The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

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Their hair is clean; their shoes are on

Lois Beckett’s narrative of her experience helping to create 48 Hour Magazine last weekend is just absolutely A+ great. Really fun and funny:

The documentary film crew shows up.

This is not totally crazy. The 48 Hour project is a Twitter sensation. More than 6,000 people signed up to potentially contribute to the magazine’s first issue, some from as far away as Brazil, Rwanda, and Japan. The project had been covered that day by the L.A. Times and the Wall Street Journal.

But when the filmmakers arrive to document the drama and the glory, they find a handful of people working quietly around a conference table.

Their hair is clean. Their shoes are on. They are not visibly intoxicated.

The film crew retreats to an empty conference room to regroup

Love it. Of course, I also love the magazine itself, which I’ve ordered. You should, too! (There’s a short piece of work from Robin Sloan waiting for you on the very last page.)


You know, I’ve participated in the “many submissions, many rejections” publication world for so long that I don’t really want to spend much time criticizing that aspect of the magazine. But at the same time, there are nearly 6,000 people whose experience with the magazine was “I sent something in, and then on Monday I found out I didn’t get in when I looked at the contributor’s list.”

Is there a way to make a project like this genuinely participatory for that mass of people who wanted to contribute, and not just for the intrepid editors and the large handful of people whose work got in? I’m not saying I want a 6,000 page magazine. But maybe a hundred 48 Hour magazines? Maybe ask that everyone who wants to contribute be willing to be an editor and assign groups to create a variety of magazines?

Maybe this is all snark because I didn’t get in, but as cool a product as issue zero is, doesn’t the editorial model feel very 1.0?

I totally agree with you, and I think the answer is: yes, there is a way to make this cool & interesting & useful for everybody who submits, not just the people who make it into the mag. Not sure what it is yet! But I think it’s an interesting & important design challenge — and a totally solve-able one.

Is there a way to develop the website to include more of the submissions — postings of the nearly-made-its, the made-me-laugh-stuff-out-my-noses, the totally-didn’t-fit-but-awesomes? Something more interactive the contributors and readers can get involved in?

The weekend was a really exciting collaborative endeavor, but it did leave the contributors who didn’t get in feeling like they fell off the party train. It’d be nice to tie a caboose on that.

Oh-oh! Like next time, post all the submissions (like the ashcloud tales) and let readers vote and rank the top pieces. Then pull from that to put together the magazine layout. Get a magazine where web feedback influences what gets printed. You’d get a more diverse power base, it would save the editors reading all 1500 submissions but they’d still have the challenge of trying to make something cohesive. And real-time feedback for the contributors, seeing how they place rather than just the Monday morning in-or-out. Could be cool…

Okay, if there were only 1500 submissions, then there are more than 1400 people with described experience, not nearly 6000. Point remains.

The snarkmatrix awaits you

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