Twitter, The New Business Card?

March 29, 2012

I’ve attended quite a few networking events in the past few years. And while networking gets criticized by many people as being a phony endeavor, I truly enjoy getting to know and meet new people.

At two recent events, however, something happened that surprised me: I was given a business card with barely a hello. It was as if someone attended an event with the intention of getting rid of x number of cards or they wanted to collect my card to put me on some sort of list.

I know Chris Brogan has explored this topic numerous times, but it really clicked with me recently. While I attend far fewer conferences and networking events than Chris, my stack of business cards that I receive continues to grow. As much as I try to remember the face that goes with the name on the card, the likelihood of my remembering gets smaller. For me, as with most people, the more you interact with someone at an event, the easier it will be to remember the person’s name on the card.

Last week, I attended a social media networking event and ran into someone I’ve met before. We talked for a while and instead of exchanging business cards, we exchanged Twitter handles. For someone who enjoys following a lot of people on Twitter, it made a lot of sense to me. I know I would see this person much more frequently on Twitter than I would see her business card, which would have been lost in a stack of cards in my desk.

I realize trading Twitter handles instead of business cards is not a perfect solution for everybody. I’m sure there are a lot of people, groups and industries that do not use Twitter nor have any desire to. That is fine. But I can see, among some groups (especially tech-savvy professionals), where exchanging Twitter handles can be a good alternative for exchanging business cards. It reminds me, that in many ways, social media platforms are now the new Rolodex.

How about you…what do you do with all of the business cards you collect? Have you adopted a system that keeps you connected to others without the clutter of all those cards?

Creative commons photo courtesy of jaaron.

1 Audrey Schroder July 25, 2012 at 11:41 am

This is an interesting observation. Just last night at the Social Media Club of Chicago’s Summer Soiree I witnessed a couple people exchanging Twitter handles. Neither person gave the other a business card. I think this is a good idea, but without including any type of note (or assigning a person to a Twitter list) is just as bad as exchanging cards. Whenever I meet people I try to write down the date and place I met the person, along with a note about our conversation. That’s come in handy numerous times. I like business cards because I’m still a “paper” person and like to physically have a card in my hand.

2 Tim July 25, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Hi Audrey:

You described a big disadvantage to just exchanging Twitter handles…the inability to write notes, descriptions, etc. I don’t always do that for the cards I collect…and there are plenty of cards I’ve collected where I cannot remember the details about the person or conversation. But one way I think Twitter can be a good replacement for business cards is the fact that it can be a big go-to place when I want to find someone’s contact info. Of course this assumes you’re on Twitter a lot, which I am. I have no doubt, though, that there’s a perfect CRM app out there that could further help me. I actually learned of one at last month’s TechWeek event, but have yet to download. Like you, I haven’t gone paperless.

Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

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