Like every good (and bad) revolution before it, the Email revolution is fading. Not that we won’t be using email anymore… just the opposite. Email has become so routine and essential to our daily lives and business that it is no longer revolutionary. It’s ordinary.
Just a decade ago, when I wanted to send a written message I typed away in my handy fax template before making the rounds past the printer and then fax machine. I don’t even know where the office fax machine is located anymore. Now, its seems everything is done via email. Even the friendly phone doesn’t ring as much (and I hope I don’t lose it too).
This shift to email hasn’t been unnoticed by the legal and regulatory folks either, those honest blokes who battle for and against us in the halls of justice and create regulations with official sounding names like Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, Gramm-Leach-Bliley, SEC, FINRA, FRCP (and I’m sure their are dozens more).
Which brings us to the point of all this. Email is now by-and-large considered as likely to be a corporate “record” as any other form of written word. As records managers know, a “record” is defined by content and purpose, not file type. So, it doesn’t matter if you don’t save it, if you delete it, or if you just pretend it never happened… if an email was sent to you or you sent it to someone else, it could be considered by someone as a “record”. For more on this topic, check out our page on records management.