Dear Email, a Love Letter

Dear Email,

You have gotten a bad rap. You get destroyed and end a political career.  You get tweeted in an effort to be transparent but instead potentially put a “there” in a “there’s no there, there” narrative.  You can drown some in notifications or serve as a diary for others.  While many hope your death is imminent, I remain devoted.  How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.

  1. You always know when.  You have a handy-dandy date and time stamp that helps shed light on what the drafter was thinking at that precise moment in time.  This stamp is used to create the all-important timeline of events.
  2. You’re easy. With just a few clicks and pounds of my keyboard, you are put in a file that I can search and retrieve later when I need you again.
  3. You’re findable. Even when you are used to document something – as sent only to the drafter – you appear in both an inbox and a sent file folder.  This means you exist at least twice.  When an email is sent or forwarded to numerous people, you exist in even more file folders.  Even when you’re deleted, you go to a deleted file where someone has to take yet another step to truly delete you.  This means it is really hard to completely lose you and completely destroy you.  If I can figure out who got you, I can most likely find you using fancy forensics.
  4. You’re nearly everywhere. Fifty-four percent of the world has at least one email account. (I have three.)  Think about that.  Half of the planet has email.  This means that most understand and use email regularly.  We email our accountants, doctors, lawyers, and friends seeking advice and support.
  5. You’re important. Sometimes, you’re are silly.  Sometimes, you’re dumb.  A lot of the time, you’re amazing evidence.  Just like the stuff people say, the stuff that makes it into email is stunning.  This includes that time that someone quoted Sir Mix-A-Lot in an email to a co-worker, remarking that his “Anaconda don’t want none…”  Uff da, indeed.  (Note, great song, poor context.)
  6. You’re the best. When done right – without opinion or superfluous adjectives – you can save a case.  People believe you, and sometimes, they believe you more than they believe live testimony.

For all of these reasons, I just can’t quit you, email.  You remain one of my top recommendations for documenting performance, discipline, outlandish behavior, awkward conversations, and whatever else befalls HR departments.  I just hope you are done right and don’t need a lot of explaining.

Love, Kate

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