What is the business card equivalent for these modern times?
May 20, 2024 2:50 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to a business fair this week. I can give out business cards but don't people bump phones or something when want to pass on their contact details/bio nowadays?

I have a website. I have business cards with website's URL and my email address; along with a whimsical doodle and name, skillset, etc…

My plan is to give these out to potential new clients/hirers. But isn't that a little old-fashioned? Do people still do this? Or do they do something clever with their phones? What about LinkedIn or a similar app?
posted by run"monty to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Yea, they still do it. Put a QR code for your site on the card.
posted by jgirl at 2:55 PM on May 20 [12 favorites]

In tech, the majority of people I know either still hand out business cards or use the LinkedIn app's "personal QR code" feature. The more paranoid will enter the person's name into LinkedIn directly.
posted by Candleman at 3:00 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]

I just came from a major software industry conference and mostly people just seem to text each other their phone numbers and names. Lots of taking pictures of business cards, so a QR code is a great idea.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 3:01 PM on May 20

I think this will probably vary by industry. Do you mind telling us what industry you are in?

For what it's worth, I'm in Transportation/Rail, and at the recent trade shows I've been to, vendors may have flash drives with product literature, but business cards are still very much the way to share personal contact info. No futzing with a phone, trying to figure out work/personal address books, then trying to figure out where the contact has zipped off to in my address book. Just a piece of paper that has all the info I need. (And if I meet someone who I want to pass over to a colleague, I can pass it along, and I have a physical thing to prompt me to do it when I get back home, while a contact added to my address book will sit there forgotten.)

On preview, if it were someone I wanted to make immediate contact with, I might share info on the spot and text them, but that's not something I'd do with a potential vendor. (I also try to keep business in my work email and not my personal text messages, so YMMV on that one.)
posted by yuwtze at 3:13 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]

The business cards of 2024 are still business cards. A tasteful QR code isn't a bad idea as long as it links to service that reliably creates both an iPhone and a Google vcard that you can just hit "save" and it's in your contacts. I don't see any phone bumping.
posted by MattD at 3:20 PM on May 20 [5 favorites]

I work in a creative industry and regularly go to several different conferences each year. The vast majority of people in my industry give out business cards. A fraction of those cards have QR codes on them and I occasionally run into someone who makes me scan a QR code for a digital business card.

I much prefer receiving the paper cards because I usually write a little note on the card to remind me what we talked about or what to follow up with.
posted by keeo at 3:42 PM on May 20 [4 favorites]

QR code should be fine, NFC if you want to get REALLY fancy, but NFC as business card never really took off, IMHO.
posted by kschang at 4:07 PM on May 20

business cards are important because you can write notes right on the card about the person after you meet them, giving context to the contact. nothing else really works as well as that. especially after a day of meeting people, you go through your stack of cards and jot down why you care about them, or if you don't, you just throw the card away. qr code is a nice bonus
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:38 PM on May 20 [5 favorites]

I want to point out here that a QR code doesn't need to run through any service at all: it can directly encode the text of a Vcard.
posted by adamrice at 5:03 PM on May 20 [8 favorites]

Relevant XKCD.

Please just use a business card. If you tried to get me to do some phone bump thing I might just walk away, and even if I humored you, I probably wouldn't hire you. But I am definitely not in your field. I bet if your field hated business cards and preferred janky phone crap, you'd probably know that.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:09 PM on May 20 [2 favorites]

Business cards, though don’t be put off if some others don’t have them. Often at a conference. I’ll just exchange a quick email with the person and that’s that.
posted by cupcakeninja at 5:11 PM on May 20

write notes right on the card

Remember to ask your printer to ensure your card will be writable!

I'm a designer of physical spaces and things and people love seeing my card with its Mr-Men type cartoon. Printed on nice tactile stock too, many people seem to like this ime.
posted by unearthed at 7:19 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]

Yeah, even in tech spaces, there's no real standard way to exchange this digitally. Some people are always trying to make something take off, but until there's something baked in to iOS and Android, I just don't see it happening any time soon. Shoot, sharing a contact among iOS users doesn't even work great.

A business card is fine, although I might just grab the email address off it and hand it back.
posted by advicepig at 7:36 AM on May 21

Remember to ask your printer to ensure your card will be writable!

Yes, glossy finish cards don't take ink well if at all, and they end up smearing.
posted by jgirl at 7:57 AM on May 21

Business cards are very much still a thing. If you want to look all techy and stuff, have a QR code leading to your Web site on there, but QR cards are kind of overused everywhere these days and aren't really anything special. I don't really trust them and would type in the URL anyway.
posted by dg at 5:36 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]

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