Crisper Drumbeat messaging. Feedback?

May 18, 2010 § 12 Comments

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 better and crisper. These result is a simple set of key messages that explain Drumbeat and why it matters. We’ll use these to write site copy, update our slide decks and drive our upcoming social media campaign.

I’ve pulled the current version from the wiki and pasted below. It’s very close to final — we’re turning it into new web site copy as we speak. Feedback and tweaks welcome. As always, we’ll iterate.

Drumbeat is about keeping the web open.

  • We’re building a movement. We want to keep the web open for the next 100 years.
  • Where to start? Everyday web users making and doing things that help the open web.
  • Drumbeat’s role: host projects and events that gather smart, creative people around big ideas.

We all benefit from the open web.

  • It’s the most powerful communication tool in the history of humanity.
  • The nervous system of trade, education, governance, activism, and play.
  • Lets a single idea achieve global impact.
  • All without needing someone else’s approval or permission.
  • Open = ( Participatory +Transparent + Decentralized + Generative)

But we can’t take the freedom of the web for granted.

  • There are many who would neuter or control the web we have built.
  • Imagine an internet filled with devices you can’t tinker with and walled gardens.
  • What’s at risk? Privacy. Access. The freedom to create and innovate.

We need to protect it. Improve it. Grow it.

  • We helped keep the web open when 20,000 of us built Firefox.
  • And we’ve been continuing that work ever since.
  • It’s what we do. It’s all we do. And we’re known to do it well.

Drumbeat = your chance to keep the web open and free.

  • A chance for the rest of us to get involved.
  • A global community of smart, creative, everyday people who actually make and do things that attack problems, power big ideas, and build the open web.
  • Who? Teachers. Lawyers. Artists. Bankers. Plumbers. Anyone who uses and loves the internet.

You can get involved online or face-to-face.

  • We’ve planted a flag. A place to gather and collaborate.
  • Start a project, or join one that’s already rolling.
  • If your project gets traction, we’ll shout from the top of the mountain about it. We may even fund it.
  • Go to an event in your city. Work on a project with neighbors, or just paint a picture of what you want the web to look like in 100 years.
  • It’s all about lending your skills and creativity to the cause of the open web.

For those who are interested: the text above was very much fueled by community input. Major sources of input included comments my Drumbeat messaging post from a few weeks back plus a key messages thread in the Drumbeat newsgroup. Kudos go to Dharmishta Rood and Geoff MacDougall for pulling all these ideas together.

§ 12 Responses to Crisper Drumbeat messaging. Feedback?

  • These are a lot clearer than the last set. I love it. The way you have split these key pints up (seeming to have come from a single paragraph) would also make for a great presentation. This is great as it means that by doing a drumbeat presentation will not only be easier, but you can follow these key points and promote the message not only directly but also indirectly😀

  • mawrya says:

    I think I’m starting to understand. Drumbeat is some people at Mozilla that have been given money to “build a movement” to “keep the web open” by “hosting projects and events that gather smart, creative people around big ideas.”

    What you mean by “host projects and events” is still somewhat vague. Can you define the words “host”, “projects”, and “events” as used in this context? Here is what I mean…

    From the previous post I thought this was just about software projects but it sounds like it includes ANY type of project/event – works of art, rallies, concerts, marathons, software development, etc. If the event/project promotes the open web it is, by definition, a drumbeat project. Is that right?

    By “host” it sounds like you might pay for, at least in part someone’s proposed project/event, or you will at least provide advertising services – “shout from the top of the mountain about it”. Is that what you mean?

    Some concrete examples would go a long way. You mention:
    1. “Go to an event in your city.”
    2. “Work on a project with neighbors”
    3. “Paint a picture of what you want the web to look like in 100 years.”

    Number three is concrete, good. Number two is kind of vague; can you give an example of a project someone might work on with their plumber and teacher neighbours? Number one is kind of vague too; what “event” might I go to? Is Mozilla hosting some sort of promotional event in my city?

    Like some folks pointed out in the last post’s comments, it would be good to clarify the problem Drumbeat is trying to solve: the threat of the web becoming proprietary. I highly doubt my plumber and teacher neighbours perceive this threat in the least, even I don’t feel too threatened at this time. It looks like all the big players are rallying around HTML5, so things look good for the open web from my standpoint.

    Lastly, why not explain Drumbeat with a comic strip? Illustrate someone explaining Drumbeat to someone else. That will force you to keep it concise, make it entertaining to read, and give it that sense of community interaction you are after.

  • msurman says:

    Mawrya: helpful.

    Some of your questions sparked edits (see the wiki version: Mostly trying to make it clear that we’re trying to spark a movement around this — and that the things Drumbeat can contribute are meant as fuel on the fire.

    On examples and project specifics, agreed but won’t do in this doc. You can already see some early projects on (new and better interview to see what’s good coming next week). These are still babies. But you can hopefully get the idea.

    Also, separate key messaging doc explaining project structure coming in next day or so. Watch the wiki.

  • Jon Phillips says:

    Why only a 100 years? We should aim for keeping the web open forever! I think they look good. I think it should be whittled down to 3 points: Keep the Web Open with Commits. Share Projects here. Sustain and grow projects here.


