There’s a new software service that allows employees to communicate via a form of e-mail that leaves no electronic trace. Is that a good thing?
By now, everybody’s all too aware that traditional e-mails just don’t go away — even if you’ve deleted them and emptied the trash bin, those pesky missives lurk on company servers. And often, a few ill-chosen words in a forgotten e-mail can come back to haunt an employer in court.
E-mails’ also expensive. It’s estimated that the combined costs of energy, IT staff and storage can run up to about two cents a message.
So now comes VaporStream, a messaging service that describes itself as a form of digital “conversation”. Here’s how it works, according to a company press release:
A VaporStream e-mail conversation does not leave a residual message and vaporizes after it is read. VaporStream e-mails cannot be cc:ed, forwarded, saved or printed so the conversation remains with the respondents and avoids miscommunication since other people don’t see “just one part” of the conversation.
An interesting idea. A few pros and cons occur to us:
- “Vanishing” e-mail could encourage more candid conversations between employees on all levels, eliminating the fear that what they blurt out in a message could come back to haunt them
- VaporStream could save IT costs, and
- The service could help companies avoid the hassles of the e-discovery process — you can’t provide employees’ attorneys with e-mails that no longer exist.
- The lack of the threat of repercussions for rash or inappropriate e-mail statements could lead to, well, a deluge of rash and inappropriate statements — which could mean an increase in workplace conflict
- VaporStream isn’t free; there’s a charge of $7.50 per month per user, and
- Isn’t it possible that use of VaporStream might be construed by a judge as a way to circumvent the e-discovery process?
Tell us what you think: Is this form of e-mail a useful business tool? Sound off in the comments section below.