When talking with an artist at Anime North, they'd noticed it seemed they were collecting an awful lot of business cards. By the end of the convention I had to agree – it seemed that a lot more people had business cards, be they for their own business or just personal contact. I certainly left with quite a few of them.
Perhaps it's just me, but I honestly feel people are using business cards a lot more, including for personal contact and for their hobbies. It's to the point where I think we may need a new term for "non-business" business cards.
I think the business card-as-norm has happened for several reasons:
- We're used to it. Handing someone a business card is a normal part of life as it is, so the expansion of it is normal.
- They're convenient. A quick summary of ones contact and other information in a small format is useful for communication.
- They fit the internet age. A business card is perfect for tossing on an email address, URL, etc. That one small card can lead someone to a wealth of information. Think of business cards as the social equivalent of bit.ly and tinyurl.com.
- They're cheaper and easier to make, between office supply stories, personal printers, and services like Zazzle.
- They're easier to make in classy formats because of convenient software and services.
With business cards being more prominent, I've been speculating on just what this expansion of business cards means, and means for progeeks and professionals.
- Having a business card becomes more and more of an expectation – in and out of your career. Not having one may look bad.
- As business cards become even more common in social interaction, the style, uniqueness, clarity, etc. will be more important. If you want to be remembered, you want a memorable business card.
- I expect to see more people with several kinds of business cards for different uses.
- Business cards will be "gateways" to other online sources of information, like LinkedIn and online portfolios. Keeping those up to date – and including them on business cards – will become more important.
- We progeeks have an advantage in the business card arena as we're probably familiar with the technology that makes them, have artistic or creative skills, have online resources we can mention on our business cards, or know someone with abilities to develop the above.
I've recommended for a long time that people should have personal business cards, and progeeks who hit the convention and event scene should be even more aggressive about making them. Make sure you've got the right business cards for the right occasion – and use the geeky resources you have to make them effective and memorable.
– Steven Savage