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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Do you have a blog card?

When I was a kid reading Sherlock Holmes stories, I was always fascinated by the use of calling cards. Someone would show up at 221B Baker Street, ring the bell, and hand Mrs. Hudson a card. She would send it up to Mr. Holmes so he could decide whether or not he wanted to talk to the person at his door, and at the same time ascertain from the card what part of the country they were from, what they had for breakfast, and their shoe size.

Decades later I became all-too-familiar with the intricacies of business cards, and the international customs involved in the exchange of business cards. (In this culture you present with two fingers, only after being offered a card; in this culture you use both hands to present the card, accompanied by a bow. Here's a video that looks at some of the subtleties of business card culture.) When I became a blogger I got to thinking: why not create a business/calling card for my blog, Another Monkey? It wouldn't have to be anything fancy - just a card with the name of my blog, the address, maybe a memorable picture. I already had the picture, and the card stock, so it didn't take much effort to create a card using a basic graphics package that I had picked up years earlier.

Years went by, and I handed out my card at various gatherings of bloggers. Then NEPA Blogs came into being, and later, the Blog Fests. I realized we had an opportunity to publicize NEPA Blogs to bloggers who might not be aware of it yet. Unfortunately by now I no longer had my original computer, or the installation disks for my graphics package (one of them went missing, rendering the whole shebang useless). But using the free program at avery.com ("Design & Print Online" under "Templates & Software") I put together a basic card. As Michelle took the site further and further into the social media world, the amount of information that needed to be on the card kept increasing. Finally it settled down to this:

So on one card we have the blog name, the shortcut address, the full address, the email address, and the names for use on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. It's a crowded card, but it works.

I carry a supply of both cards with me at all times now. Anywhere I go that seems appropriate I will tack up or leave one or both, or simply hand them out. I pass out the NEPA Blogs card to other guests at PA Live! who have blogs or are interested in starting blogs.

So what about you? If you're a blogger, do you have a blog card? The perforated business card stock is easily available at any office supply store, or even the computer paper sections of some retailers. Avery.com provides a broad range of free templates (including a blank one, which I prefer) to design your card.

If you're going to the Spring 2012 NEPA Blog Fest on March 20, you should consider putting together a blog card to hand out. NEPA Blogs will also have a card exchange table where you can leave your card and pick up the blog cards of other bloggers. Blog cards are a great way to express your creativity and advertise your blog at the same time!

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