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Electronic Business Cards

Would you take a person's business information electronically v. a physical card?

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I’ve been thinking about getting new cards for Dear Author. When I go to conferences, people are always asking for my business card and the ones I have, I don’t really love. I read this article about how business cards suck and everyone is spending outrageous amounts of money in attempting to get their card to be noticed. In this day and age, why not use electronic services. I particularly like Dropcard which allows me to email someone my information that can be automatically saved to the user’s address book or TextID which allows me to text my information to a user. I’m interested in hearing whether in a regular business context, if this is an appealing way to obtain a person’s contact information.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. DS
    May 25, 2009 @ 08:43:40

    I have a bad habit of forgetting my business cards– and business cards people give me usually just hang around in my bag. This would be ideal.

  2. Jane
    May 25, 2009 @ 08:47:32

    @DS I just discovered there are a couple of iPhone Apps that do this as well. I’m going to try them out.

  3. Anne Douglas
    May 25, 2009 @ 09:27:04

    Personally, I think as more and more people carry multiple use devices that can zap details to one another it will become more and more popular. I know I don’t use the organisational tools on my phone (or my PDA beforehand) to anywhere near their best potential, I’m still a paper lover in that respect (I carry a paper dayplanner). Kind of ironic really, being that I’d happily read every book in e-format, but I just can’t seem to do the same with my daily organisation.

    But, that said, there is something to be said for a simple, elegant, heavyweight paper-stock business card.

  4. Julieb
    May 25, 2009 @ 09:36:19

    My son found a Pocket PC app that scans a business card from a snapshot taken by the phone’s camera and puts all the info into Pocket Outlook instantly. That’s kind of the best of both worlds. I’d be floored if there wasn’t a similar app for the iPhone.

    Electronic cards are way cool, but a paper backup would be handy for those times when someone’s battery has gone flat.

  5. Lisa
    May 25, 2009 @ 10:24:47

    My answer was maybe. On a personal level, I prefer a business card since I don’t use Outlook at home and my cell is just a cell phone, not a blackberry or i-phone.

    At work, I would like this. It would save me trying to enter everything into Outlook after I get the card. Also, my boss is not a technology person and it would help to have the information e-mailed since he forgets to give me the card and then gets cranky when I don’t have the info he’s looking for.

  6. Leah Braemel
    May 25, 2009 @ 10:27:44

    Isn’t that what an email is basically? I mean, you can put you links in your signature line after all, attach banners, use stationary and HTML these days … so how’s that any different?

    And if it takes loading another program onto my system? I’m not so keen on doing that – especially since I have two laptops (one PC and one Mac) and two desk tops (one PC and one Mac) and can’t keep straight what’s where these days. I used to carry a PDA, but went through several generations and suffered so many memory losses and resets and had to send them back to the shop I gave up and went back to an old fashioned paper daytimer. The paper business cards are stuck in a section at the back of that where I always know where to find them.

  7. Sunita
    May 25, 2009 @ 10:46:57

    When people had Palm Pilots, back before smartphones, I remember exchanging business card info via the infrared technology when I met people at conferences. Palm’s contact program offered the option of creating your own business card within the contacts lists, which you then beamed to other people. It was great. And we felt so technologically sophisticated! I’m surprised that hasn’t happened across more platforms. And I believe that now some email programs provide the opportunity to set up that info as an electronic business card and include it in your sig file.

    Anything that reduces the number of tiny pieces of paper (card stock or otherwise) in my purse or briefcase is a Good Thing to me.

  8. Angela James
    May 25, 2009 @ 12:40:29

    I voted no because I wouldn’t want this in place of a physical business card. When I get business cards at conferences, especially the tech conferences, I jot a note on the back about what I need to contact the person about. Sometimes I’m collecting five or six cards at one time and I don’t think, right now, it’s feasible to be in mid-conversation with multiple people and somehow still send/receive electronic business card information. As much as I love technology, I think there’s still something to be said for the good, old-fashioned business card.

    In other words, suck it up and get new business cards, dude :P

  9. DS
    May 25, 2009 @ 15:27:13

    I keep my address book on my iphone. The other day I found myself sitting at my desk at work (right beside my work phone) making calls on my iphone because that was where the numbers were.

  10. Carolyn Jewel
    May 25, 2009 @ 15:59:35

    I would if they could send it directly to my iPhone. Otherwise, no.

  11. Nalini Singh
    May 25, 2009 @ 16:22:15

    I have to agree with Angela re jotting a quick note down. Also, in a conference situation, it’s often so hectic that cards are exchanged all over the place. And to be honest, I wouldn’t want hundreds of contacts being added on any device I was using – you’d spend so much time going through them to filter out what contacts you actually need at hand.

  12. Jane
    May 25, 2009 @ 17:44:07

    @Carolyn Jewel Dropcard actually does this. I’ve tried it. In fact, I’ll send you an email with my information. At the end of the email, you can click a file and it adds a contact form.

  13. Angela James
    May 25, 2009 @ 17:48:49

    I do have to say that I like getting emails where the card is attached and I can add the person to my contacts. Not as a substitute for a business card, but as an ease of access for adding contacts to my file.

  14. Jane O
    May 26, 2009 @ 08:11:36

    Gee, you mean now people can clutter up my electronics as well as my purse?

  15. Meezergrrrl
    May 26, 2009 @ 08:57:50

    If I’m taking a business card from someone, it’s because I just met them, and don’t know them well. If I don’t know them well, I don’t want them “beaming” any electronic stuff in my direction.

    I’ve been burned before by corrupt calendar invites that caused my account to “spam the world” per se. I would rather this not happen again, and while this is not likely to happen with the new eBusiness Card technology, personally, I’d rather not have to deal with the embarrassment and aftermath that goes along with accepting potentially corrupt information from someone I don’t know, let alone someone I do.

    It’s not that hard to throw the card in your bag, and pull them out when you get back from wherever. Plus, they give you a good place to take notes on your conversation with the person on the front of the card – which is useful in remembering why you have this person’s card in the first place.

  16. Rebecca
    May 26, 2009 @ 18:46:04

    I much prefer physical business cards.

    Also, I am one of those people who doesn’t need, doesn’t want, and therefore doesn’t have an all-in-one device.

    I love them as gadgets, but they have no place in my life. Angela J and Meezergrrrl make good points.

  17. Maili
    May 27, 2009 @ 02:54:23

    I frequently avoid electronic business cards because I have a tendency to lose my phone(s). I just bought a replacement fourth time this year, for goodness sake. By email? Not interested.

    I remember one incident: one offered his business card and my boss held out his hand for one. The bloke looked at his hand blankly and clarified, “I need to send it to your phone.” My boss flatly said, “No thanks. Another time, eh?”
    My boss is very peculiar about his time management. He doesn’t want to waste time scrolling through numerous contacts on his phone to find the one he wants. He didn’t know the bloke well enough to consider the new addition worth his time.
    The bloke – not wanting to lose the opportunity – ended up scribbling his contact details on a torn page from his notebook.

    On the other hand, a senior colleague routinely refuses to accept print business cards because he prefers to conduct paperwork (including business cards) electronically.

    So I think when offering a business card, it’s a good idea to check the person’s preference first: electronic or paper. Having both options available on hand shows you’re prepared and flexible. It’d certainly make a good impression on me.

  18. Matthew Anderson
    Sep 30, 2010 @ 12:08:23

    i love to make business cards at home, you can make a nice one by just using an inkjet printer.`”

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