  • John Slater says:

    Good stuff!

    I may be misunderstanding the target audience, but I think it would be helpful to explain what “keeping the web open” and the “open web” really mean. Those terms are very understandable to those of us in the Mozilla community, but if you’re looking to broaden types of participants I think that needs to be explained better.

    It’s a very powerful concept once it’s communicated, and it’s very relevant with all the current talk about Facebook privacy, Apple & Adobe sniping at each other, etc. But, it does need to be explained first.

    I think a key part of that is getting people to start thinking of the web as a shared public resource that we can all have a role in protecting. Once people realize that the freedom of the web isn’t something to take for granted (and I think most do take it for granted) then the whole concept starts to make a lot more sense.

    Granted, explaining all this concisely isn’t the easiest thing in the world but if you can do that and then communicate how Drumbeat fits in I think it will be really powerful.

  • Here’s the heart of it:

    Open = ( Participatory +Transparent + Decentralized + Generative)

    You’ve got the makings of a great campaign here…for people who know and care about the idea of the “open web”. Which most people don’t.

    So let’s unpack that Participatory + Transparent + Decentralized + Generative. Let’s get the stories that convey what is at stake: the stories about wonderful ideas, art, conversations, friendship, social change that have happened because the web IS open. Stories that convey what we’d lose if the web were’t open. And stories that make a compelling case that the threat is immediate and tangible.

    How about a challenge of some sort — a challenge to explain what the open web is about? or to collect stories about how it matters?

    • OK, my husband points out that the thing I pointed him to last week — the Open Web presentation challenge — is EXACTLY what I’m suggesting you do here. Holy short attention span!

      Anyhow, the presentation challenge should be really helpful — but it needs to be incorporated into your messaging here. You need to start from the what the open web is and then build your messaging out from there.

  • Helen Turvey says:

    I agree with some of the comments above – it is much crisper – and I love the punchy wording and flow.

    I also agree that there needs to be a ‘what does the open web mean’ statement to start with. From this, it is not clear as to why I should care as a teacher, doctor, lawyer, or someone who loves the internet.

    You hint at it with the benefits part – but my preference would be to make it a lot more specific. I don;t particularly advocate scaremongering, but briefly touching on the threats, who they come from and how real they are would make me (and teachers, lawyers etc…) sit up and listen.

    Minor nitpicky point: >> A chance for the rest of us to get involved. The word ‘us’ feels wrong here – you talk about ‘we’, then ‘us’ – perhaps a chance for ‘everyone’ to get involved.

    All in all, impressed with the sharper messaging.

  • Ben Moskowitz says:

    It’s pretty sharp. I agree with the suggestions of presenting this stuff graphically; comic strips, Surman-style marker drawings, logos…

    The big problem with early Drumbeat messaging was that we communicated values, but not what Drumbeat actually IS. But something seems to have happened in the past few weeks.


    is starting to return a consistent answer, which is “a community.” The website, the grant program, the Mozilla leadership, are now beginning to look like parts that service the community, and not the other way around. I think that’s key!



  • Dharmishta says:

    We’ve taken a lot of your suggestions to heart and changed a few things on the Drumbeat about page for the better.

    You can check them out:

    or follow along the key messages on the wiki that Mark mentioned.

    A few notable changes:
    @mawrya we changed “Drumbeat is about” to “Drumbeat is” and tried to cut straight to the chase of people, projects, events, excitement and of course the open web. We’ve also hyperlinked the “events” and “projects” rather than adding descriptors to them, so people can see firsthand what we mean.

    @Helen Turvey, Alexandra Samuel, Jon Slater and mawrya I’m in the process of writing a “what is the open web” page to clarify this for people who want to know further, without bogging down new users with the *details*(it’s not up on the wiki yet — will post a link here when it’s ready for community review…)

    @Ben Moskowitz and mawrya re: illustrator–we’ve definitely considered it but don’t have the bandwidth/time before the *soon* launch. It’s been in the back of our minds as an option down the line so thx for the feedback!

  • Atul says:

    The new key messaging is a huge improvement over the previous… I especially like how it doesn’t include “making things, not just talking” b/c that actively downplays the value of talking and excludes it–while the new messaging is very pro-“doing and making” without being anti-talking.

    (If we were actually anti-talking, we wouldn’t be spending so much time on fine-tuning our messaging, would we? :P)

    About the only suggestion I can make right now is that I still have a knee-jerk response of disliking the word “user”, which may or may not be justifiable at this point. Was thinking maybe substituting “web surfer” in for “web user” but maybe surfer is too 1990’s. Anyways, the rest of the messaging is strong enough now that I don’t think it’s a big deal either way.

    Great work!

  • Shappy says:

    Agree with Atul that this is much smoother than the earlier versions. I like the clear call to action at the end.

    One suggestion (that may have already been captured above) would be to better define what an open web entails. It’s not something most people know or understand without a bit of additional context and since the word “open” is ubiquitous, it’ll help explain what Mozilla means by open and why it matters.

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