I have been collecting business cards for many years. Likewise, I used to give them out like candy, especially before the Internet. I do not have a current business card anymore as the only information on it that is correct is my website and email address.
I have been thinking about this a lot lately as I look at a recent pile of business cards. I understand the need for business people to have and disseminate their information in an easy manner. Business cards fit that need quite handily. In this age of ever-changing technology, with blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and various other social media outlets, entering into the picture, how much information do you really want on your business card?
I have two three-ring spiral notebooks full of business cards dating back to the 1970s. Do you think I ever use them? Do you think any of them would be current? Before the Internet, I used to refer to them all the time. More times than not, it seemed the information was old and out of date. Telephone numbers were wrong, people that moved on and their information was useless. How did I ever find them without Google?
Yet, I still have not had the courage to throw those binders away. There might be a morsel of information in there I might need. In reality today, I can just Google the individual's name and find them that way. Then, I can simply add their information to one of my databases and not have a tiny piece of paper lying on my desk until I lose it.
When someone asks me if I have a business card today, I tell them, "Just Google 'Mike Patrick speaker' and it will be the first site to show up."
Now that I have put that information in this blog post spammers, phishers and crawlers will take my information and put it on their list, right along with the NSA.
I find it interesting just how much information people are willing to put on that tiny piece of paper. For instance, it is becoming increasingly popular to put your picture on your business card. People also will include their advanced degrees if they have one or more. It is common practice for a doctor to include MD after his or her name. I understand that. That makes perfect sense. I have always marveled at some of the initials people place after their name. I even count them. Often times I will read someone's credentials as MS, PhD. That tells me that person has a lot of education! Again, I understand that.
There is an old joke about a person becoming a lawyer and a doctor so he or she can defend themselves in their own malpractice suits. I do not know how many people actually do that, but I am sure somebody has.
I came across a business card a while back that has set the record for me with fourteen letters following his name. They are: LAc.,Dipl.O.M.,M.Ac.O.M. I am positive every one of them mean something to him and the people he gives them to. I know LAc. is Licensed Acupuncturist, and O.M. is Osteopathic Medicine, but I am not sure about the rest. If you know what they mean, please make a comment on this blog. Thank you.
I guess the only reason for this little rant is how are we as professionals handling change and are we doing a good job?
We all know change is inevitable, and how we communicate is a big part of that change we are all experiencing. As a professional speaker and author, I am constantly looking for new ways to find and book speeches and sell books. Therefore, I need my Internet presence with everything bad that goes with it. I am inundated with spam mail they got off information from my website. My webmaster has put up a folder in my email that blocks many of the bounce back emails I receive. That amounts to around one hundred every day.
I have booked speeches and sold books from my LinkedIn profile as well as my Facebook page. I also believe some of my contacts who are reading this blog right now have also purchased books and inquired about my speeches.
I would appreciate any ideas you may have about what you do to handle the spam emails you receive.
As always, I look forward to your comments.