Sunday, November 16, 2008

Keeping President Obama with His Email

You see the story in New York Times yesterday?

Prospects do not look for Barack Obama to continue sending and receiving email once he gets into the White House.

... he will probably be forced to sign off. In addition to concerns about e-mail security, he faces the Presidential Records Act, which puts his correspondence in the official record and ultimately up for public review, and the threat of subpoenas. A decision has not been made on whether he could become the first e-mailing president, but aides said that seemed doubtful.

It's not quite clear who, exactly, would be forcing the new President to do this. I think the President giving up his email is a terrible idea.

So what if the law requires all Presidential communications to be eventually available for public review? Surely a system could be devised which would automatically record all email that the President sends and receives. Come to think of it, isn't that what happens on every gmail or yahoo mail account right now?

More important, a President must be able to communicate in whatever way is most comfortable and effective for him. A person in his position needs to devote maximum attention to thinking and communication, without having to be handicapped by using old-fashioned paper, telephone, and other systems. Email has grown astronomically in the past decade for good reason: it has all the advantages of writing - permanence - and yet it is as immediate as speech. Plus, it is global and easily searchable.

And this is what some media Neanderthals want to deny to the new President?

My prediction: Obama will indeed become the first emailing President. Email me if I'm wrong.

For more on the advantages of email, see
The Soft Edge: A Natural History and Future of the Information Revolution.
Post a Comment