Death Of A Thousand Cuts: Can Email Survive The Political Dirt?

Punch in the word “mobile” in the search box on Google News, and you’ll see stories like these: 

"Mobile Phone Sales Bounce Back"

"Razer’s Blade Pro THX Edition Is An Epic Modern Production"

"T-Mobile Is Opening Sores At A Breakneck Pace"  

Now put in the word “email,” and you’ll get something quite different:  

"Private Email Of Top US Russia Intelligence Chief Hacked"

"Why One CEO's Mental Health Email Went Viral" 

"Trump Lawyer Marc Kasowitz Will Apologize After Sending Email Threats"

"Donald Trump Jr.’s Email Scandal Is A Cautionary Tale For All American Workers"

It goes on. From phishing to Hillary’s Clinton email scandal, Donald Trump Jr.’s problem to John Podesta’s emails, racial outbursts by politicians to self-incriminating comments by CEOs and college deans, hacking by evildoers to nickel-and-dime scams — there’s scarcely a positive word to be found.



Admit it: Doesn’t this make it a little hard to tell relatives that you work in this business? And one wonders: Will people stop using email?

We’re not the only ones thinking about this. Check out the scenario by Lance Ulanoff, posted on Mashable:

“It's the year 2020, three years after the Donald Trump Jr. email debacle that toppled a presidency and changed the way we communicate.

“Around the world, billions of email accounts were shuttered and servers shut down. The communicating world marched en masse to secure platforms like WhatsApp, iMessage, Telegram, and Signal.

“Email is dead.”

Even The New York Times has weighed in with a meditative column by tech writer Farhad Manjoo: 

“If common sense prevails, Mr. Trump’s email thread may serve as the final nail in the coffin of email as the universal office communicator. People in business and politics are already moving on to other methods, from cloud-based business tools like Slack to apps like Signal, which promise the discretion of a spymaster. These tools allow for auto-deletion and encryption; they’re not perfectly secret (nothing is), but they’re a fortress compared with email.”

Of course, it follows that if people aren’t using email, they’re not going to be reading newsletters, promotions and other communications sent by brands. And the brands will move on.

But that is a little melodramatic, and hardly likely. Ulanoff concludes: “Email is very much alive and will remain so for decades if not longer. Email is great for business, newsletters, 12-hour sales codes, and low-key conversations about the day's, week's and month's work. But it's a terrible platform for secrets.”

That’s the point: This is really about how individuals use email.

Common sense dictates you don’t make racial and gender-based comments, say bad things about your boss, urge subordinates to commit criminal acts, discuss your addictions or use profane language. Assume that your emails can be read.

They probably won’t be unless you obtain public prominence. Politicians’ emails are often read, as we have seen. So are those of business executives. But follow the above rules anyway. And adhere to them in social media, too. 

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