about:mozilla newsletter update

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Promotion and growth

Recently, Alix Franquet arranged for the about:mozilla newsletter to be featured as one of the Firefox Start Page snippets. Prior to this, the newsletter had plateaued at around 2800 email subscribers (plus an unknown number of readers via the web and feeds), increasing by maybe 10-20 subs per week. Since being added to the start page, however, the number of email subscribers has exploded to 6800, and the number continues to grow by 300-500 subscribers every week. A million, million thanks to Alix for helping promote the newsletter like this.

Content and length

The newsletter has also been getting longer as the Mozilla Project continues to grow both in the sheer number of contributors and the number of projects being undertaken. I’m going to experiment with slightly increasing the number of stories mentioned while paring down a little on the number of words I write per piece, to see how that works.

Experimental source feed

I’ve also started an experimental “Source feed” of sorts. Each week, while I read through the various Mozilla-related news sources, I flag possible items for newsletter inclusion by starring them in Google Reader. A few weeks ago I also started “sharing” those items, so you can now see a raw feed of Mozilla news stories, mentions, and blog posts that I’m thinking about including in the newsletter. I’m not sure whether it will be useful or not, but someone asked if I could put it together, so here it is.

That’s about it for now. If you have any questions or suggestions about the newsletter, please feel free to leave a comment here or email me at deb-at-mozilla-dot-com.

New about:mozilla archives!

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Ever miss an issue of the about:mozilla newsletter and find yourself cursing my name because you couldn’t find the archives? Curse no more! I finally dug around the Mailchimp knowledge base and figured out how to auto-generate a full list of every issue of about:mozilla ever published.

I’ve added the archives to the about:mozilla weblog, on their very own Newsletters archives page. The blog itself hasn’t been in use for quite some time, but I’m re-evaluating that now and there will likely be activity there again soon.

Do you read the about:mozilla newsletter?

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Every week, the about:mozilla newsletter is published in four formats — html email, plaintext email, web feed, and as a blog post (which also gets syndicated through Planet). This array of formats makes it difficult to gather any stats about how many people read the newsletter, where they’re from, so on and so forth. I know how many people subscribe to the email version, but that’s about it.

This post lives at the other end of a bit.ly link in the current newsletter which I’m hoping folks will click to help me gather some rough statistics about the newsletter’s readers.

If you’re here because you clicked the link, thank you! That’s all you need to do, and I appreciate you taking the time to help me out. If you have any other feedback about the newsletter, please leave a note in the comments here. Thanks!

Towards a new about:mozilla newsletter format

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The about:mozilla newsletter needs to evolve. It launched about 14 months ago and hasn’t changed at all in that time while the Mozilla project has continued to grow and expand. Based on the feedback I’ve received from a few people, I’m proposing that the newsletter morph from a “light and quick overview of a handful of interesting items” to a “full-blown newspaper for Mozilla project contributors”.

This is going to involve a lot more research and editorial work, and it could end up being longer, but it will have better structure and organization making it easier to skim and digest. As something targeted at project contributors, I think it will be more useful overall.

The following static sections were suggested:

* Feature development, major changes, demos, etc.

Labs and add-ons
* Labs, labs projects, AMO, add-on news (Firebug, etc)

Other products and projects
* Thunderbird, SeaMonkey, Camino, etc.

Upcoming releases
* Shortform list of all known/announced upcoming releases

Security notes
* Quicklist of recent security issues and information

Infrastructure and IT
* All project-infrastructure related news – upcoming planned outages, upgrades, changes, etc. Bugzilla, tinderbox, graphserver, etc.

Project coordination
* Upcoming bugdays, testdays, l10n events/deadlines, community marketing events, etc.

Events and conferences
* Devdays, barcamps, meetups, labs nights, Mozilla-involved conferences, etc. Bullet-pointy.

Meetings and meeting notes
* Standard reminder about the Community Calendar and all the goodness that resides there. Link to meeting notes blog + rss feed.

In the media
* Recent important media mentions or other PR-related things of interest

* MoCo/MoFo/MoMo related news. EC stuff, goals setting, education program, governance, awards, etc.

* Anything else that’s interesting enough to include.

What do you think? Good idea? Terrible idea? Do the proposed sections cover everything? Are there other things that would be useful in a weekly project newsletter? What else could/should be included?

I really want this newsletter to be as useful as possible for our project contributors, so your feedback is really important. Please leave your comments here or email me privately at deb-at-mozilla-dot-com. Thanks!

About the about:mozilla newsletter

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As the Mozilla project grows ever larger, it’s increasingly difficult to stay abreast of the latest news and goings-on throughout the community. A little over a year ago I started the about:mozilla newsletter in an attempt to make it slightly easier to get a general overview of the project, writing about releases, events, and announcements about Firefox, Thunderbird, SeaMonkey, Camino, the Foundation, the Corporation, Mozilla Messaging…etc., etc., etc.

