Business cards are anachronistic contributors to global warming and I’m saying goodbye to them.
There, I said it.
How often do you care about anything on a business card other than one’s name, title, company, phone number, web URL, and email address? Do you care about fax numbers or postal mail addresses anymore? Do you care what the corporate logo looks like? Do you care about the color of the card or whether you can write on it?
I’ve been wanting to design and order a new batch of my facial recognition cards which are running low and contain outdated information, but I’ve been sitting on my ass instead of taking action. After asking and learning what friends and colleagues do, I am opting to separate myself from the tree-killing crowd of business card holders and be sustainable with paper-less technology.
First, I credit Jeff Cutler for introducing me to Rich Drake and his Tweetup Badges service last summer. As the name implies, Rich manufactures laminated plastic ID cards that identify you for display by clipping to your vest pocket or be suspending on a lanyard around your neck. While intended to provide alternate identification methods than sticky or pinned labels at meetups and conferences, tweetup badges can also serve as self-identifying contact cards which you can bring to any event.
My badges — in contrast to the this example — display my URL where Rich has a hashtag, along with my first name and my Twitter name. The information is repeated on the back of the code, which also includes a printed QR code whereby anyone with a scanning application on their mobile device can scan me and my details will appear in their address book.
Second, I credit Amy Mengel for alerting me to 14-month-old contxts.com which enables me to share my contact information with you — the same data that would appear on a printed card — by way of a 140-character SMS message you can receive on your cellphone after either my alerting the service to send it to you or your requesting it by texting a 5-digit number. Here’s a great summary of the cloud contact tool to learn more about its pros and cons.
Third, users of iPhones and Androids are already familiar with the so-called bumping technology whereby two users can “bump” their phones to each other, and each other’s contact information magically appears on each other’s phones, thereby eliminating the need to carry paper and giving cards when that information would ultimately wind up in the phones.
Let’s be honest, folks. If you are reading this blog article then I will presume you are technology-savvy, have an email address, and if in the receipt of a business card that lacks an email address you would be careless to follow-up. These are precisely who you are attracted to at events where you would exchange business cards. Please stop me if I am assuming too much.
Thus, why do you really need to print everything on a piece of paper when you have your choice of having a sustainable plastic ID card, texting that person’s cellphone with your details, and/or bumping your phones together? Alternatively, take that person’s business card and then email him or her with your details. Simple and saves that person the work of inputting your data.