MPs and email

It’s August, which is traditionally when the British media turns its attention to inconsequential stories, and the case of one of this year’s new MPs not publishing his email address has surfaced, for example at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-10916309

the risk of annoying everybody I think Mr Raab is wrong not to put his email address on the site – though as he points out parliamentary email addresses follow a standard format so it’s easy to work out what it is.  Even if he prefers to be contacted through an online form, it should be possible to send an email as a fall-back, not least because if all your sent emails go into a sent items then it’s easy to keep track of exactly what you have sent to others.

But I also can’t help feeling that the response of the 38 degrees website and the media is excessive.  Essentially, the decision to use a website form rather than an email address to invite responses seems to be a technical one about how to deal with vast amounts of email.  I get email from various conference organisers, and bizarrely from a dance theatre in Chicago, which might be regarded as borderline Spam but probably originated through somebody having a sincere belief that this might be of interest to them.  Apparently Mr Raab gets emails from numerous pressure groups who aim to include every MP on their circulation list, and I can understand that he might want to keep these separate from emails from his constituents.  A superficial reading of the story would suggest that he doesn’t want to hear from his constituents and/or doesn’t want to use electronic communication, neither of which appears to be true.  If anything, his preference for comments on his blog suggests that he’s working in a web 2 world, and not a web 1 world where everybody relies on email,

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