contact me'...

    • So... why don't you just go generate a vCard QR code (type "QR Code Generator" into your favorite search engine) and then have that added to your business cards?

      • by msobkow (48369)

        Well, yeah, that was kind of the plan.

        I didn't say it was hard to do or even a novel idea. Just saying it's what I plan to do with my cards.

        I've never gone to a printing company without my own design and layout for business cards. Why would I want to use one of the "stock" layouts and look like everyone else? If your card doesn't stand out for any reason, it just disappears in the pile.

        The most unique card I've ever seen was from a fellow who worked in the custom metal and steel forming industry.

        • Oh sorry, you just sounded a bit clueless... my mistake :D

          I've also started keeping a shortcut to a QR Code (saved as an image file) on my Nexus - when someone with a smartphone asks for my info, I can pull it up right from my lock screen with a single tap (takes about a second - literally)... then they can scan it directly off my phone's display - that keeps the amount of scanned-once-thrown-away business cards low. Just in case you're looking for more ideas ;)

          • Why not go a step further and just embed your QR code into your screen wallpaper? Even works for those non-smart "feature phones".
            • Okay, now I'm the clueless one... how exactly do feature phones read QR codes?

              • They don't - BUT:

                You can show a QR Code on the home screen, so anyone with a phone with a camera can just snap a pic - smartphones will interpret the pic, feature phones will store it for decoding later (either email it to your pc or laptop, or use a webcam to interpret it on your pc or laptop).
                The good thing about QR codes is that you don't have to type in a web address or email url or whatever - so even if all you have is a feature phone, leverage it. Anyone you run into with a smart phone will be ab

                • Ah right... And I just got your part about the screen background... I'm supposing you meant the lockscreen wallpaper. I still have some room on my lockscreen, so that's actually a great idea :-)

                  • Thanks. You could stick it on your lock screen, but some feature phones let you use any picture as a background on the main screen - a QR code there is as easy to share as flipping your phone open.
            • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @04:45PM (#39391203)

              Why not go a step further and just embed your QR code into your screen wallpaper? Even works for those non-smart "feature phones".

              Enough with the half-measures already. Commit 100% - tattoo your QR code onto your forehead, or the back of your right hand.

        • by X0563511 (793323)

          Remember if you generate your QR code with high enough redundancy, you can destroy an amount of the center of it to embed a logo or such, while leaving the QR readable.

          Also, it only cares about contrast differences between dot and no-dot, so you can play with colors too.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 17, 2012 @10:45AM (#39389055)

    Although I love the idea of getting rid of paper as much as possible and attempt to employ that in my life where possible... there's nothing more annoying than if you're focusing on meeting someone for the first time, establishing a relationship and you have to say "Oh let me get my phone out, here, can you spell your email address for me? How do you spell your last name? Was that a B or a D you just said?"

    I hand you my business card, you can clearly see how my name is spelled and can match it up to what I just told you. Visual cue along with audio cue. Then you have their email address and phone number and can take that back to your office and put that into a contact book on your computer, then toss the card. Not to mention you can make notes on their business cards without having to "boot up" any device.

    Now, there might be something to be said for having some kind of "automatic business card exchange" application on phones, where you could pull out your phones and "bump" them with someone else's to get their info or whatnot, but honestly I'd still rather just hand the card over and maintain eye contact.

    In a typical interpersonal business exchange, what people take away from the meeting is roughly a 70/20/10 split between body language/tone of voice/actual words spoken.

    • Agree, I find then really useful as well and it still has a professional vibe around them. Asking for an email is clumsier and informal, I want to make a good first impression, which I don't think you can do with the 'newer' method.

    • by BasilBrush (643681) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @11:35AM (#39389389)

      Absolutely. Also it's like a neck tie. Many people in many situations and many industries may not need them. But if you're in an industry or situation where it's expected, people won't take you seriously if you don't have one. If you are self employed or work in anything connected with sales, you'd be mad not to have them. If you lose a single job or sale because someone didn't take you seriously, you've lost more than the cost of printing a batch. And it's not as if carrying a few in your wallet is any hardship.

      Personally I don't have them and don't need them, but they are essential for some people.