The newsletter has been a pretty solid success, but it’s time to step things up a little, so I have three questions for you, dear reader:

More news than space

1) There are always more news-worthy stories than will fit in a single edition of the newsletter, and the number is increasing. Do you have any ideas about how I could cover more news without making the newsletter too long and unweildy?

Promotion and reach

2) How do you think I could better promote the newsletter? I’ve had comments recently that while useful, it just doesn’t seem to have the reach and impact that it could.

Overall quality

3) In general, what do you think of the about:mozilla newsletter? What do you think it does well? What do you think could be improved?

I’d really love to get your feedback on these things, or any other ideas or thoughts you have about the newsletter. Please leave a comment here or send me email at deb@mozilla.com. Thanks :)

Reminder to update the Mozilla Community Calendar

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If you run a public Mozilla Project meeting of any description, please take the time to add it to (or update its information in) the Mozilla Community Calendar. Even if you’re pretty sure the calendar information is correct for your meeting, I’d appreciate it if you could take a few minutes and verify that. Thanks!

about:mozilla needs you!

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about:mozilla is a blog and weekly newsletter that focuses on the major news items related to the Mozilla Project. These news items can really be about any aspect of the Project, ranging from development news and schedules through marketing and community events. For an idea of what sort of news we cover, just check out the blog or the past issues.

We’re looking for help. Do you follow or are you involved in a particular part of the Mozilla Project? Do you think there’s news and information about that part of the Project that deserves to be included in the about:mozilla blog and newsletter? If so, please send a note to about-mozilla at mozilla.com. Ideally you will include a snappy headline, a short version of the story you’re submitting (a few sentences is sufficient, really — the newsletter needs to be short and to the point), and at least one link where readers can get more information.

New about:mozilla weblog!

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Some eight months ago the Evangelism team started publishing the about:mozilla newsletter. We’re now expanding the scope of that project a little, while also streamlining the newsletter’s production, by introducing the new about:mozilla weblog.

How are the newsletter and weblog related? Essentially, anything that ends up in the newsletter will be on the weblog first, but not everything on the weblog will end up in the newsletter. So, the weblog is a slightly higher-volume stream of news that is updated (more or less) daily, and the newsletter is a weekly publication of the week’s highlights from the weblog.

What does this mean for you, the reader and potential content submitter? Not much. The newsletters will continue to be published as they currently are, in the locations they’re currently in. The about:mozilla weblog will not be syndicated to Planet — most of the content is already on Planet to start with — so it won’t be further inflating the volume of traffic there.

Submitting stories for about:mozilla

We could always, always use more content for about:mozilla, and if you would like to submit items, please send them to about-mozilla[at]mozilla.com at any time. Where possible, please include a headline, one or two short paragraphs of content, and at least one URL where readers can find more information. Don’t worry too much about formatting, the editorial staff can take care of that part.

We could use your help

We could always use help with news gathering, writing, and editorial tasks, so if you are interested in getting involved with the newsletter and weblog, please ping me in IRC (“dria” on irc.mozilla.org), or email (deb[at]mozilla.com). This is a great and fun way to get involved with the Mozilla project if you’re not a programmer, so send a note if you’d like to help out.

The about:mozilla newsletter community survey!

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about:mozilla newsletter banner

We’ve been publishing the about:mozilla newsletter since November of last year. Having been at this for almost six months, we figure it’s time to gather some reader feedback, which is why we’re running The about:mozilla Newsletter community survey.

If you are a regular reader of the newsletter (or if you used to read it but stopped for some reason), we would really appreciate it if you could take the time to respond to the survey that’s being hosted over on the Mozilla Europe site. At the end of the survey there’s a place where you can enter whatever additional comments, ideas, thoughts or criticisms you may have. The more feedback you can give us about the newsletter, the better the newsletter will be in the future.

The survey will be only be running for a couple of weeks, so the sooner you can head over and help us out, the better. If you would like to know more about the newsletter, sign up for it, or read past issues, check out the about:mozilla wiki page.

Here’s the survey: The about:mozilla Newsletter survey.

about:mozilla newsletter submission reminder!

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Hey folks: If you have news, information, or announcements of interest to the Mozilla community-at-large that you think should be included in the about:mozilla newsletter, send it in to (mozilla-news-submissions at mozilla.org) by Friday of this week. The about:mozilla newsletter is published every Tuesday morning, so the weekly deadline is every Friday.

If you would like to subscribe to the about:mozilla newsletter, you can do so through the subscription form. Thanks!

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