For this week’s cover on how Wireless technology has changed the world, we asked readers to take pictures with their phones and post them on Instagram with the tag #TIMEwireless. We received 31,429 submissions in just a few weeks, from more than 120 countries and all seven continents (including a few from Antarctica’s McMurdo Station).The cover concept was to create an image that was geographically diverse, as well as varied in its subject matter. In the end, the cover features 288 images – at least one from each of the countries and all 50 states. In order to accomplish this, we worked with OlaPic – a social photo crowdsourcing service – to develop a tool that enabled us to sift through the tens of thousands of images.
It’s not the first time we’ve turned to social media companies for inspiration. In 2008, we worked with Flickr to help illustrate our Person of the Year package on Barack Obama. Over 14 pages, we presented some of the more than 100,000 Obama-related postings. In 2010, we turned to the Facebook community for our cover, which featured more than 1,200 profile pictures.
Stay tuned for future social-media partnering as you too could be featured in an issue of TIME magazine.
— D.W. Pine and Skye Gurney