Business cards have been used for centuries as a means of exchanging contact information for both social and professional purposes. However, the advent of technology has led some to begin exchanging "business cards" in the virtual world through professional networking sites like LinkedIn and newer programs that are offered through cell phones.
While the paper versions of business cards will probably never go out of style completely, the way they are currently used is quickly evolving into the multi-media world we live in today.
LinkedIn is probably one of the biggest professional networks online today, and many business cards are now being transferred to this website, so that contact information may remain current and interaction and relationship-building can occur more easily. Many professionals continue to collect business cards and trade shows and other industry events, but then quickly transfer the information from those cards into their LinkedIn account so they can track professional cohorts more accurately.
When you hook up with an individual through LinkedIn, it is much easier to keep information current, instead of relying on a business card that may contain information that is outdated. However, the biggest problem with websites like LinkedIn is that is isn't terribly mobile; you need to have access to your computer in order to access or update your files. However, new technology is in the works to make electronic business cards as mobile as they are convenient.
Mobile Card Swaps
The primary reason that paper business card printing is still in style is due to the fact that most busy professionals do not typically exchange information while they are in front of a computer. However, some companies hope to make the exchange of electronic business cards more feasible through websites and mobile software designed just for this purpose.
With technology like DUB, individuals are able to share electronic business cards through their Blackberries and iPhones, with additional support for accessing social networking sites like Twitter and LinkedIn. DUB technology uses global positioning to match users and then stores relevant information into address books on the phones.
For those who aren't ready for smart phones or downloadable applications, other companies are developing technology that allows users to exchange business cards through text messaging. You can also invest in scanning applications that scan physical business cards and then store the information electronically. Tokens are also being developed that can be pointed at one another for a quick, easy exchange of information. While this technology is still in the developmental stage, the companies working with such devices are confident that the ease of use will catch on quickly once the devices go commercial.
While new technology is constantly changing the world of business cards, business card printing companies don't need to worry just yet. While electronic business cards are being used more and more, there is still a place for the traditional business cards in the professional world. While you might see people at trade shows or industry events with their Blackberries in constant motion, there are still plenty of paper exchanges taking place as well.