Drumbeat notes #2: topics we might cover

August 25, 2009 § 1 Comment

This is the second in a series of ‘notes’ posts about Mozilla Drumbeat. It rolls in thoughts from people listed at the top of my last post plus Gina, Joi, Asa, Jim, Ronaldo, Sunil and Bruno. Mostly, it focuses on the question: what big Internet topics and issues should Drumbeat tackle?

Spectrum of possible topics

1. There is broad agreement that the framing issue for Drumbeat is ‘protecting the Internet as public commons’ (or ‘public asset’). However, most people also agree that this way too broad a topic to start engaging people around.

2. There is a short list of topics that seem to be in Mozilla’s ‘sweetspot’ -> privacy and security, identity and data, mobile ecosystem, open video, open standards. Mozilla is already working on all of these issues on the product side. Most people agree that this makes them good candidate topics for the broad conversation and consumer engagement planned through Drumbeat.

3. Other issues come up regularly but fall outside of Mozilla’s traditional focus. Examples are net neutrality (network layer) and copyright (content layer). A number of people have suggested we debate whether topics like this are in scope or out of scope.

4. The tough part is narrowing down from these broad topics into very specific concepts that we can build events, campaigns and training materials around.

5. Deciding where to focus and getting more specific will be easier if we have a set of ‘topic selection criteria‘. Possible criteria include:

a. Major issue that will impact the future shape and nature of the web. This is obvious, but still worth stating as the primary criteria.

b. Strong connection to issues product teams working on, but could benefit from more thinking and consumer action. E.g. security is focus in products, but consumer awareness and action could take us further.

c. Not too early, not too late. There needs to be enough awareness that an issue is important, but still early enough we can make an impact. Identity, data and freedom in the cloud feel like good examples here.

-> These are just starting point for discussion. Criteria need to be elaborated quite a bit still.

6. Also need to decide whether to focus Drumbeat narrowly (one major theme issue per year) or more broadly (let ideas and issues bubble up from broad framework above). Talking to people, two major approaches emerge:

Approach A: Start with a number of broad topics like privacy and identity, and then let more focused ideas and campaigns bubble up from the community. Plugged into the framework in my last post, this would mean feeding a number of topics into small events and online community, and then running one or more large events based on the strongest themes and ideas that emerge. Could use ‘ideastorm‘ type approaches for some of the early online and small event conversations.

Approach B: Start by identifying a single yearly theme, dig into it and then push out ideas that people can run with. In this case, we would probably start with the a large annual event on a hot topic (e.g. identity), write up a white paper and other documents, and then use that drive engagement through small local events and our online community.

-> In either case, the topics should be concrete (e.g. security or open video). The decision to be made is whether to start broadly with a number of topics, or to start by picking one yearly topic and drilling down.

7. The ‘hot issues’ are different in different parts of the world. Most of the people I talked to in North America were drawn to some overlapping set of privacy / identity / data in the cloud. People I talked to in India and Brasil focused more on the role mobile will play in shaping the future of the Internet.

More notes planned for coming days. Will focus on digging deeper into each of the three framework elements (local events, big events and online community). Also, I have a bunch of notes on working with existing orgs and communities around the world.

§ One Response to Drumbeat notes #2: topics we might cover

  • When I was reading the post, I was thinking in item 7, problems could be the same in all the world, but there’s could be different times to push with a concept in each country.

    Approach A with some withe papers ready for stewards could be very useful. E.g: Next month there will be a BarCamp in Buenos Aires, and I imagine it could be great help to have some explanations of concepts to start some slides, and I could adapt it to the currents Argentina’s talks about Internet.

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