A force for good: 10 million Firefox fans on Facebook

The Mozilla Firefox page on Facebook recently passed 10 million fans. That’s a lot of friends, hugs and high-fives!

How does that compare to other brands? That’s more than Hello Kitty, Nike and Taco Bell. It’s also more than Google, and very close to Google Chrome.

We use our Facebook page to develop genuine relationships with Firefox users. It’s a place for us to tell our story, share exciting news, help users and even feature some of our fans. For many Firefox users this is the main way they interact with Mozilla regularly.

Our fans and content are truly global too. While other organizations post content in only English, we publish our posts each week in several languages thanks to our team of over a dozen contributors.

Our Facebook page continues to grow quickly, and I’m looking forward to the next millions of Firefox fans. They’re part of our community and they support Mozilla’s mission to make the Web better. Thank you to all of our fans – you are the ones who really make our Facebook page special.

Reaching millions more Firefox users in Latin America

Where will we find the millions of Firefox users in Latin America? Photo by Ricardo Pontes

At MozCamp the other week, Winston Bowden and I hosted a workshop for improving our user engagement programs in Latin America. There are already millions of Firefox users in that area, but there is potential for many millions more to discover and use Firefox.

As a group we brainstormed ways to talk to new users and reach them. Chelsea Novak will then help put together a regional toolkit for Latin America. Such a toolkit will provide the information and resources to reach people and tell them about Firefox. And we’ll be sharing the initial toolkit in the coming weeks.

Many ideas for finding new Firefox users

The 25 Mozillians in our workshop had lots of ideas. A full list of responses and ideas are in this etherpad. We also discussed important Latin American events for our content calendar and ways to adapt our social media strategy for the region.

If you’re interested in contributing to the regional toolkit or just giving feedback, send a note to the user engagement mailing list.

How do you think we can reach new Firefox users in Latin America? Leave a comment below.

The Two Things about Mozilla

I recently learned about The Two Things question and wanted to apply them to Mozilla and what I’ve learned in engaging with Firefox users.

For every subject, there are really only two things you really need to know. Everything else is the application of those two things, or just not important. –Gary Whitman

The Two Things about Mozilla
  1. Create products (such as Firefox, Marketplace, Persona, B2G) that disrupt controlled platforms in order to build a better Web
  2. Develop projects in an open way that allows contributors from all over the world to participate and work towards the mission of keeping the power of the Web in people’s hands [from About Mozilla]
The Two Things about Engagement
  1. Create authentic relationships with all stakeholders
  2. Each type of stakeholder has different needs
The Two Things about User Engagement
  1. Develop genuine relationships with users that provide 2-way value
  2. Surprise and delight users often
The Two Things about Social Media
  1. Share your story with fans – they’re listening
  2. Listen to users and support them – they have stories to share too and need your help sometimes

What do you think are The Two Things about Mozilla? What are The Two Things about areas where you contribute?

Celebrating 7 years of Firefox with the newest (and cutest) Mozillians!

[This is a re-post of a post that originally appeared on the Mozilla blog]

Firefox 7th birthday cake

Today, we are excited to join together as a global community to celebrate the 7th birthday of Firefox. As the only independent browser with a mission to make the Web better, we are proud of how the last seven years of Firefox have pushed the Web forward:

  • The latest release of Firefox is more than 32 times faster than Firefox 1.0.
  • We recently shifted to a new release cycle to deliver features, performance enhancements, security updates and stability improvements to users faster.
  • Leading edge HTML5 support in Firefox ensures that developers can create beautiful and exciting Web experiences for users.
  • Favorite features like tabbed browsing, built-in phishing and malware protection, the Awesome Bar, Do Not Track and our gallery of thousands of  Firefox add-ons give millions of users around the world more choice and control over their Web browsing experience.

