Drumbeat notes #7: four good ideas

October 2, 2009 § 4 Comments

This is the seventh in a series of notes posts about Mozilla Drumbeat. This one lists out four notable ideas that have popped out of recent Drumbeat conversations. Still need to think about these more, and feed into the scenario process. But wanted to write some notes while fresh. Special thanks on these go to Atul Varma, Chris Messina and Chris Beard.


1. Build community around an ‘engagement ladder’.

People in the online campaigning world talk about engagement ladders — simple stuff / many people at the bottom (e.g. i❤ the web), bigger and deeper stuff for people w/ more passion and commitment further up (e.g. giving Mozilla talks at a local BarCamp). It’s been clear for a long time that Drumbeat needs something like this. However, conversations this week helped articulate a rough framework -> a) aware internet user (probably tied to Firefox brand); b) information seeker (connection to Mozilla brand); c) action taker (feels a sense of belonging to Mozilla community); d) organizer (brings others into community, creates campaigns and events).  This will be helpful w/ the scenario building process.

2. Start w/ a simple newsletter, be a friend and advisor.

The bottom of the engagement ladder could centre around something as simple as an e-newsletter. This would serve ‘information seekers’ by sharing ideas, tips and insights from more experienced Mozilla community members. For example, if Drumbeat year one focused on ‘the open web as platform’, the newsletter could highlight cool new demos or tips on using new open web features on your blog. Or, if we were focusing on things like identity and data, we could do a newsletter that is more focused on trend spotting and where the internet is headed. In either case, newsletters would also include invitations to get more deeply involved (graduating up the engagement ladder).

3. Visualize the web, show that it’s something we’re all building together.

The root ideas we want to communicate with Drumbeat can be pretty abstract. Products, demos and concrete action campaigns are one way past this. Another could be data visualization. Imagine we want to people to feel like they are a part of creating the web — that they are the web, and they are making it better and stewarding it simply by posting content. Visualizations giving a near real time picture of different kinds of content being added to the internet could help make this idea more real for people. Similarly, visualizations of things like number of HTML5 videos or sites using embedded fonts could help us watch the use of open web technologies grow.

4. Use ‘magic ink’ contests and games explain the open web.

Atul Varma recently posted about the open web as ‘magic ink’ — a set of technologies that lets us shape and transform the digital world around us. While the concept is compelling, it’s hard to really understand unless you’ve actually created something yourself on the web. As a way to give many more people this experience, Atul created a simple quest game / tutorial based on using Firebug to change a set of web pages. If they were a little more complex and fun, these kinds of games could be a really good ‘explaining the open web’ tool. Especially if we wanted to target people in high school who are curious about technology and are just deciding what technologies to play with.

§ 4 Responses to Drumbeat notes #7: four good ideas

  • hecker says:

    These are good ideas, comments on two of them:

    Re Mozilla as “friend and advisor”, we would basically be doing a curation function with respect to information sources in a particular space. I.e., people don’t have time to read the original papers, postings, etc., on the web about a particular topics like identity, and if they did they wouldn’t know who to trust and wouldn’t know how to judge competing claims. So we would summarize, put into context, and offer up our judgment.

    Re data visualization, that could be a good tie in with the work on processing.js and Processing for the Web — would provide a lot of good problems to apply that to.

  • Jon Stahl says:

    This is important, fun, thought-provoking stuff. Very interesting challenges in trying to build a policy/behavior change campaigning component around what a community that has mostly been product focused (although admittedly, a product-with-values-on-its-sleeve).

    My US$0.02 — ladder of engagement is a very powerful concept here, also the notion that long-term campaigns need to be composed of a series of escalating mini-campaigns that build passion & enthusiasm along the way.

    Would love to chat more when you get back from Prague.

  • Over on the mozilla-labs-testpilot group Michael O’Hara replied to my post about creating some Test Pilot T-shirts for Second Life with the comment that Math and Stat teachers in high-schools and colleges might be good candidates for the Test Pilot program.

    Test Pilot produces rich raw data sets that are large enough to be interesting for statisticians, but the students in the class can participate in the data collection process as well as doing their own analysis on results.

    Maybe we should think about Test Pilot as a way to bring teachers and students into the fold rather than just as a Labs data collection mechanism.

    I’ll poke around and see if I can get a stat teacher excited about the idea.

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