      • by Bert64 (520050) <bert@slash d o t . f i renzee.com> on Saturday March 17, 2012 @12:08PM (#39389617) Homepage

        The problem is that anyone is still small minded enough to not take someone seriously simply because they aren't wearing what they perceive to be the correct uniform. These preconceptions need to die a horrible death, someone's clothing has no impact on their ability to do a particular job and people should be free to wear whatever clothing is most comfortable for them.
        (wearing a suit is horrendously uncomfortable, and wastefully expensive... in the summer when the subways are blisteringly hot you arrive at work all sweaty, and have to spend a fortune in dry cleaning to keep cleaning your suits).

        • by bytesex (112972)

          When you are older, you will realize that wearing a suit is not small mindedness. It is about creating a fair playground.

    • by onepoint (301486) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @12:10PM (#39389639) Homepage Journal

      Most people don't understand the aspect of the business card as a form of personally identifying yourself to the other party. In my work ( real estate ) I have flexibility of my card design plus look and feel. I spent a very long time coming up with the right tactile feel that I wanted, the right font, and the right colors. it's part of the impression I want to make.

      A girl that I met recently was along the same lines, she was a graphic designer and had the most amazing card, it spoke a story of her skills and it only had her email address and name.

      that's why you want to spend time thinking about your card, it should speak a story about you. For example: if you are a coder, and you grok python, I would put some interesting code on my card ( bucket sort maybe or something that only another serious coder would note ).

      my card is simple: it's a 100% cotton bond, with watermark with my family crest, it has some cobalt blue outlines, with some forest green. my name, phone number, email and business name. Simple but elegant

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 17, 2012 @10:46AM (#39389061)

    Anytime someone mentions business cards I always think of the scene in american psycho.

    "oh my god, it even has a watermark."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ux3vncNNLg

    • by azalin (67640)

      Anytime someone mentions business cards I always think of the scene in american psycho.

      "oh my god, it even has a watermark."

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ux3vncNNLg

      Thank you for sharing this wonderful gem.

  • by youn (1516637) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @10:47AM (#39389067) Homepage

    not knowing who is who is not specific to business cards... if you are not careful about who you add on your social network, you end up with a collection of contacts you have no idea why you have them.

    business cards are relevant if you handle them properly.. if you can not remember who is who, put more info about the person on the business card or when you enter them into whatever software you use for contacts. Software exists to automate scanning business cards too.

    if you are not printing business cards, imho, it is a mistake. not only some people are not computer savvy but it looks good when you have one.

    Saying business cards need to die reminds me of how 20 years ago I read articles about how paper would die by year 2000 because of computer exchanges... a lot of bla bla... but business as usual

  • by MacTO (1161105) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @10:47AM (#39389069)

    It may be a social nicety, but people seem to be happy to get my business card and I find that people are more likely to follow up. I suspect that the latter is because they are less likely to lose contact information when it comes in a physical form.

    Of course there will be some naysayers. There always have been. But I suspect that those people never really followed up on initial meeting anyway.

    • by penix1 (722987) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @10:55AM (#39389127) Homepage

      This all seems silly. If you don't want a business card, then don't take it or be polite and take it then dump it in the nearest circular file. That is far easier then having to weed out unwanted crap from an electronic device. Also, some cultures (Japan I am talking about you) routinely hand out business cards as part of their culture. So if you travel to one of these countries you will wind up with hundreds of really unwanted stuff to delete out of your device.

  • by retroworks (652802) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @10:48AM (#39389073) Homepage Journal
    The reports of the death of business cards may be exaggerated. The cost and production of the cards is lower then ever, via online printers. And the evidence presented here of their death - that a young guy thinks that bankers passing them are "lame" - is not indicative of the success of the non-business-card holder. Another trend hyperbolically expressed as an inevitable outcome on /.
    • Yeah, I bought a box of a thousand personal calling cards from VistaPrint a few years back and that's probably the best ~$7 I ever spent. People are continually impressed that I have cards that aren't "business" cards (I carry both, use the appropriate one for the appropriate occasion). BTW, you have two back pockets - one is for a wallet, the other for a card holder (Staples' store brand has nice onces).

      Perhaps the 23-year-old hipsters haven't encountered situations where they'd be useful. Their loss, n

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @10:49AM (#39389087) Homepage Journal

    Just using your phone to exchange data makes the entire meeting less tangible and more impersonal.

