On National Public Radio this morning, I heard a report about business e-mail -- specifically the challenges associated with archiving, retrieving and "producing" electronic communication in the face of lawsuits.
Not only is it incredibly expensive to process this communication -- sometimes it's cheaper to settle out of court than go to the expense of gathering all the documents -- the e-mails often include communications that are personal, unprofessional and-or embarrassing to individuals and their employers.
Anyway, the timing of the report (part of a series) was interesting, not that I've been sued, but because just last evening I noticed that my "sent" folder at work had grown a bit large.
With my job, I receive and send lots of e-mail. Lots and lots of e-mail. Some days, it seems, the process consumes my entire day. (It's not that bad, but close.) Press releases. Requests for coverage. Complaints about a comic strip, a headline or the TV section. Letters to the editor. Op-ed submissions from special-interest groups. And, of course, offers for replica watches and ways to enhance my manhood. And those are the messages that get past our Spam filter.
A good share of the e-mails I receive are legitimate but mis-directed. People don't know who to send items to (or they know, but think that by sending them to the editor they will get better attention). So I click 'forward' and send them on to the proper colleague. That adds to the total in my 'sent' folder. I hold onto them for a while, just to verify what I sent.
Anyway, last evening I noticed that my Sent folder had 4,271 transmissions. I hadn't cleared it out since Labor Day. Ouch.
When I deleted everything from Sept. 5, 2007, through April 30, 2008 -- 240 days -- I cleared 3,244 messages. That figures out to be roughly 13.5 messages a day -- every day, including weekends, vacations, days out of the office, etc., and not including messages sent from home or via Blackberry.
Well, 13.5 messages doesn't sound so bad. Does it? Send me an e-mail and let me know what you think!