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March 15, 2010

SXSW: Gasp! Twitter gives out paper business cards

Posted: 09:56 AM ET

Ever since Twitter made a big splash at South By Southwest in 2007, the micro-blogging site has seen a lot of milestones. The site has won support from celebrates like Oprah and Ashton Kutcher, signed search deals with Google and Yahoo!, recently hired their 140th employee, and even had the 10 billionth tweet sent out early in March.

But the hip, San Francisco company was missing something that, in the general business world, seems rather basic: It never had business cards. Employees just gave out their Twitter names instead.

But that, too, has changed. At SXSW this year, Twitter employees are handing out paper business cards just like the rest of us. Instead of eggshell white, the company went with an earthy brown color for its cards.

That may seem like a silly bit of news, but first consider the context. At SXSW, everything is going digital. Instead of handing out cards, many tech professionals just download a smartphone app called i-Nigma and then scan a barcode on other attendee's name tags. That person's contact info automatically downloads onto the phone. Others use an iPhone app called Bump, which, when two phones are tapped together, exchanges a business-card's worth of data through the air.

A Twitter spokesman poked fun at the idea of business cards even as he listed the benefits of paper-based networking.

"This antiquated thing called 'business cards' is a helpful way for some of us to bridge our online and offline worlds with potential employees, partners and the thousands of developers who make Twitter applications," said company spokesman Sean Garrett.

So, is paper really the new mode of social networking? Next thing you know, maybe Twitter employees will be spotted in ties.

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Charlie Fox   March 15th, 2010 12:18 pm ET

This is like the opposite of news.

ss.   March 15th, 2010 12:20 pm ET

Hear, hear RLA.

unamused   March 15th, 2010 12:21 pm ET

Is this a joke? Are CNN dollars actually being paid to someone for saying Twitter employees are using business cards?

Dana   March 15th, 2010 12:24 pm ET

Well, the tech sector has been trying to push the "paperless" society idea for the past 20 years. I guess with some success. Considering that many more people like reading e-books now rather than getting a hardcopy. But I don't see how you'll ever completely get away from a physical hardcopy to present information.

People will still drive cars from the 50's for nostalgia and because it looks "hip" to have a classic car. So, I could see the same thing for business cards, and who knows, maybe they'll start posting jobs in the newspapers again for employment and a larger level before Monster took over?

Craig   March 15th, 2010 12:39 pm ET

Slow news yes, but relevant. Ironic thay you can't Tweet this article.

Technology is moving so fast – its refershing to see the new anchored with the past. Business cards will ever pass – but clearly the case exists for something to take its place. The sense of touch is very reassuring.

Joseph Maguire   March 15th, 2010 12:47 pm ET

I have had it with the media's obsession of trying to get everyone to click on popular keywords like Twitter. Guess what no one thinks this is news editors choose what you post more responsibly.

Love Print   March 15th, 2010 12:50 pm ET

Yes, it's news, if you are in marketing or business development, it's news!!!!!

Latest info out of Deliver magazine:

Survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Earthtone, a firm specializing in comparison pricing for printer houses.
64% of employed U.S. adults say print media is easier to read.
68% say they feel more comfortable reading something on paper
than on screen, suggesting that we associate things we can touch and feel as being more "real". More personal than a web address, etc.

Disliking CNN   March 15th, 2010 1:03 pm ET

How is this a news? I used to like CNN but lately they are publishing nonsense stuff!

Jose   March 15th, 2010 1:10 pm ET

I use my Moo cards also showing only telephone number and tweeter account.
There are even free designs:

John   March 15th, 2010 1:10 pm ET

Two points. First, this is a sorry excuse for a "news" story. Second, I think my 2 year old could have done a better job designing their business card.

ndginla   March 15th, 2010 1:45 pm ET

Dana... I've been in IT for over 30 years, and trust me, they have been talking about going paperless for a lot longer than 20 years... but like any other IT project, it is way late and over budget.

Sometimes, simple, low-tech solutions work just fine.

Sallad   March 15th, 2010 2:22 pm ET

did they seriously get 2 ply toilet paper at twitter? i recycle and reduce waste so well, i don't use toilet paper, i just squeeze my bunz tight, physics takes care of the rest. see cnn this is a news story, no TP just physics.

Observer50   March 15th, 2010 2:41 pm ET

"This is not news CNN."

I'm always amused when I see someone who tries to define what NEWS is for everyone else on the planet and wastes the time it takes to make the laughable comment about their own narrow perspective.