To celebrate, Mozilla has once again adopted firefox (a.k.a red panda) cubs at the Knoxville Zoo. For the next few months, you can watch these baby firefoxes play, live and grow via a 24 hour live video stream at Firefox Live. Please help spread the word by sharing the cuteness of our newest Mozillians at Firefox Live.

A campaign about Your Web, for the Web

Note: This campaign is very much a work in progress and some aspects of it will most likely change. However, this should give you an idea of what the campaign could look like.

I was recently inspired by the webdev team’s activity at Open Source Bridge the other week, where hackers were asked what they want the Web to be. Dozens of people used posters, letter stencils, and markers to create their answer and show the possibilities open to us because of technology. The beautiful result can be seen in their video and Mike Morgan’s photo gallery, which is appropriately named Your Web.

Everyone uses and thinks about the Web differently, and we all have the opportunity to be part of the Web and choose how it evolves. So let’s show our users that. As part of a campaign for existing Firefox users, I’d like to see the activity from Open Source Bridge grow to a new scale in a way that any Firefox user can participate. The concept should be solid, the user’s interaction should be simple, and the gallery should be visually compelling (with some HTML5 + CSS3 love, naturally).

The Concept

Let’s create a fun and interactive way for users to think about the Web and tie that back to Mozilla’s mission and why we create products like Firefox. Let’s ask users a simple question about the Web and showcase their responses. Questions like “What do you love about the Web?” and “What do you want the Web to be?” can be answered in a single word or phrase. It should be a broad enough question that anyone can answer it easily.

The Interaction

Show users how others have answered the question and then ask them for their response. To make the response even richer and provide a human element, we encourage users to write their response on a poster and upload a picture of them holding the poster, similar to the Your Web gallery. A user can also tag their response to show how they use the Web (eg: an Artist, Developer, Student, or Writer).

The Gallery

Once a user submits their response (the photo is optional, by the way), they see their answer appear in the gallery, along with responses from similar users based on their locale and tag. The gallery could show a word and photo cloud where the more popular responses are larger. One could then share their response by email or on a social network. Here’s a rough sketch of how it could look, courtesy of Crystal Beasley:

Sketch of the main page

Sketch of the main page

Sketch of the submission form

Sketch of the submission form


I’m excited to see how users around the world think about the Web and answer the question, but many of those responses will be in different languages — languages I don’t speak. Unlike other campaigns where we localize content before the campaign launches, most of the content for this campaign will be submitted by users. This gives us an interesting opportunity to have our multilingual users translate responses so that others can understand how people around the world answer the question.

For example, a German user could offer a translation for a French response, and then German users could view that translation when they mouse over it. And we could do this in a way that still gives our localization community the ability to review translations before they appear for other users.

Another fascinating question is how do we structure the responses across different locales so the answers are brief but still descriptive? We could limit user submitted answers to a certain number of words or characters. In English, that limit could be pretty low — perhaps 4 words up to 30 characters total. We could probably establish a rule for each locale as to how long answers can be. What would make sense for other locales? For your locale?


I’m teaming up with Winston Bowden to put this together (here’s the wiki page), and I’d love feedback on how to tweak this idea and make it even better. I would especially like to see your thoughts on the localization aspects.

Spread the word about Firefox 4!

Firefox 4 is here! Now you can help get the word out by tweeting and posting on Facebook. Here are some quick and fun ways for you to participate.

Join the Twitter Party

This Twitter Party is pure fun and celebration. No cover charge, either.

Tweet about Firefox 4 with the #fx4 hashtag and your Twitter avatar will join thousands of others from around the world as part of our logo mosaic. Also, check out how the technology behind Twitter Party works by reading a behind the scenes post by Quodis, who created the site.

Post a Facebook Badge

Facebook badges are flair for your Wall. Post one or all four.

Add one of these awesome Firefox badges to your wall for your friends to see and they’ll be encouraged to download Firefox 4. Post one (or all 4) and add a fun message too.

