Spreading the word

wi-fi by Palagret @ Flickr

I’ve switched my primary focus from design to marketing in recent weeks. A lot of hard work has gone into GNOME 3, and we have a great release coming up. For many, the success of that release will be defined by the reception it receives. That means we have to work to ensure that the users and commentators who are interested in our release get a positive impression. For GNOME 3.0 to be a success, we have to promote it. The question is: how can we do that?

Promoting GNOME 3 requires that we generate and circulate a steady stream of positive messages and stories about the release, right up until the appearance of the first distros carrying GNOME 3.0. That might seem like a difficult challenge: GNOME doesn’t have much in the way of marketing resources. We don’t have a paid marketing team or community managers, and we don’t have paid advertising. What we do have, however, are two things: first, we have a unique product which has a cutting-edge design. (Seeing the pieces of GNOME 3 come together, it is hard to deny what a compelling product it is.) And second, we have an awesome, passionate community. Combining these things is the key to promoting GNOME 3.

Anybody can help to promote GNOME 3.0; it doesn’t take much to make a contribution. Every positive tweet, dent or blog post has a part to play. If you’ve worked on a part of GNOME 3 that you’re particularly proud of, or if there’s something you like about the release, tell the world about it. And if you hear a positive message about GNOME 3, pass it on. As release day comes and goes, ask yourself: ‘what are the positive messages I can still send? What are the positive stories I can tell?’

Engaging with users is another useful way you can help. If you see negative or inaccurate comments about GNOME 3 on the web, just jump in: all you need to do is be friendly, positive, and show that GNOME cares about its users. We have a bunch of information you can point people to if necessary. We are also seeing an increase in the number of users joining our IRC channels and mailing lists at the moment. Welcoming and helping them is an excellent way to promote GNOME.

Finally, those of us who are directly working on marketing could definitely do with a hand, and there are plenty of things (both small and large) that you can do to help. We need web hackers, writers, and people to help with the microblogs, and we need people to give presentations and to organise release parties. If you want to get involved, join on the marketing list or join #marketing. We have a release to promote!

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7 Responses to Spreading the word

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  2. Nick G says:

    Hey Allan. I think Gnome 3 is going to struggle to make headway without distributions adopting it. I’m really looking forward to Gnome 3/gnome shell but as an Ubuntu user I have to wonder how well it’s going to be supported/presented.

    Jon posted a Gnome OS slide a while back that got a lot of people excited – I, like others, honestly thought that a distribution, possibly Debian/Ubuntu based, was going to be developed with the goal of tightly integrating Gnome technologies.

    Without an actual OS that people can download and use it seems that no matter how much you advertise Gnome 3, people can’t get it directly. They have to find a distribution, or packages, or a .tar.gz or jhbuild and that is, frankly, a little bit sad given the innovation in Gnome 3.


    • Allan says:

      Hi Nick,

      I’m sad that Ubuntu won’t be shipping GNOME 3 too. As someone who uses GNOME 3 on a regular basis, I can honestly say that it offers a really wonderful user experience. I think Ubuntu users are really going to miss out. (And, obviously, I want people to be using GNOME!) There will be other distributions that come with GNOME 3 pre-installed, however, and there will be options to run GNOME 3 on Ubuntu.

      I also share your excitement about the GNOME OS plans. Jon isn’t the only one to have big ideas and ambitions for GNOME 3, and 3.0 is just the first step in what will be a really exciting release series. In that light, marketing and promoting 3.0 is about getting 3.x off to the right start – actually getting GNOME 3 (or 4, even) into the hands of greater numbers of users is something that can, and hopefully will, come later.

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  4. Gil Forcada says:

    Hi Allan,

    Even if we try to show the benefits of GNOME 3.0 we should also have to try to emphasize the “.0” as a way to say “sure, it’s not perfect, but it’s the first step in the right direction”.

    Maybe adding a side by side GNOME 2.0 and GNOME 2.32 as a way to say “the 2.0 was that, but look at how it evolved towards 2.32”.

    Thanks for all your hard work and impressive designs!

    • Allan says:

      Hi Gil,

      Sorry for the slow response: busy times! I don’t think we should downplay 3.0. There might be the odd niggle, but other than that, it should be ready for the mainstream. And we need to be very clear that it offers a superior user experience to GNOME 2.

      What we can say is that GNOME 3 will get better and better in the future, and we can talk about the plans we have for 3.x, like document search and shell extensions.

  5. Stephen Zablotny says:

    Hi Allen
    I couldn’t agree more with the need to have a focused market position. That position should include words, images and actions. Any comments in any of the many outlets and marketing channels create a marketing position planned or otherwise. There may have to have some method or mechanism of guiding or monitoring a marketing effort. This is always a good plan to have in place but a critical component at the time of a major launch and an opportunity to establish a fresh marketing position and image.

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