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Why Is It Important To Still Maintain Your Business Card In This Digital Age

The Resilient Business Card

What is with business cards? If you own a Nintendo 3DS, you can use “Streetpass,” which allows you to exchange information and in-game items automatically with anyone who happens to be within the same area as yourself. Why hasn’t something like that replaced business cards? Why do we still have to print out and keep little pieces of paper in our pockets to hand out at meetings, conventions and parties? In an increasingly print-free society, why does the printed business card persist long after the web has largely replaced newspapers, comic books, magazines and paperbacks?

The culture surrounding business cards is fascinating, and it looks as if the little card that you keep in your wallet is here to stay. Even in Silicon Valley, where you would think that they would have come up with a more sophisticated means of exchanging info, the physical business card remains important. Here’s why:

A Tangible Ritual

In an increasingly digitized world, the ritual of the business card provides some comfort. This is not just another meaningless online exchange, this is something physical and real, a souvenir of a meeting with a fellow in the industry, one who might well be one of your heroes. Plenty of young techies treasure the cards that commemorate their meeting with their favorite game designer or software developer. The physical, tangible ritual of business card exchange is simply comforting in a world increasingly dominated by the non-physicality of data.

Modern Tech

Modern technology has yet to replace the business card, but it has made card culture more fun. TouchBase allows you to scan business card info directly into your phone so that when a card changes hands, you have both a digital copy and the physical object of the card itself. Other innovations include cards made of seed paper that grow into flowers with a little water and dirt. You can’t do that with an email address book.

We Have Yet to Go Full-Digital

Digital concepts have only just begun to pierce the curtain and push their way into the real world. Digital hasn’t replaced the business card just because it can’t yet replace the physical nature of the card. Maybe when augmented reality becomes a commonplace aspect of our lives, we’ll see some semi-digital ritual replacing that of the business card.

Information is More Important Than Ever

In this increasingly data/digital/information-driven world, the means of communication is actually less important than the data being transmitted. Kids don’t lust after iPhones because they admire the technology behind it, but because they allow access to games they can play with their friends, to the time and place where they can find the party, to on-the-fly information about how many calories are in this burger, or where to find a cheaper taxi. Business cards remain, ironically, more instantaneous and convenient than the process of verbally exchanging and typing info into a smartphone, and today’s professionals probably spend more time exchanging information than any generation of professionals before them.

At this point, it’s starting to seem as if the business card might simply be here to stay. So much that we’ve taken for granted is changing. Fewer and fewer people hold down “jobs,” preferring to freelance or start their own business. Fewer young people own cars or even drive, preferring to rely on public transport, short-term rentals and Uber car service to get where they’re going. We read books on thin tablets smaller than clipboards. And yet, the business card not only persists, it thrives.

“Quick access to information is what counts right now.” Said entrepreneur from Scottsdale Jason Hope, “As convenient as the smartphone may be, the information is more important than the means of transmission.”

Chances are you pay for things with your phone, not a plastic credit or debit card. You probably don’t keep a lot of cash on hand, and you don’t need to put photos in your pocket when you can carry thousands on your smartphone. As long as business cards remain relevant, however, you’ll always have a need for a good wallet.

About Author: Amy Taylor is a technology and business writer. Amy began her career as a small business owner in Phoenix, Arizona. She has taken that knowledge and experience and brought that to her unique writing capabilities. She really enjoys new business related issues that are tied directly to technology.