Tuesday, August 31, 2010

OneWebDay Reflections: The Value of the OneWebDay Brand

In April 2010, OneWebDay.org announced that it would merge with Drumbeat, "a new initiative of the Mozilla Foundation that shares all of OneWebDay's goals and values." Additionally they say that they "will retire [the OneWebDay] brand and invite all of its people to join forces with Drumbeat’s growing community."

I think the merging with Mozilla Drumbeat is a good thing. It is useful and important to have avenues for people who are willing to get more involved. However, does it justify dissolution of the One Web Day brand? Institutionalized celebratory events can play a useful societal role. Nathanial James, former executive director of OneWebDay, says:
I’ve spent most of my time with OneWebDay listening to as many of you as I can reach. Here’s the number one thing I hear from you: “Our OneWebDay was amazing! Let’s do more! What’s next?
James presents this as a reason for merging with Drumbeat, but how many of those people asking "what's next" would not have gotten involved at all without One Web Day? If anything, I think this is an excellent reason to continue to support and build the One Web Day brand. As the event spreads, more and more people will be exposed to the ideals underlying the open web. Some of those people will choose to become more involved, and others, though not organizing directly, will take values learned and spread them. Spreading the meme of the open web is as important as active organization.

Of course, it is preferable to have the values of one web be celebrated and practiced every day. As James writes, "Unlike OneWebDay, [Drumbeat projects happen] every single day and with some powerful infrastructure behind [them]." This is a great thing. In order for these projects to achieve their maximum impact, though, open web values need to be integrated into the cultural fabric. They need to be presented in a sticky way and embraced by people outside of the circles of the technology elite. That should be the place of events like One Web Day.

OneWebDay is a global event aimed at giving all people a chance not only to celebrate the Internet, but also to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining the open-networking principles that have made it the success it is. As OneWebDay 2010 approaches, I'll be posting some of my own and other peoples reflections on One Web.

OneWebDay should be local and global simultaneously. It should highlight the ways that people use the web locally, and acknowledge in a non-trivial way that the web they use is the same web that is used the world over—one web.

1 comment:

  1. There is no question that a global day of Internet celebration and awareness is valuable. It provides a focus when all who have an active interest in maintaining and advancing the Open Internet can outreach to each other and the wider public.

    In my personal opinion the efforts to entirely co-opt OneWebDay in to Drumbeat are unfortunate, as the weakness of Drumbeat - while entirely a worthy endeavor - is that it lacks exactly that sense of focus.