This weekend, I found a 10-year-old business card while I was tidying up my stationery drawer. I’m not sure how it ended up among my notecards and envelopes. But I do remember receiving it. I was on a cruise ship gliding serenely on the Mediterranean Ocean off the coast of Italy on a sun-dappled day. My husband and I were on our honeymoon, and the card was from a fellow American we’d befriended on our trip.
We hadn’t stayed in touch. But I wondered how she was doing and wanted to say a quick hello and “I remember meeting you.” Her business card contained her phone number and email address … but I didn’t reach her by either. Instead, I went to LinkedIn and searched for her there. And there she was. She was in the same field (personal assistant) but had a new employer (a Music Legend rather than a Famous Musician).
So I sent her a note on LinkedIn reminding her of our meeting and asking how she was. I haven’t heard from her yet, but that’s not the issue here. The point is that old business cards are likely to be obsolete. So if you have a stack of them that you’ve been meaning to use to connect with acquaintances or do some networking, don’t bother.
Instead, ditch the business cards and search for the person on social networking sites. If you need a place to start, here’s Wikipedia’s exhaustive list. Of course, you can always Google the person too. It’s hard to hide on the Internet, so they’re likely to show up somewhere.
If you have a stack of current business cards, try CardMunch to scan them and turn them into digital info. Then you’ll have all the contact information without the clutter of loose business cards. The company used to charge $25 for 100 cards, but it’s recently been acquired by LinkedIn, so now the service is free. You can find the app in Apple’s app store, and the BlackBerry version is coming soon.