Drumbeat: what will we do in year one?

Since I posted last, year one plans for Drumbeat have gotten even more solid. We’ve updated the way we’re describing Drumbeat and agreed on a set of initial goals. Also, a slate of ‘bootstrap projects’ is taking shape and early work on some of them has begun. Based on the updated year one plan I posted on the wiki last week, I’ve pulled out some highlights for people who are tracking Drumbeat but don’t want all the details.

What is Drumbeat?

We continue to refine the language we’re using to describe ‘drumbeat in a nutshell‘. This is the version from last week:

Mozilla Drumbeat is global community of people creating tools that enable internet users to understand, participate and take control of their online lives. Drumbeat provides an opportunity for these people to share project ideas — and finds contributors, funds and advice that help the most promising projects succeed. Mozilla also directly leads a number of Drumbeat projects of its own.

While this language feels pretty clear and solid, we’ll likely iterate at least one more time.

What will you do in year one?

Short answer: pick a number of ‘bootstrap projects’ to get us rolling, and then use these to attract community members and more project ideas. More formally, we’ve agreed on three simple year one goals:

  1. Build and energize the Mozilla Drumbeat community.
  2. Find and set up projects that excite us. Mostly from people we don’t know yet.
  3. Establish Drumbeat events as places where there the future of the open internet is being invented.

The idea is to build momentum quickly while at the same time testing our thinking about Drumbeat. You can see basic metrics associated with each goal on the planning wiki.

What projects and topics will you focus on?

The most critical goal for year one is ‘find projects that excite us’. We’ll bootstrap this process by starting work right away on a few projects suggested during the initial planning process — and that illustrate the Drumbeat concept. Examples:

  1. Simple privacy icon design challenge. Engaging design, law students and regular web users to accelerate the development of icons that make privacy policies easier to understand. confirmed
  2. P2P University and Open Web Tech: work with P2P university to establish courses where people teach each other open web tech as an alternative or supplement to mainstream tech certification. still exploring
  3. ‘Visualizing the open internet’ challenge. Engaging artists and web developers to create data visualizations that ‘show what the internet looks like’ using new open web technologies (e.g. processing.js). still exploring
  4. ‘Fair Mobile’ index, like the Economist’s ‘Big Mac Index’ comparing purchasing power, but focused on comparing mobile markets for fairness and openness. still exploring
  5. Drumbeat Presentation Challenge. Give a 5 minute talk on one of two topics — Your Open Web Idea or the Ultimate Open Web Presentation — and then upload to the Drumbeat website. This is a project in its own right, and also way to get people and ideas into Drumbeat early on. confirmed

There is a full list of possible bootstrap projects on the wiki. More importantly, we’re developing a process whereby anyone can propose and build a community around a project using the Drumbeat website. Over time, this will become central to how we find and support new Drumbeat ideas.

With all of this, we effectively kicked off Drumbeat ‘year one’ last week — with the idea that it runs until the end of 2010. We’re actively working on at least two of the bootstrap projects and are vetting others. And website development work is well underway  (will blog on this separately).

We definitely need alot more help as we move ahead with all this. If you want to get involved or just have feedback, please comment on this post, or join us in the Drumbeat discussion forum or on the weekly Drumbeat call.


  1. Mike Beltzner replied on | Reply

    Is there a funnel for proposing new ideas, or is that here/newsgroups? I like the idea of an “I Own This” program which allows users to express the fact that they should have ownership over the content that they create.

  2. Paul Booker replied on | Reply

    Exciting times!

    Two ideas for official Drumbeat projects might be to provide open alternatives to the likes of Twitter & Facebook.

    There are open social networking platforms such as StatusNet & Elgg that offer viable alternatives to closed systems like Twitter & Facebook that could be taken up and promoted by Drumbeat as open alternatives for it community.

    For example we could launch an invite only microblogging platform based on StatusNet where Drumbeat users can communicate in a Twitter like environment. All users if they wish could forward their StatusNet posts over to Twitter.

    Best, Paul

  3. msurman replied on | Reply

    Beltzner: the site will have a funnel for ideastorming like you describe, but not til January. In the meantime, post here:


    … or in the newsgroup. Or, just explain here and we can copy over to the wiki for you.

    Re: I Own This -> that reminds me that there were a bunch of project ideas from Prague that didn’t get ported over onto the list we’re now actively tracking. Will get Eaves etc. to do this.

  4. msurman replied on | Reply

    Paul: are you proposing this as a web collaboration tool for the Drumbeat community to use? Or as a ‘drumbeat project’ -> which would be something aimed at a much broader group, and typically something other than a software or tech project?

    1. Paul Booker replied on | Reply

      Mark: As a web collaboration tool for the Drumbeat community.

      Thinking it over …

  5. Gerv replied on | Reply

    The “nutshell” currently feels too much like it’s a software development umbrella – “creating tools” makes it sound like that. “making a better Internet” or something more general allows Drumbeat to encompass advocacy and publicity programs (which I think it should).

  6. msurman replied on | Reply

    Gerv: good point, and probably the biggest difficulty we’re having writing ‘drumbeat in a nutshell’. We want a few words that say ‘beyond product and software’ but ‘more concrete that just advocacy and talking’. We tried ‘technical and conceptual tools’ but it was awkward and not quite right. I think the CC-like privacy icons are best example of what we mean. But a short phrase isn’t easy. Suggestions welcome.

  7. Atul replied on | Reply

    Here’s one possible alternative to the first sentence of the nutshell:

    “Mozilla Drumbeat is global community of activists creating tools that enable people to understand, participate and take control of their online lives.”

    I changed the word “people” to “activists” because activism is the word I most immediately associate with Drumbeat, and also one I associate with notions like advocacy and talking.

    I also replaced “internet users” with “people”: firstly, it’s assumed that anyone with an online life *is* an internet user, and secondly, I really dislike the word “user” because I associate with it notions of addiction (I think Sherry Turkle has a pretty good explanation of this in Life on the Screen). “user” is also a techie term that makes me assume the “tools” being created here are software.

    I think the above two changes contextualize the word “tools” in a different way, though, such that they imply something more broad than just software.

  8. Paul Booker replied on | Reply

    I too feel the word activist is good choice here. The idea that the Drumbeat community is involved in “creating tools ..” may be unclear or misleading.

    Here is my inspired attempt ..

    “Mozilla Drumbeat is global community of activists that are making a stand on the issues that affect the peoples internet”

  9. http://www.michaelnoblebankruptcylaw.net replied on | Reply

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