Drew   March 15th, 2010 3:09 pm ET

Paper is still the only way for two strangers to meet and exchange contact info quickly, using a universally readable medium.

I'm surprised we aren't doing this by Bluetooth handshake yet, but for now, business cards are what we've got.

BrickellPrincess   March 15th, 2010 3:10 pm ET

Yawn...all these American "tech" companies still run like dinosaurs.

Patrick   March 15th, 2010 3:17 pm ET

Honestly, I'm shocked to learn that Twitter HAS employees. When I try to contact their support team, it takes three months to get a reply, and even then, it's a form mail. Do autoresponders have business cards?

tweeted out   March 15th, 2010 3:23 pm ET

does this article/blog really demand this much commentary.
everyone, including me, has too much time on their hands.

Al   March 15th, 2010 3:26 pm ET

Why is this an article? Has the media gone mad?

chris   March 15th, 2010 4:09 pm ET

It isn't listed as "news"... its a blog.

Bryan   March 15th, 2010 4:38 pm ET

This just in....Twitter issues business cards. Are you kidding me CNN?

Bryan   March 17th, 2010 3:45 am ET

Yea, it's true web addresses might be easier to remember than business cards, but come on, it's like having a hardcover copy of a book; it's always good to have something tangible in hand. I don't care how 'antiquated' Twitter's PR department says Business Cards are...they're TWITS! Of course they are going to say that. People still use cards everywhere including gift bags and trade shows.

Challenger25   March 17th, 2010 11:51 am ET

Hard to believe that CNN would feature this – as if there are no other technology news??? No wonder the whole network became an epitome of senseless sensationalism and forgot what it's like to actually report the news.

Alex   March 17th, 2010 1:33 pm ET

I think I just tweeted myself.

Challenger25   March 18th, 2010 12:19 pm ET

Seriously? This is considered news-worthy?

Chad   March 18th, 2010 8:59 pm ET

Since when does a BLOG post need to be news. Blogs on CNN are not for publishing news, they're for things that don't quite qualify as actual news.

That being said, I'd like to know if the Twitter business cards contain nothing but that person's @twitter name. 🙂

TCPDump   March 19th, 2010 9:36 am ET

Hold on....I'm working up a care.....oops...sorry that was gas.

How is this considered anything near news? But then again that seems to be the ongoing trend.

Social Media - Turning Over an ‘Old’ Leaf @ PMG   March 23rd, 2010 5:08 pm ET

[...] to CNN's SciTechBlog, 'A Twitter spokesman poked fun at the idea of business cards even as he listed the benefits [...]

Twitter at SXSW: A whodunnit? « Felt & Wire   March 25th, 2010 7:23 pm ET

[...] As an online community for the paper-obsessed, we at Felt & Wire understand irony so very well, and we would like to be among the first to welcome Twitter to 21st-century communication, in all its encompassing glory. Read the full story here. [...]

lia   March 26th, 2010 2:46 pm ET

tweets are disposable. Cards stay in your wallet or Rolodex.

Gasp! Twitter gives out paper business cards | MannisMacNeil Design Group   April 10th, 2010 8:01 pm ET

[...] This is wonderful. From the SciTEchBlog, March 15: [...]

Bob Valeri   April 20th, 2010 4:34 pm ET

As a printer, if we can convince twitter to send out invoices and advertising literature by snail mail on paper, we can return to our roots and make some money again!

Samantha Thomsett   May 5th, 2010 3:03 pm ET

wish everyone here would read my blog or if they know anyone interested in getting married or having a baby christened here is the place to go

Harriet Russell   May 11th, 2010 5:18 pm ET

A very professional looking business card is really very important in promoting your business. It makes good impression among customers...`

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Glenn   June 22nd, 2010 4:40 pm ET

It's gonna be helpful for people who do not have iPhones or wi-fi phones i guess.   June 30th, 2010 2:46 pm ET

They it is better! Intelligent adult chat

jonesd   October 21st, 2010 4:17 pm ET

This just goes to show that we are a long way off from the end of the traditional paper card. Twitter, just like many other online businesses are recognizing the value of tradition communication methods.
Handmade cards

Sleeper Sofa ·   November 7th, 2010 3:29 pm ET

you can always create great business cards by just using adobe photoshop and some other photoediting tools *

Lead with your best card | M-bossed   March 8th, 2011 9:51 am ET

[...] world, business cards are the real first point of contact with prospects and customers (just ask Twitter). Hopefully the card invokes a positive response and gets filed away to be used later to retreive a [...]

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