The PR world can always find the next big internet thing to get overzealous with | @deborahalbink

“Email is terrible”, says their public relations manager. “It’s no wonder they call this the People’s Republic of Email.”

But as I have borne witness to these wearying gaffes from public relations and similar bodies – the Republican National Committee, German chancellor Angela Merkel, former Tyneside fighter pilot Adam Nimmo – I have noticed that the real explanation for so many politico misfires seems to lie in the use of people who don’t know how to use email.

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So, while an old-fashioned newsletter or a traditional newspaper article, an editorial or a football match review are still slightly useful, whatever came out from the other side this time took me by surprise. The verdict? The Green v United States match should have been stopped because the US team had been served with a rape warrant. The PRs appear to be relying on a mishap of the internet rather than social media, which would appear to be far less forgiving than traditional media or storytelling.

Instead of my techno-plight becoming an awkward national news story, all I saw was a rather precious parable about why reading journalists online is silly, and why I rather enjoy getting what I am getting rather than asking my husband to do it for me.

“The world is changing so fast that if you do not keep abreast of the online world, you will be left behind,” they say. “In 2009, the average person was getting news via a newspaper website, and now, the average person is getting news via an email newsletter.”

I would imagine they will go down in history as the people who, in years to come, will have been able to see into the future and warned us that the age of print was doomed. But first they had to suck in some coal, phone out the IT people, give us a mid-afternoon spell in the bullpen and order us to go home for a week.

Oh, I guess they had to email the referee of the Colorado-Chicago Major League Soccer match at First Security Stadium in Denver. Yup, if a player struck one of their goalkeeper’s posts in the third minute of play, well, that probably still counts as a red card, so get the kettle boiling. It certainly brought some cheers from the crowd, and if you were at the game, you probably didn’t even notice.

Also through the magic of email, people now know who is six months pregnant in the King’s Cross area of London and what the temperature was at Wimbledon on Sunday. A children’s festival in Ecuador was interrupted by the arrival of seven balloons containing 500kg of rice in the Sarejo province. You could make more out of it if you played the computer game Fortnite with the group in charge of the convoy of balloons, but not as much as you would have done if someone had just popped one of them in the middle of the festival’s talks.

“I’m almost positive the U2 single that has been trending worldwide for the past 24 hours is now associated with aid to the Philippines,” declared the Swiss-based website as the love-and-silence charity message lifted its meteor plummet. As if this really is that embarrassing. If, instead, the media wrote about this non-event, then the story of one-fifth of the country whose aid money has not arrived for almost a year would seem to be quite a shameful one.

Before you know it, they’ll be printing pictures of a woman giving birth at the Tomb of the Unknown soldier in London, which might make you think twice about taking the lovely rose buds left by crowds leaving St Paul’s and selling them on. Do we really want to live in a society that prides itself on self-censorship, is obsessed with false news and gives lip service to diversity?

As Brian Eno says, most people don’t like being bombarded with messages in their inbox, and if you give them a reason to click on one at all, then you know you’ve won them over.

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