Are business cards still a thing today?

By Sandhya D’Mello

There was this time I witnessed my colleague cleaning his office drawer and, without any hesitation, mercilessly throwing a huge bunch of business cards in the dustbin, along with a statement: “I really don’t know what am I going to do with them.” It made me ponder how we all are sometimes desperate to give our visiting card or receive one from some important personality, who we would value or want to get acquainted with; having certain persons’ cards would be a something to flaunt.

Being in the media for over two decades, I have accumulated innumerable cards and tuck them carefully so I can reach out whenever I need their details. But the truth is I seldom go back searching for it as now contact details are at my fingertips, thanks to social media. I have also thrown many cards in the dustbin without, yes, blinking. We all do it; the cleaning of our drawers, no?

Visiting cards are a reflection of the personality you have and, trust me, this is tried and tested by yours truly. I had this honour of meeting one high-flying entrepreneur in Dubai who actually gave me his card that was gold-plated. While giving it, he even actually said: “Don’t try to tear it; it is gold-plated.” What a show of wealth, I thought to myself.

And you guessed it: I have been and still continue to be put off by any show-off of wealth, especially in a rather hysterical way. Flaunting it as a social status is something I am averse to. But it takes all sorts of people to make this world a place worth living in.

Your visiting card defines your personality. I received one real sleek card from a consul-general of a developed nation, a card I would certainly flaunt not only because it made me feel good that I know someone up the hierarchy but also the fact that it was so neat: The font, crisp style and, yes, all the contact details, except his mobile number. Nevertheless, I still take pride in having his card because it is impossible to get one with the sharks from public relations companies keeping close watch on us scribes.

The most recent encounter regarding cards happened recently when a millennial walked in front of me for, mind you, the very first time. All set for an interview, this person broke out in laughter as I extended my card. He mocked me saying: “Who gives cards in this day and age?” My reaction? A straight face with “I DO” written all over it.

Obviously, the pompous guy did not carry his card — such arrogance. The incident left me pondering if I should ever extend my visiting card next time I am scheduled to interview any millennial. In this age when we live in real-time, are cards redundant? I don’t think so.

As a journalist, it is mandatory for us to have our cards; certain event booths at press conferences will not entertain us at all if we do not have one with us. I do not have the luxury of telling the organisers “try to google me” for more info — just like how the dude in the previous paragraph told me.

Moral of the story: Business/visiting cards are here to stay no matter how hard you try to google people and think you are a pseudo celebrity. Some things will never change; carry your card in your wallet all the time because, after all, there is something called corporate culture — which is here to stay.

Sandy gives her cards only to those she thinks deserve one




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