Get your all new Website buttons

Your site looks even more awesome with a Firefox button

Dress up your blogs and websites with our snazzy new Firefox 4 buttons.

Watch downloads live on Glow

The downloads are so bright, I gotta wear shades

Track download stats in real-time and zoom in to view stats for each country, state, or even city. Awesome use of canvas.

Take a moment to share Firefox 4 on your social networks and celebrate the release.

Why we created the Army of Awesome

Most companies and organizations dread customer support. It’s difficult and resource intensive. However, some companies are using new methods to reach their customers and users. Zappos Service and Xbox’s Elite Tweet Fleet are doing a fantastic job at helping their customers on Twitter. They provide responsive support to their customers by staffing teams of support reps.  They’re able to help hundreds of customers each day by providing dedicated support teams.

While this approach works well for them, it doesn’t translate to Firefox Support, but we can still learn from it. Just like Mozilla’s products, our support channel (SUMO) is open source and community powered. It’s made possible by an active community of contributors who write and translate support articles, help users in the forums, and assist in live chats. As a result, SUMO does an excellent job at helping users who visit its site.

But what happens for users who don’t know about SUMO? They might not get help when they have an issue or question. But they might mention it to a friend, post about it, or even tweet it. And that’s where we have a huge opportunity to engage our users – by reaching out to them outside of our websites. Since there are thousands of tweets about Firefox on Twitter each day, that seems like the best place to start.

How can we respond to thousands of tweets daily? Instead of staffing a support team like other companies, we’re turning that model on its head by empowering our users to help each other. We’ve joined up with the SUMO team to create a new community care program that brings support to our users on Twitter.

Say hello to the Army of Awesome

Anyone with a Twitter account can join the Army of Awesome and reply to a tweet about Firefox. Many times it’s as simple as showing someone where to find the info they need. Just as we routinely rely on signposts to navigate streets, we’ve created some standard signpost messages so you can direct users to commonly searched pages.

Signpost messages make it quick and easy to reply

You don’t have to be a Firefox expert to join the Army of Awesome – though of course experts are welcome! Simply choose a tweet, sign in with your Twitter account, and select the signpost message that will point the user in the right direction. Or, even better, create a personal response in your own words.

You can also personalize your reply

Go to the Army of Awesome page to try it out. Sending replies to users’ tweets takes only a few moments and goes a long way toward helping others have a better Web experience. If you’re looking for other ways to chip in, check out our new participation page full of quick and easy ways to spread Firefox!

Happy tweeting! And remember…good things come to those who tweet!

Big thanks to everyone who helped get this program off the ground – Kadir Topal, David Tenser, Michael Verdi, Alex Buchanan, Fred Wenzel, James Socol, Paul Craciunoiu, Stephen Donner, Krupa Raj, Lee Tom, Craig Cook, Mike Morgan, Mike Alexis, Anurag Phadke, Daniel Einspanjer, and Mary Colvig.

What’s next for the Army of Awesome?

We’ll be building this program out over the next few weeks, and we’re starting to scope out the next version. Leave a comment with any feedback or ideas for making the page better. If you think of a new signpost message that should be added to the list, please add your suggestion on this wiki page.

Google is going after bit.ly with goo.gl

Today, Google announced that its URL shortener goo.gl is now available for public use. They’re also supporting easy QR code creation (by adding .qr to URLs) and metrics data (by adding .info to URLs). While bit.ly already offers metrics (add a “+” to any bit.ly link), they don’t currently offer QR codes.

I imagine bit.ly will follow suit and add a simple way to convert links to QR codes. This will benefit custom bit.ly domains (such as mzl.la) since users will be able to just add .qr (or whatever they decide) to turn their short links into QR codes. As a result, viewing a page on your mobile device or sending a page to a friend’s mobile will become easier in some cases. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out and how important the QR code feature becomes.