    Same thing for all these 'on line meetings' where you never even see the persons face who is talking.. all you get is a poor quality voice and some video of their desktop.

    Handing out a physical object to quantify the event like a card, and actual human interaction in business ( and personal life ) by actually meeting the person. should not be discounted so easily.

    or is this the world we want to create, where no one actually interacts anymore and everyone just hides in their cubicle. Just a sad representation of the real world, all vitalized for you in that little box you call a computer.

  • by rampant mac (561036) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @10:51AM (#39389103)

    Every time I get a business card I start quoting the American Psycho business card [youtube.com] scene.

    "Wow, nice card buddy, it looks similar to mine. Just without the Cillian Braille font."

    I've actually had a few people catch on to it. :)

  • by silverhalide (584408) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @10:51AM (#39389105)

    When you are in a situation where you are meeting lots of folks quickly, nothing beats handing over a business card. It is a minimal conversation disruption. Ever tried to use the bump app in a crowded convention center? Spotty cell service, finding the damn icon, or your battery is dead... It just doesn't work well enough to replace tried and true paper for casual information exchange. The interruption completely derails a casual conversation. In an environment where you only have a few minutes to chat, it's not worth it.

    Now it would be nice if QR embedded codes were standard on business cards to trivialize data entry.

    Nope, business cards are here to stay. Folks that don't do serious business level interactions might be able to lose them, but the pros will use them for a while to come until the exchange becomes easier.

  • For many people, handing out a business card is much quicker than using something like Bump. They also add a layer of expression and professionalism that is easily lost with other mediums. There are people who charge companies a bunch of money per hour just for customising cards, and for good reason; some companies get hoardes of new business just from their cards alone.

    I'm not giving up my cards anytime soon. Actually, I need to refresh my design soon! (I take pics of all the cards I get and store them
  • by joelsherrill (132624) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @10:53AM (#39389117) Homepage
    Cards do have issues but it is because you have to remember who gave it to you and why. But that applies to electronic solutions as well. In the 80s, I did some work for Kodak and all of the people I dealt with had cards with a head shot on them. It was very useful for remembering them. I have never seen anyone else who did that. I am from RTEMS and we printed a box of cards with project contact information and a QR-code. I can give them out at shows, to students, etc. and people have a small reminder of how to find out more. More like a tiny cheap brochure for a free software project. Cards have a real place but they have limitations. If you NEVER meet someone cold, then you probably don't need them. But if you do, you need them. And don't forget the personal calling card. Maybe it is her southern manners, but my wife has a personal calling card which is very nice in personal situations. It was very useful when dealing with parents of our kids. They got contact info with no electronics or need for pen and paper involved
    • by Orne (144925)

      If they only had some kind of information on the card to tell you who gave it to you, like a name...

  • by mnmlst (599134) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @10:56AM (#39389139) Homepage Journal

    We live in economic exchange-based societies. While you may not value a business card that is handed to you in one of these exchanges, the other person may greatly value it. Even in Westernized Japan, the exchange of business cards is an important ritual and you would be seen as frivolous and irrelevant if you could not offer one. Personally, I like business cards because I tend to pause and write down some key facts about the person on the back of their card if I found them interesting. Another advantage of paper cards is they can exchanged quickly without as much fumbling as is often involved with electronic devices. Let's be honest, how many times have we spent five minutes doing something with an electronic device that we could have done in less than a minute using other tools at hand? Every tool has some associated overhead and while electronics are generally best for handling information, they have their limitations too.

    The bottom line is that if you are trying to provide yourself with every edge to beat the competition, it would be stupid to stop handing out professional-looking, calling cards. Besides, the vast majority of people who dislike business cards and will shun you for handing them around are probably too young to have much money or power. In another 20 years, you may need to be a lot more careful about handing out paper cards. Obviously, it would be best to just ask someone if they prefer a quick email with a vcard or a paper card or both. Personally, I would like both.

  • by DERoss (1919496) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @11:04AM (#39389195)

    One important use for business cards is during job interviews. The candidate should always ask the interviewer for his or her card rather than spend time writing down contact information or using a smart phone. (While the interviewer might have to take a phone call that interrupts the interview, it is very counter-productive for the candidate to use a phone then.) After the interview, the candidate can then send a "thank you" to the interviewer, either E-mail or postal mail. No matter how negative the interview might have seemed, the message should be positive (unless you are truly positive you would NEVER work for that person no matter where he or she might be in the future). In this case, the business card also helps to build a history of your job-search activity, which might be important if you are collecting unemployment benefits.

