New Drumbeat blurb, needs feedback

April 16, 2010 § 14 Comments

This week I’ve been recrafting the basic messaging for Mozilla Drumbeat. What I’ve written is short and simple, without much detail. I believe this is what we need for people new to Drumbeat.

It would be help to get feedback at this point. My main question: does this effectively explain Mozilla and Drumbeat to a sympathetic but uninformed audience? Here’s the text:

Mozilla is about to launch Drumbeat: an invitation to everyday internet users to help keep the web open. For 2010, Mozilla has committed $500k to Drumbeat Open Web Fund to support social entrepreneurs whose initiatives grow and protect internet freedom. We will also organize Drumbeat events in cities worldwide and provide a project and event platform organizing at

Why Drumbeat?

Will the internet still be open in 50 years? The web is healthy now, providing raw material for new kinds of innovation, creativity, wealth and democracy. Yet there are many who see this as a threat, and would neuter or dumb down the net. The Mozilla community believes we can — and must – keep the web open. That’s why we   build Firefox. It’s also why we’re starting Drumbeat, an invitation to teachers, artists, lawyers, filmmakers and other everyday internet users to do things that will make the web better, and keep it open for the long haul.

What are your goals?

Ultimately, our goal is a strong, safe open internet: an internet built and backed by a massive global community committed to the idea that everyone should all be able to freely create, innovate and express ideas online without asking permission from others. In order to help this movement grow, Mozilla Drumbeat will:

  • Back social entrepreneurs who are making things — movies, courses, websites, art, etc. — that encourage huge numbers of people to actively participate in building a better internet.
  • Find and nurture thousands of local community leaders who will invite people in their cities to participate in practical, hands on open web projects and events.
  • Create a compelling and diverse narrative about the open web that motivates millions of people around the world to get involved in the cause of keeping the internet open for the long haul.

Of course, we will do these things in the same way we make Firefox — using an open, participatory and global approach to build things that simultaneously make the web stronger and delight the people who use them.

How will it work?

Our first objective is to develop new ways for everyday internet users to participate in building a better internet. We believe hands on, participatory web projects are the best place to start. We’ll back the best of these projects with modest seed funding and help recruit contributors through local events. Here is an overview:

We began experiments with this model in early 2010. Innovative open web projects and vibrant local events are already starting to roll.

Why Mozilla?

Mozilla is a global community of people building things that make the internet better, and more open. We believe that innovation, openness and participation are essential elements of the web.

The Mozilla community’s greatest achievement is the creation of the open source Firefox web browser. Introduced in 2004, Firefox has played a major role in ensuring the web has remained open, safe and based on tech standards that allow anyone to create and innovate online without asking for permission. Firefox is developed and translated into over 70 languages by a community of approximately 20,000 volunteers and 250 paid staff. It is used by 350 million people around the world: a quarter of everyone who uses the internet.

Building on the Firefox experience, we believe that even more people can – and must – get involved in the cause of keeping the internet open. Artists, lawyers, teachers, filmmakers, anyone who cares about the future of the internet – these people have skills and creativity that can help make the open web stronger in very concrete ways. We’re starting Drumbeat to make this kind of participation possible, and easy.

Mozilla Foundation is a global public benefit organization that supports the work of the Mozilla community. Headquartered in Mountain View, CA, Mozilla also has offices in Auckland, Beijing, Paris, Tokyo, Toronto and Vancouver

As context: I’ve written this text as part of a Drumbeat introduction for other foundations. I suspect we’ll use some version of it on and elsewhere. So, feedback is very important at this point. Post comments below. Tough love encouraged.

§ 14 Responses to New Drumbeat blurb, needs feedback

  • goofy says:

    Sorry for trivial note:
    Yet there many who see
    > Yet there are many who see

  • Glenn Randers-Pehrson says:

    >The Mozilla community’s greatest achievement

    >is the creation of the open source Firefox
    >web browser.

    Maybe reword this somehow to say that it was the creation of open source browser technology,
    upon which we built the open source Firefox web browser, and upon which we and others have built
    other applications.


  • drew says:

    “Will the internet still be open in 50 years?” That’s the hook, but I didn’t make it there because I fell asleep reading the first paragraph, the What and How summary, which are already explained further in.

    • msurman says:

      Good point, Drew. Maybe just keep first sentence of intro? Or start right away w/ 50 years? (which I stole from Lilly, btw)

  • H. Moltke says:

    Great post, Mark. So, the journalist would think a short paragraph in the beginning could help make it even clearer for lazy journalists and others who don’t make it to the end 🙂
    (1) The goal of Drumbeat is to strengthen and protect internet freedom by (2) providing seed funding for web-based projects that do this (3), by organising local events and building local communities, and (4) by creating massive online collaboration between individuals sharing the belief that everyone should all be able to create, innovate and express ideas freely, without asking permission from others.

    or something like that. I’m not the writer here 😉 So, the shortest one-liner possible at the top, and then expand below? Does that make any sense?

    • msurman says:

      Yes, makes total sense. That’s what I was aiming for — good exec summary paragraph and catchy headline. Didn’t get there in this version as did quickly after writing the rest of it. You’re 4 points are a good start. Could combine w/ some nice turns of phrase from body text. Want to take a shot at it??

  • Joe says:

    FWIW, I’ve been following this blog for a bit, and this is the clearest thing I’ve read about Drumbeat yet.

    Still would love to see more in terms of concrete examples — x is a Drumbeat project because it does y.

    I think many of us out here know more or less who Mozilla is, so I could see that section being trimmed a bit.

  • Jake Munson says:

    To expand on Joe’s comment, I think it would be helpful to give an example of “Yet there are many who see this as a threat, and would neuter or dumb down the net.” I would not suggest citing a specific incident, but rather using a fictitious example that may or may not be based on real events.

    The reason I suggest this is because after reading this, I still found myself asking “Why should I care to participate?” Personally, I /am/ informed about the events that are happening all over the world to curtail free speech on the Internet, but people who aren’t aware of these things might be uninspired without a concrete example.

  • mawrya says:

    I’ve never understood exactly what drumbeat is, and reading the first sentence: “an invitation to everyday internet users to help keep the web open”, I was still clueless and my eyes started to glass over.

    It’s not a piece of software, I get that, it’s an “invitation”, but that is very vague. Can you compare drumbeat to something people are familiar with? It kind of sounds like Google’s Summer of Code, except that you do the work first and compete for prize money – is that what drumbeat is? It sounds like you want developers to build all kinds of things that promote the open web and socially involve thousands of people – things like Wikipedia, for example? Can you give some examples of existing web sites/projects that exemplify the sort of thing drumbeat is trying to encourage?

  • […] Drumbeat messaging. Feedback? May 18, 2010 A few weeks back, I posted an updated Drumbeat description. People said it was good, but not good enough. We’ve pushed hard to come up with something […]

  • […] system is susceptible to corruption are besides the point. As Mark Surman mentions in a draft of Drumbeat’s mission statement: Ultimately, our goal is a strong, safe open internet: an internet built and backed by a massive […]

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