In the near future, I can also see Google allowing domain owners to use the goo.gl platform instead of bit.ly for their custom URLs. It’s an easy way for Google to compete with bit.ly, and that’s clearly what they’re trying to do with goo.gl. It’s good to see that bit.ly has a new competitor, and I hope users benefit from the new services that result from this more competitive environment.

No Longer Lost in Translation

Until recently, Mozilla’s L10n process had been a mystery to me. I first encountered localization when I worked on 1 Billion + You, and during that campaign I knew little about how localization was taking place from a technical perspective. The L10n team took care of all the details and the site was translated into over 30 languages.

Now that we’re redesigning the website for Student Reps, I’ve learned about the tools that are used to localize a site. If you’re interested in localization, this post will provide a good primer so you can understand the technical side of an L10n project.

Using gettext as the localization format

There are a few localization formats from which to choose. Based on the scale of the project and our familiarity with it, we chose to utilize the gettext format for our localizations. Gettext allows us to easily add new languages to our project, and it also works well with Verbatim, the web interface our translators use.

In the first step, we use gettext to generate language-specific files. Gettext will give us a .po file for each language we need. In fact, this process can be easily automated by running a script. Once we have the files in the target languages, we compile these .po files into .mo binaries that will be used on the live site.

Managing Translations with Verbatim

Verbatim is a web localization tool for Mozilla projects that allows translators to localize the site without editing text files (such as .po files for gettext). Localizers create an account, choose a project and language, and then start translating.

The web interface is very simple and makes it easy to view the status of a project or particular language. On the left side of their display, localizers see the string that needs to be translated. On the right side, localizers enter suggested translations for each string. Those translations are then reviewed for correctness by a reviewer for that locale. Once a string’s translation is approved, it is committed using svn and shows up on the staged site.

The web interface is very simple and makes it easy to view the status of a
project or particular language. On the left side of their display,
localizers see the string that needs to be translated. On the right side,
localizers enter suggested translations for each string. Those translations
are then reviewed for correctness by a reviewer for that locale. Once a
string’s translation is approved, it is committed using svn and shows up on
the staged site.

Marketing Survey: Students speak up!

As Mary Colvig mentioned yesterday, we recently surveyed our community marketing team. And that of course includes our Campus Reps (soon to be known as Student Reps).

Thanks to all 367 Reps who completed the survey. That’s an impressive response and represents about 20% of our active Reps. With that in mind, let’s look at the findings.

Who took it?

  • 367 Reps
  • 44 countries
  • Mostly new contributors

Reps' Years of Contribution

How active are they?

  • 78% promote Mozilla constantly
  • 17% promote during news announcements or marketing campaigns
  • 5% promote every once in a while or rarely

What are the Reps interested in doing?

Across the board, Reps have the same interest in activities that the whole community marketing team has.  Reps showed slightly more interest in Public Relations, Hosting events, and Market research. Exact differences can be seen below.

Reps' Areas of Interest

Also, Reps selected 5.1 activities on average that interest them, compared to the 4.6 activities the whole team selected. This means that Reps are interested in participating in more types of activities.

What do Reps want to learn about?

We asked what types of workshops our team wants to see. Not surprisingly, workshops specific to Campus Reps were at the top of the list. Speaking/presenting and graphic/web design were also quite high with 57% and 56% of Reps interested in those workshops, respectively. Interest in the other workshops can be seen below.

Reps' Types of Workshops Wanted

So what does this mean?

  • Reps are very active in promoting Mozilla, doing so either constantly or during announcements and campaigns.
  • Student Reps have similar interests as the rest of the community marketing team. However, it’s important to note that Reps tend to be interested in more types of activities overall. Therefore, we should make sure that a variety of opportunities are available to them.
  • Reps show slightly more interest in PR, hosting events, and market research relative to the whole community marketing team. We can use this insight to offer more opportunities to Reps in these areas.
  • Workshops about Campus Reps, giving presentations, and graphic/web design are highly sought after by Reps. This finding can help us in planning future workshop topics.