    Very much similar to a business card is a calling card. The difference is that a calling card does not indicate any employment. Yes, the concept is very 19th century but still useful in the 21st century. I use a calling card when shopping if a special order has to be placed. It provides a sales clerk with my contact information so they do not record my name as Roth or Roff instead of Ross; often, the clerk will merely staple my calling card to the order form instead of writing the contact information. As a docent at a public garden, I sometimes give visitors my calling card if they express an interest in contacting me about certain plants or gardening techniques; it has my E-mail address and my Web site's URI (17 Web pages of garden information, not counting my garden diary).

    • In the real world nobody uses bump. Sounds great and I used to attempt it but would almost.always end up having to troubleshoot the other persons configuration, bluetooth setting, etc. Easier to just get their card and scan it with cam card and import it to the company contacts account. I send my contact info in text messages to people after i give them my card. This creates a double impression, and avoids my card being lost and with it a sale. Ive had clients call me back after weeks when they dug thr

      • Bump doesn't use Bluetooth on iPhone - 3rd party apps are prevented to use BT. Both phones send their GPS coordinates and the Bump servers match the requests based on time and location. However sometime the matching doesn't happen because the information send by one phone arrives faster than the other, or because the GPS is not accurate enough at that location... And in the middle of a meeting, spending 5+ mn to sync the phones is too much.
        Bluetooth would indeed simplify the process.
        • by cdrguru (88047)

          There are lots of Bluetooth networking applications for the iPhone, but you are correct that Bump isn't one of them. I suspect it wouldn't be secure enough - other people could listen in and capture contact information. Their whole web site is about how secure it is.

          I think another problem with Bump using Bluetooth is that while it is available on the iPhone the availability of it on other platforms is questionable. You can have lots of phones that are Internet-capable and run Java applications but do no

  • by mbone (558574) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @11:09AM (#39389221)

    What I find is that, when I get a business card, I generally get full contact info, including a phone number, web site, physical address, etc. When I don't, I get an email address, if I am lucky.

    If it is someone hard to reach (i.e., a business executive), having full contact info is very useful. Because of this, I don't see business cards going away any time soon.

  • Leap year dupe (Score:4, Informative)

    by Mike Mentalist (544984) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @11:10AM (#39389225) Homepage

    I knew this story sounded familiar. Turns out Slashdot did the same story on March 17th last year!

    http://news.slashdot.org/story/11/03/17/2019237/is-the-business-card-dead [slashdot.org]

  • ... is that there are so many of them. Is not just that "there are an app for them", that app, or standard, or whatever, should be everywhere to really remove the need of bussiness cards, in every phone, even dumb ones. Everyone can pick a paper, and while not everyone have that app (or an alternative one that just send your an URL, like for your linkedin profile) they business cards could remain.
  • Remembering who is who doesn't get any easier with email or QR or vCards or whatever you choose, so why bring that up at all? If you're running a eCommerce operation I can understand but for most of us dealing in the real world they're not going away anytime soon. For example when we give a presentation or attend some event with a bunch of students, we don't have their email. Any amount of techno-gadgetry won't replace a simple "We'd be very interested in talking to you about employment opportunities, here'

  • The person giving you the card can write contextual information on them that is relevant and has nothing to do with their contact information. Sure you could exchange vcards, but then it is up to you to make that addendum.

  • When dealing with business people on your side of the Atlantic, I have had to look up things on occasion.

    I remember when I started to deal with a US software company, they sent me a card to put in my "Rolodex". I had to look it up. My dad remembered seeing them but I had certainly never seen one. Now that I know what they look like, I have spotted them in films and on the TV.

