The candidates in the recent US election campaign exploited online technology to an unprecedented extent. There's a great post on Brian Solis' blog about that and whether the use of technology in the campaigns creates the potential for a two-way conversation with the President.

However, listening to
TWiT during the drive to work this morning, I was fascinated by the debate about whether any President could even use something as basic as email for communication, let alone social media. The assertion on that show seemed to be that the Presidential Records Act automatically leads to any communication from or to the President being captured as part of the public record and potentially subject to discovery processes. Indeed, it seems that President Bush stopped using email upon his entry to the White House for that very reason.

I don't know the US law at all so I'd be interested to here comments from colleagues in the States about the reach of this Act. Is there no distinction made between personal correspondence (to family and friends etc) and the official record of the actions of the office-bearer? Will the President Elect have to give up email unless what he is writing is solely for the purpose of conducting his duties?

EDIT: I've looked at the text of the Act and it does appear to draw a distinction between 'Persidential' and 'personal' records and the
summary on the NARA website makes the point that every effort should be made to keep personal records out of formal record keeping systems. If that distinction exists why is there so much concern that personal correspondence and communication is potentially discoverable?

EDIT: Comments on the same issue from a blogging archivist in the USA who offers some insight.

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