Condé Nast, with its famous editors and fabled perks, lost a lot of its pizzazz in the recession.
The interest lifted this week, if temporarily, with @CondeElevator, an anonymous Twitter feed that captured the real or imagined elevator chitchat of company employees as they rode between floors of 4 Times Square that houses Vogue, GQ, and The New Yorker. The feed immediately went viral as gawkers signed on to read titillating tweets that captured the infamous New York publishing company's culture, like this one:
Girl #1: There should be an elevator that only goes to Vogue. Just up to the 12th floor and back down. Girl #2: totally.
News coverage led to speculation about who was behind the feed. A copycat, @HearstElevatorz, soon followed.
Then, as quickly as the fun started, it stopped. Five days and 36 tweets later, the author of @CondeElevator shut it down with a brief message that read, “This got really crazy. Love my job. Better stop. #sorry.”
That’s too bad, and not just for the rest of us. Condé Nast took more than a few knocks for being slow to jump on the Web. But the satirical feed amassed 60,003 followers in its short lifespan (Hearst may be the golden child of publishing of late, but copycat feed @HearstElevatorz collected just 403).
Even Condé Nast seemed to warm to it; a spokesperson for the company initially struck a sinister tone, saying the publisher was “looking into it,” but then said it was “flattered” by the interest people were showing in the company. Especially as the company tries to refocus its efforts digitally, it would have done well to embrace the spotlight.