    A confusing thing I sometimes see a word in the phone number like 1-800-BEST-BUY. This does not work on a blackberry and is very f

    • by DogDude (805747)
      The best solution to every problem is not necessarily high-tech.
      • by Xeno man (1614779)
        Technology usually causes more problems than it fixes, usually because someone is trying to use the newest tech for something that doesn't need it.
    • by mnmlst (599134)

      Actually, you can type out things like 1-800-BEST-BUY on a Blackberry. Just hold down the ALT key as you type each letter. The device will translate to the appropriate number for the phone call such as a 2 for B.

      http://www.berryreview.com/2008/02/20/faq-how-to-dial-phone-numbers-with-letters/ [berryreview.com]

    • A confusing thing I sometimes see a word in the phone number like 1-800-BEST-BUY. This does not work on a blackberry and is very fiddly on normal phones. I think it was probably easier on old fashioned rotary dial ones. How long ago were they?

      Actually the letters work just fine on an iPhone, and I imagine any touch screen based Android phone as well, modern home phones, etc. All these phones have both numbers and letters on the buttons. Its hardly something rotary specific, as a matter of fact it became more popular after buttons replaced rotary.

      I think you are focusing on a niche type of phone, those with little chiclet keyboard buttons for dialing. If anything is on its way to obsolescence like rotary phones it is such chiclet keyboards. To

  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @11:14AM (#39389251)

    It is extremely difficult to infect a computer with malicious code via a paper business card.

  • I find cards useful for my hobby. I take photos, mostly of models. Sometimes when I'm out I'll be chatting to someone and the subject will come up. If she shows an interest in posing for me, I give her my card - no pressure on her then to reciprocate or hand out her number, so she can go away and think about it. The card has my email address and website details, and is blank on the back; if I choose to, I can scribble my number on there as well. It works for me.

    So basically the bottom line for me is I have

  • This is Stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MacGyver2210 (1053110) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @11:19AM (#39389283)

    Of course Business Cards are still useful.

    young and Web-savvy people who are accustomed to connecting digitally, see business cards as irrelevant, wasteful — and just plain lame.

    So business cards are obsolete now because...Anonymous doesn't like them? What? Just because this guy thinks he is too cool for business cards doesn't mean they are 'dead' or 'a casualty'.

    1. They provide a simple, physical way for people to be reminded of you or find your contact information. Without waiting for your phone or tablet to load, without waiting for a PC to boot. It's a tiny square of paper with all of the information you need. It doesn't take much space, and you can fit hundreds of them in the corner of a desk drawer. No need for a shoebox.

    2. They are simple to handle and easier to glean information from than a phone app or barcode. I don't know about you, but I can't read QR codes by sight. It's a lot easier to say "What was that guy's name from the conference?" and pull a card from the stack of lit you got than it is to pull up a vCard app on your phone and hope it has a 'most recent additions' feature so it's easier to find the guy you just entered last night.

    3. They provide an artistic first-impression and give someone looking at your information an idea of your style and something to remember you by - something to get stuck in their head and make them remember you even without the card. A really good business card is not even close to a little rectangle of paper. Sometimes they will be lithographed and transparent, die-cut, foil-printed, some even fold into a pop-up scene.

    4. They are of HUGE cultural significance in far-Eastern countries, such as Japan. There they have a whole 'ritual' when people present business cards to each other. There is a specific way they stand, greet the other, bow, speak, and trade cards. It is a very formal and respectful way of exchanging contact information, which is still prevalent in one of the most technologically-advanced societies in the world.

    In summary, even if the submitter is some lolcat who has no use for business cards, it's not safe to count them out just yet. Saying they're 'dead' or 'obsolete' is just ignorant of the way the rest of the world outside your internet bubble works.

  • by houghi (78078) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @11:22AM (#39389315)

    it's hard to remember who is who

    The nice thing is that most of the time you will be able to write on them. That means writing small notes about things you just discussed.
    That is why I hate designer business cards who try to be clever. I like the boring white ones.
    You meet somebody at a reception, at a conference or some other casual event. You start to talk and exchange cards. The talk might be 10 minutes and the moment you part, you take the card back and write on it whatever you think is important.

    When you get home, you look at the 30-40 or more cards and see what you wrote on them. That will make it easy which ones you really must talk to, who you must avoid and if you wrote it down the things YOU said to them. Pretty important when you were talking prices for e.g. a new client or ideas you had.
    e.g. "Wants a pr0n website with live models. Told him I knew htlm."

