It’s just past 9 p.m. on Sunday night, and seven pop culture savants are crammed in a windowless conference room in New York's financial district, staring at a collection of screens. They’re toggling between Twitter, Slack, Giphy, Instagram, Google Docs, and a half-dozen entertainment and culture websites, while e-mailing with a team of reporters. They’re typing furiously, cropping images, editing videos, testing out one-liners on one another. Beyond their laptops and desktops are two giant TVs tuned to the Academy Awards.
This is the indefatigable Snapchat team at People, Time Inc.’s most-widely circulated magazine. They have been assigned to manage the magazine’s most important social channel. Unlike People's approach to the rest of the social media universe—accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and others—the People editors treat Snapchat as a sort of younger, quirkier version of the magazine itself, giving the Snapchat operation its own dedicated staff and a slightly goofier voice. People’s Snapchat editions appear each morning on Snapchat Discover, a section of the app carved out for a lucky few news organizations. The Snapchat editions on Discover disappear after 24 hours.