Wired and Cisco Collaborate on Crowdsourced Tablet Mag

'The Connective' uses real-time data to tell interactive stories

Last month, Wired Insider, Wired's marketing and promotion arm, announced that it would embark on a daunting experiment in magazine-making: Assemble a standalone tablet issue in just two days. (In other words, no one would be leaving the office for a good 48 hours.) The Insider marketers and editors revealed the issue’s theme (“Mass Transmit”) at 3 p.m. April 26, crowdsourced content from Wired readers via email and Twitter, and then, fortified by Red Bull and fare from Wired’s resident chef, turned those articles into a fully interactive tablet magazine, sponsored by Cisco Systems.

Today, that magazine—called “The Connective”—hits digital newsstands. (It's independent of editorial, but will be available for free at Wired.) The issue contains more than a dozen articles submitted by readers on topics ranging from Internet-connected basketballs to a woman who befriended strangers on Words with Friends, as well as four “Dynamic Edit Pieces,” features written by the Wired Insider team that integrate real-time, interactive data, powered by Cisco. (One article uses live conditions to predict traffic patterns in Los Angeles; another assigns musical notes to Twitter hashtags to create a never-ending tune.)

“We literally locked ourselves in a room working on this product for 48 hours straight,” recalled Wired vp, publisher Howard Mittman. “It was an exercise in pushing the limits of digital publishing.” Readers were given constant updates on the process through Wired Insider tweets, Instagrams, and Vines.

The Connective also includes five interactive Cisco ads, created by Goodby Silverstein & Partners. Each ad tells a chapter in the story of a man’s morning to commute to the airport, showing how each item in his daily routine (his pillow, his alarm clock, his car) could be connected to “the Internet of everything” using Cisco technologies. It’s meant to fit in with the company’s new tagline, “Tomorrow starts here,” unveiled last December.

Goodby creative director Jon Rondazzo said the ads were developed specifically with Wired’s readers in mind. “This was a good way to demonstrate [to executives] how Cisco is building connections for their companies and making them more relevant,” he said.