Google Docs: For editing, Google Docs has proven invaluable. It's simple, everyone has access to it, and you can't write over each other's changes. (If only Movable Type offered that solution). We love it, but only because Erik Malinowski, our managing editor, created an awesome spreadsheet system for interfacing with SubMishMash.
Google Forms: Ok, this is technically in the Google Docs suite, but I want to call it out separately. This time around, in addition to a broad theme, we've created five specific requests that people can engage with if they want. In one of them, we're trying to solicit some structured data. And if that's what you want from your community, Google Forms is an easy and fast way to get it. The forms take a couple of minutes to build and the data goes straight into a spreadsheet. I've got my complaints with Forms, namely that creating a custom look and feel is too hard, but it's a great tool.
Twitter: If the tools above make the creation of a 48-hour magazine possible, Twitter is what makes it probable. The speed at which our theme and idea can get out to a wide audience is astounding. Instead of trying to buy ads or get media attention, we could simply go straight to our core audience of mediamakers and say, "Hey, dudes, look over here." And they did by the thousands.
Tumblr: One of the most difficult parts of Longshot is shaping the input we get from contributors. Everybody wants to send their best piece in, but taking everyone's best shot is not exactly how you put a magazine together. We have a lens that we're trying to apply to the world. And we're trying to create a coherent reading experience. So, how do we transmit our vision? First, we do it through our personal communications with people and the overall branding of Longshot. But second, we use Tumblr as a sort-of "moodbook" to show people the kind of stuff that we're interested in. We could use any blogging platform, of course, but Tumblr is pretty and easy for us to blog on as a group.
Google+: So, I'm really excited about the possibilities to integrate Google Plus into our operations. There are two things I'm thinking about. One, we have a bunch of satellite offices scattered across the world. We want to bring those people into the Longshot experience as much as possible. While I don't think we're going to leave a camera running in each place, I do think we'll try to gather up a bunch of them to have have a big Hangout with the mothership at Gawker. The other possibility -- and this could be awesome -- is that we might try and do quick focus group testing on prospective covers via Google Hangout. Real magazines pay services to do this. We want to go straight to the people and do it live with our community.
I'm sure our developers, led by Adam Hemphill, are going to use some other interesting stuff. If I can figure out what they're doing while trying to edit this magazine, I'll add their tools to the list, too.