"Just because a new platform is out there, doesn't mean you need
to be on it," said Tyler Brule, Monocle's editor in chief.
It's perhaps an attitude permissible mostly because Monocle is
such a targeted product, aimed at a relatively small audience of
jet-setting readers or those who aspire to join them. But Mr.
Brule's skeptical view of social media permeates Monocle's
business. The magazine is not present on any social platform, nor
does it employ a social media editor. And, unlike most websites,
you won't find a single social media logo on monocle.com. Your best
bet to keep up with it on Twitter is an unverified account,
seemed to post Monocle stories as they were published... until it
stopped tweeting this summer.
"I would love to see numbers about how many people read the
tweet and then actually go to the main article," said Mr. Brule,
articulating one of a series of reasons he's skeptical about
social. People like news flashes and tickers, he said, arguing that
the main Twitter experience is satisfying enough, and that few
click through to the actual publisher content itself.
When asked whether it was a mistake to forsake engaging
potential readers online, Mr. Brule said he prefers the quality of
in-person engagement with readers. It's like a dinner at a well-set
table, he said, as opposed to trying to speak to an audience in a
"Why break with that?" Mr. Brule asked. "Why distract ourselves
with other things?"
Mr. Brule, for his part, is practicing what he preaches. He
picked up the phone after a dinner in Singapore, in the midst of a
book tour that will hit four continents. "We certainly see that
when you roll into town, it often pays dividends in the
slipstream," Mr. Brule said, noting that at each promotional stop
the magazine sees a surge in subscriptions, newsstand sales and
A rejection of social media, Mr. Bruel said, also helps preserve
the mystique of Monocle's brand. "Being on all the time, I think
there's something a little bit cheap about it," he said. "Being
available all the time, in courtship just like in consumerism is
probably not such a good idea."
Rafat Ali, the founder of PaidContent, business travel website
Skift, and self-professed Monocle "fanboy," said Monocle's approach
can't work for just any publisher. "If you have a robust online
strategy, you cannot not have a robust social strategy." he said.
"You can't exist assuming people will discover you through just
search or maybe email. Social has to be a part of it."
But, Mr. Ali added, "his strategy is working for him, so who are
we to say that he is wrong and we are right?"