So what did you do last weekend? Probably not what a team of San Francisco writers, editors, and magazine lovers did, which was to see if they could create a magazine in 48 hours -from content to editing, design, production, and shipping. The idea started as an experiment to see if it was possible, and to address the antiquated system of magazine production. Quickly word spread and snowballed into an online circus of fans of magazines who said such an experiment had to be tried.

The main editors, including Mat Honan, Alexis Madrigal, Derek Powazek, Heather Champ, Dylan Fareed, Sarah Rich, and Joe Brown, plowed through thousands of submissions including stories, images, and illustrations for their aptly named “Issue Zero” with the theme of “Hustle.” The project included 6,000 people who signed up from various social media outlets from Twitter, Blogs, UStream, and Facebook pages from the team of originators, including some 1,502 potential contributors.

Using modern media tools, including InDesign for layout and MagCloud, which allows you to print-on-demand, the editors redefined the old-school way of printing in many ways. The most obvious was the lack for the need for advertising: Usually, ads need to be sold to determine how many editorial pages a magazine can have in any particular volume, but because it’s print-on-demand, thanks to MagCloud, they only needed to print as many as were ordered.

And to pay contributors, a percentage of those sold are recycled back to paying for production, which entices contributors and production people to promote the magazine as well.

Overall, the project turned into a viral phenomenon, which the editors also recorded and will release on YouTube soon. Meanwhile, feel free to order up your 48 Magazine at MagCloud, and check out this amazing interview on Gizmodo of how it was all done, and what the editors of 48 Hours plan to do next.