Update 10/9/14: We've found our Ello poster. You can learn more about him here.
Ello, a relatively new social media network and the latest to promise a sanctified, commercial-free space to brag and/or moan about your life, has only been around for four months. While the explicit promise of Ello is that it will be free of advertising, plenty of brands have already stampeded onto the site.
Including (ahem), The Atlantic.
As of twelve days ago, The Atlantic has been sharing stories on the new platform. The only problem with all this is that we're not sure who is running our Ello account. While our Facebook and Twitter accounts are safely in the hands of editors, The Atlantic's Ello is currently being run by parties unknown.
Not that we're upset about it! Whoever is running the account is doing a bang-up job. They're using great art, the copy in the Ello posts is clean and engaging, and there's a good mix of stories showing the range of what we do here every day.
While we attempt to sort out who exactly is doing free work for us (there are rumors, as yet unconfirmed, that it's Kevin in accounting—we'll report more when we know more), it's a good reminder of a couple of unalterable laws about social media networks.
Firstly, brands—whether they be media organizations like us or more commerce-focused like Sonos—will always stampede towards the Next New Network. Most companies (including ours) now pay people to focus entirely on social media, whether in-house or through a variety of third-party firms. The dirty secret of social media work, though, is that it often doesn't take up a lot of time, the metrics (pageviews, sales conversions, newsletter sign-ups, et cetera) are squishy, and many social media managers are under the gun to prove to execs that they are worth whatever the organization is paying them. One of the easiest ways to prove your worth is getting your organization on a shiny new platform. Attract or buy a few thousand followers and you have a lovely graph to show off to the bosses. (If you go from zero followers to one, you've literally increased your brand reach by infinity percent. Great job!)