Forum OpenACS Q&A: Tagline... We Need One Now!
While in California I had time to take advantage of our stand at Linux World in S.F. (thanks Talli) and do some evangelism for OpenACS and .LRN. I got there a day late to find some sharp OpenACS representatives siting in front of this tiny little piece of paper that said something like: "Open Architecture Community System" (whatever that means). After spending 30 minutes looking at blank stares this disturbing image of a Dane started to haunt me so I started to work on a poster that Don and I printed at Kinko's for the next day.
The most important part of that poster was the tagline:
OpenACS - The Web Application Toolkit for Building Online Communities
Can someone with access to the header on the site please see if they can squeeze that up in there ("OpenACS -" is not needed)? It should be a linked to the "What is OpenACS" page. That will definitely be more useful than "6918 registered users" and should fit. We can add the registered users number to the homepage if anyone is interested.
P.S. Here is what made me think of Jakob the purple-shirt-wearing Dane who likes to listen: Tagline Blues: What's the Site About?
P.S.S. I am not going to be able to go to the next Linux World in Germany, but there are enough Germans around here to warrant having a stand (it if free). We need to work on our profile. I would be willing to improve upon the poster/banner and mail it if someone will sign up and go (a group of 3-4 is enough to keep the stand running comfortably with ample rotations so you have time to enjoy the other displays and free stuffed animals).
If I get a chance or someone wants to try it, it might be cool it integrate somehow into the logo.
"Beyond the Blog"
Here's a version to explore other phrase variations:
"high-performance toolkit for maximizing collective user potential online"
Okay, here's another:
"high-performance online community toolkit that minimizes resource loads"
Hmm... in short:
"high-performance online community toolkit"
"high-performance toolkit for building portals"
"high-performance toolkit for portal building"
HP (high-performance,high-power?) differentiates the toolkit more than web application given the care that is put into developing the toolkit.
Based on g8gle search, "portal building" is more commonly used (written and indexed) than "building portals" and "online community building". The slightly more popularly used phrase seems to be "building online communities", suggesting:
"high-performance toolkit for building online communities"
One function of a tag line is to differentiate from the "other choices". Yes, OpenACS is a web application toolkit, but aren't most any configurations of LAMP and MS servers likewise? We could really be stealthy by using "software toolkit for online communities". Certainly spelling out "web application" shows OpenACS is a serious WebApp.
Openacs.org defines the toolkit (on the frontpage) as:
OpenACS (Open Architecture Community System) is an advanced toolkit for building scalable, community-oriented web applications.
High-performance, to me, suggests OpenACS is *not* the best choice for small websites (unless scalability is a factor). It's like taking a short drive around the neighborhood in a dragster race car (complete with pit crew).
Instead of using a phrase that exudes false humility, why not seek a more honest assessment to describe the OpenACS toolkit?
If "hyperformance" is too much in the other direction, maybe some other suggestions should be considered?
I came across a book yesterday "Enterprise Information Portals and KM" (knowledge management). From what I absorbed in it while wandering through the store isles, depending on how OpenACS ETP evolves, OpenACS is heading in the right direction to meet criteria as a toolkit for building Enterprise level, scalable portals.
What about "scalable portals toolkit"? (web app and online-community is implied)
Toolkit for enterprise-quality websites?
Would anybody _not_ say "enterprise quality" in their marketing? No way.
But would anybody not say "for Online Communities"? Sure. And that's what makes OpenACS unique. Why not use PHP/MySQL? Because it doesn't support online communities nearly as well.
I don't think you need the words "web application" in the tagline, because it is implied in "for Online Communities." How else are you going to support an online community but through a web application?
I also agree with the suggestion that to say "_THE_ toolkit..." grabs this "market space" very nicely. No one else can make quite that same claim, and AFAIK no one has. So now is a good time for the OpenACS community to grab it and run with it.
Which, of course, is true.
But it is also the mentality I'm trying to change.
It may be a toolkit, but if it's not *also* a useful piece of software to people who haven't yet spent 6 months learning it, we're doomed.
OpenACS is the toolkit. I think last time this was discussed it was decided that OpenACS is the toolkit, and interesting applications will be built on it. Right now we only have one, dotLRN, but hopefully more will be coming.
Maybe toolkit isn't the best word, but OpenACS is for developers. Hopefully when more complete apps built on OpenACS exist we can actively market them from the home page.
For example Zope is definitely a toolkit or framework or whatever. Plone is a nice applicaiton built on it.
Is there another word that suggests the building-block nature of OpenACS that isn't quite so scary?
> nature of OpenACS that isn't quite so scary?
Which brings me to the question, whom to target?
"The toolkit for OC" is techy. Sounds good for developers, but throws in images of hammer, gripper and tool-box for others.
"the foundation" is something you can build up upon and "purposeful" takes us away from just seeing the communitie sitting behind their computers and doing everything online. Yes, for sure the toolkit is an online foundation, but it does not have to be a strictly online community that comes out of it. At least it would be not so good just to sell it that way, if you can follow my thinking here.
> give the basic idea. what does "building" or "developing"
> add to the idea presented in the tagline that is really
"Verbs are golden" (American Society of Newspaper Editors, http://www.asne.org/kiosk/editor/98.dec/mcgrath1.htm).
The Nielsen Norman Group tagline, "Strategies to enhance the user experience", is strong in part because it uses a dynamic verb. Incidentally, this tagline has exactly the same number of words as "The Foundation for Developing Online Communities".
However, now that I think about it, "develop" is probably more powerful than "developing" since it's shorter (http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~hgs/etc/writing-bugs.html).
What about, "The foundation to develop online communities"?
I like this tagline because it reads well for techies who are focused on developing the software and non-techies who are focused on developing the community.
The current "6867 registered users" sounds like the OpenACS software has that many users, when in fact, there are many, many more than that.
How about "6,867 community members"?
Any better ideas?