A Rolodex is a rotating file device used to store business contact information (the name is a portmanteau word of rolling and index). The Rolodex holds specially shaped index cards; the user writes the contact information for one person or company on each card. The cards are notched to be able to be snapped in and out of the rotating spindle. Many users avoid the effort of writing by taping the contact’s business card directly to the Rolodex index card. — Wikipedia
Hey, remember these? I am still unpacking boxes for my new office and pulled this baby out of a box last night.
As you can see, my three-year-old son is in the corner of the frame, wondering what the heck this thing is. It would seem that the Rolodex has gone the way of the do-do bird, or at least the Underwood typewriter and land-line phone. There was once a time when a businessperson’s Rolodex was their absolute most important possession. It was their network and as we all know, a network can also equate to your net worth.
But now? I just google anyone I’m looking for. Or I search for them on LinkedIn, or if they are so inclined, I just tweet with them. I really can’t remember the last time I ever used or referred to someone’s business card.
This wasn’t always the case. In 1995, as a newly minted account representative at a graphic design agency, business cards were like nuggets of gold to me. Gold, I tell you! When it wasn’t so easy to find people and all of their credentials on line, a business card gave you a verifiable connection with someone. You had exchanged cards in person somewhere, so it wasn’t like cold-calling someone out of the blue. The same applied for any kind of referrals. I always kept handy in my Rolodex the cards of excellent printing company reps, translators, and even hair stylists so that I could serve as a resource for others.
But alas, my Rolodex now only serves to make me feel dizzy at the changes that have taken place since then. And although I haven’t actually used the thing in years. Years, and years, actually. I did cart it from job to job for nearly a decade. And now, I’m torn — do I keep it for memory sake ( interesting dust collector?) or do I accept that those days are over and toss it?