Politico's Ben Smith reports is that Deputy White House counsel Cassandra Butts was the one who laid down the law.
You can understand why people want some precautions taken, but an outright ban seems like a stupid decision taken by uninformed people.
My anger here is not because I'm some kind of tech cheerleader, but because I've seen IM and other communications tool make a huge difference in how organizations perform, and it makes me angry to watch our country's leaders deprived of this simple but effective toolkit when our country most needs them to be at their best.
While some observers note that the ban will make it harder for staffers to maintain contact with the "real world," the real problem is a slowing of communication and collaboration.
IM would help improve productivity in government the same way it has in private enterprise.
Surely there are good reasons for this, right?
So far as I can tell, no.
I understand that people use IM to make much more casual conversation than they do in email, and could open themselves up to being misunderstood. Well, tough. They can learn to be a little more careful.
The other objection to IM is around security and e-discovery. But it seems like White House counsel are living in the days of AOL. Smith reports:
Yeah, it's real hard to "preserve all that communication in real time."
Every single organization now knows it has to preserve IM communications, which is why vendors like Autonomy are doing so well.
Jeez, even AOL Pro can now turn this crazy, complicated trick.