  • I was curious about the only person directly quoted in this article saying that business cards are passe. I checked out BeachMint Inc.and I laughed. This reporter should have considered talking to some people running successful companies, at the very least.
  • Another article where someone claims their personal view must surely be the view of the remainder of the world.

    Personally I like them for the random contacts you make. Not the prearranged things the article talks about. I run into folks in my industry via flights, friends of friends, and other fairly happenstance meetings. Hell, I used to give out my professional card for personal contacts (with the preface of course - "I'm not trying to be an arrogant douche and flaunt a status, it's just much easier to gi

  • Make the best of the situation. Start trading them like Pokemon or Yugi O! Only this time, the monsters are REAL!!!
  • Surprised it hasn't been mentioned, but...

    When I am in client meeting, I like to get business cards from each of the participants at the table. These people are strangers to me. I place the cards on the table in front of me, next to my notepad. I order them by the placement around the table, giving me instant access to names and titles. I then transfer the information to my pad, along with notes (when I am not speaking, of course).

    After the meeting completes, I then transfer information back to the cards.

  • "Thing X" the Latest Internet Casualty

    Hogwash.

    This same old story (or something like it) gets rehashed on Slashdot every once a while. In fact, I remember a discussion on exactly the problem with thinking that business cards are no longer necessary.

    A business card only requires you to reach into your pocket and hand it over without disturbing the flow of a conversation or even breaking eye contact. Some "app" requires you to grab your phone, look down, switch it on, find the icon, open it, then
  • by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @12:07PM (#39389609)

    This is one of the most ridiculous things i've ever heard. Not everyone has internet or smartphones and I think it will always be that way. I give business cards as a personal contact as well for business use. Many of the people i give cards to do not have smart phone or even internet so they need my phone number. People who do have email I would have to give my email address anyway and its easier to jsut give them a card with the address they can punch in later rather than trying to speak it out loud. In many ways, demanding another party you are speaking with to use some odd online app may also be rude and inconsiderate, intead of just giving them a business card. There is a simplicity with business cards as well, where an online sort thing thing tends to actually bring in more complexity and frustration. I would often end up writing down my web address anyway on a piece of paper, which is what I have on my business cards anyway. Business cards are simple and "just work" while some electronic alternative is often very complex and prone to numerous technical glitches.

  • by PPH (736903)

    I'm looking for a simple E-Ink [wikipedia.org] display and controller that will fit into a wallet or similar sized container. I already have QR codes that point to my web site which include customized identity strings on printed stationary. I can modify the ID in the QRC URL to redirect the particular target audience to a customized version of my web site. Or just track who visited and when. With the wallet sized display, I can whip it out in a meeting, have other attendees scan it and achieve the same level of customizat

  • My mind, unless you are in sales business cards are just a penis-extension along with a corporate supplied phone, etc. Maybe I've just been working at cheap employers but they all seem to limit cellphones to managers because "they need them" even when it is the drones that are the ones getting paged (yes paged) back to work. Why can't we have an oncall cellphone instead of a oncall pager "because it is cheaper". Ah but the manager having a cellphone that he never gets called on that isn't expensive :-)

  • Palm had a good idea: you could send an address book entry to another Palm device using its IR interface. Dead simple, too.

    Unfortunately it was Palm-only, making it useless in most circumstances. I'm not aware of a replacement in today's phones. You could email someone a vCard, but that requires knowing their phone number. Is Bluetooth ubiquitous enough to be usable for this?

  • I use pens instead (Score:5, Interesting)

    by John_Sauter (595980) <John_Sauter@systemeyescomputerstore.com> on Saturday March 17, 2012 @12:28PM (#39389749) Homepage

    As a long-time geek, I carry lots of pens in my shirt pocket. I decided to turn them into business cards.

    I had a bunch of nice-looking personalized pens made, with my e-mail address inscribed on them. If someone asks me for my e-mail address, I hand them a pen. I then have to explain that the pen is not to write down my e-mail address, but it has my e-mail address alreay on it, and they can keep the pen. I have handed out more than 100 pens in the last couple of years. People tend to keep them longer than paper business cards because they have utility: you can write with them.

    My e-mail address includes my name, and if you search the Web for my e-mail address you get my web site (hosted by the workstation under my desk at home) and my résumé, which includes a picture of me, my telephone number, and my mailing address. That's better than a business card.

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