Wednesday, January 02, 2008

is email always on the record? we say yes

A recent post on another public relations blog notes that "these days, it seems everything is on the record" but, based on a 2005 post by Ross Mayfield, suggests we can at least protect our e-mails and keep them off the record if we add the following line at the end of every e-mail:
"this email is: [ ] bloggable [x] ask first [ ] private"
To me, this sounds about as effective as standing at a microphone and saying "what I'm about to say is off the record." The original suggestion came from a blogger who wanted to let his e-mail correspondents know whether they could blog about his private communications with them. And that might work with a trusted group, but expecting reporters to abide by it -- or expecting compliance from those to whom it's forwarded by your trusted friends -- seems a bit far-fetched. E-mail is just another way of broadcasting and publishing your thoughts. I say don't get caught hoping that new technologies somehow hold different protections. The old rule still holds: don't put it out there, unless you're willing to see it reported.

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