MozFest 2012: Mark Surman on Where Next to Webmaker

Story of Webmaker

4 years ago, where Mozilla has always been clear about its mission. Guard the open nature of the internet. Firefox, for example, was not a browser but a standards play (vs. IE).  The approach was to make a product that people would love to embed a set of value to bring the web platform back.

Can’t just win one thing. What is beyond Firefox? Started a product oriented lab. It came to the idea of FirefoxOS. It’s doing what Firefox did for browsers with mobile. Drumbeat was also set for the more social side in terms of engagement, which came to webmaker.

A platform is not enough to make that writeable web. Need to teach people how to write. Based webmaker on three theories:

  • Best way to get writing is to teach people.
  • Learning is social. Connecting people.
  • Tap into the internet culture.

First part was to build the tools: Thimble, Popcorn Maker. Second part was Summer Code Party which asked people to get together to make and learn (the social side). 650 events in 80+ countries with almost no planning.

What we learned:

  • projects based on popular themes are popular e.g. Thimble lolcat editor (vs. edgecase animals)
  • people have a lot of content online e.g. Popcorn Presidential Attack Ad – by signing in Facebook; Concert video using music and their own pictures
  • Self-identify as educators: Those who want to teach are the first ones to get it. Need to build an army to make a permanent Summer Code Party everywhere.

Existing Popular Ideas to Turn into Starter Projects

  • collaborative scrapbooking
  • viral dubbing
  • wish list from social network putting back out
  • school year book
  • school projects – templates
  • infographics
  • e-cards

Building a Permanent Summer Code Party

  • network on how to build summer code party
  • have more regular ones
  • mentors, ambassadors
  • badges as connectors
  • how to do it without access to web
  • localization

I’ve heard there’s an etherpad with further notes, but no idea what the link is…

Author: Cynthia

Technologist, Librarian, Metadata and Technical Services expert, Educator, Mentor, Web Developer, UXer, Accessibility Advocate, Documentarian

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