I think business cards as we know them are destined for museums. They'll be encased in glass alongside such business relics as fax machines and PalmPilots.

I mean, I appreciate a nicely designed card as much as the next person, but the reality is they're a waste of paper and a major inconvenience--for both parties.

A much smarter solution: CardFlick InstaCards, a free service that lets you build dazzling-looking digital cards with just a few clicks, then share them using whatever method suits you.

I started with the Web version of InstaCards, though it's also available in app form for iOS. (An Android version is in the works.) Using a simple, attractive browser-based interface, I chose a photo to use for my card's background (an optional step), then applied a theme.

Instacards offers about 30 of them, all very fancy and professional-looking, and all making you think, "This looks expensive. I'm glad I'm not paying to have these printed."

From there I typed in the usual personal details: name, company, phone number, e-mail address, and so on. Every addition or change I made was instantly shown in the main card-preview area.

Once I'd saved my card, I could share it via e-mail, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. Even better, once I'd installed the CardFlick app on my iPhone and signed into my account, presto: there was the card I'd made. I could "flick" it to other CardFlick users in the area, or just send it via plain old e-mail.

Interestingly, anyone who receives your card gets not only the digital image, but also details about where and when you met--complete with a Google Map. How cool is that!

Very. Amazingly, InstaCards is free. It's not "free for the first five cards you send" or "only the ugly themes are free"--the whole thing is just plain free. My advice: stop spending money and trees on business cards and try this instead. It's seriously cool, and practical to boot.