In this blog I will do a brief overview of the Mozilla Foundation and its online presence via social media, along with what amounts to the Foundations’ “branding.”
If you aren’t familiar with the Foundation, allow me to outline their activities, as according to their history page:
- 1998: The Mozilla Project launches Netscape
- Mozilla re-brands into a non-profit organization to produce Firefox and similar applications in an effort to keep the web open
- 2004: 10k contributors supported MOzilla by buying a full page add for Firefox 1.0 in the New York Times
- Mozilla diversifies into various other markets, promoting open development and policy.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the products of the Mozilla Foundation, taken from the wikipedia page:
- Mozilla Firefox — Desktop Web Browser (with a mobile version)
- Mozilla Thunderbird — Email and news client
- Bugzilla — online bug tracker
- Rust — Programming language
Obviously the most popular of these things is Mozilla Firefox–many people are unaware that Mozilla is also a strong scientific organization and a proponent for the free and open web. Unfortunately most people are largely unawares of these sides of the Foundation.
Out of these applications only Firefox is popular enough to have a mobile app variant, available on both iOS and Android mobile operating systems. This is rather critical since Firefox’s primary competitor–Google Chrome–is popular on Android largely because of its ability to integrate with the desktop browser.
What’s interesting is that in more recent years Mozilla has made a shift away from merely being the developers of a free and open browser and instead have been shifting towards being a hub for various technical communities–developers and scientists, especially, though they’ve also been working to incorporate activists and policy makers in an effort to promote the open web. Indeed, their contribute page details some of the many ways Mozilla works with people–both employees and volunteers–to co-ordinate efforts across the world for various causes.
This is relevant largely because of the impact this has on Mozilla’s branding. No longer are they just a relatively small group of developers but they’re an entire community of people promoting collaboration and openness–Being a “Mozillian” has meaning beyond just being involved with the organization of Mozilla, it has connotations of activism, integrity and openness. That is the essence of branding, when the name takes on an identity that people willingly adopt.
So, on to an overview of the Foundations’ branding and social media presence.
Somewhat obviously the Mozilla Foundation and all of its subsideraies brand themselves under the name ‘Mozilla,’ i.e. “Mozilla Corporation,” “Mozilla Science Lab,” etc. Most of the applications developed by the Foundation or its subsidearies take on the naming format of “Element-Animal”: Firefox, Thunderbird, Seamonkey, at least for the public-facing ‘frontend’ applications. Most of the backend processes are named after animals: Gecko, SpiderMonkey, Rhino, Bugzilla.
Interestingly, the Foundation has an entire page dedicated to the branding of Firefox itself, which is an interesting commentary on the iconography of all of the other Mozilla apps:
In general, Mozilla’s logos involve the creature of the application’s name wrapped around something symbolizing the app’s functionality; Firefox is wrapped around an infosphere embodying the World Wide Web, Thunderbird around an enevlope, typically symbolic of email. The Seamonkey suite is old enough to not quite conform to these norms.
As a prominent advocate for the open web Mozilla runs several social media accounts to co-ordinate its online presence:
- Mozilla Foundation
- Mozilla Science Lab
- Mozilla Firefox
Mozilla uses these accounts to introduce people to their products and to educate them on Mozilla’s interests. Some of the accounts differ in how they accomplish these things–for example the Mozilla Foundation twitter is largely a stream of content created by the Foundation regarding their various interests, while the Mozilla Science twitter feed is an aggravate of activities in open science:
As shown here, the Mozilla Science Lab social media is used as an interface to the community where the Mozilla Foundation accounts are used as an announcement board for the Foundation as a whole.
Of course, the measure of an orgainzation’s presence is how well people take notice, and it’s safe to say people take notice of Mozilla. This article, sparked off of Mozilla separating itself from Google’s monetary support, is in keeping with Mozilla’s theme of independence and privacy, as detailed by these tweets. Additionally, this blog post details why the Mozilla Foundation is a major component of the healthy, open web.
Meanwhile, Mozilla itself produces content largely to do with protecting people’s privacy and educating them about the open web. They have several youtube videos ranging from introductions to Firefox to satirical commentaries on why people should be concerned about online tracking.
As you can see above, Mozilla makes extensive use of its branding and social media presence to connect with many people in the online community to further Mozilla’s goals of protecting the free and open web, as well as introducing people to the web.