[geeklog-devel] Perception is everything...

Jason Hackwith jason at firewindproductions.com
Wed Apr 9 16:20:54 EDT 2008

I'll emerge from lurking here and say that I completely agree with 
Mark.  If the goal is to change the perception that the Geeklog project 
is dead, the answer may not necessarily be to find a new central brand 
name to orient upon. Speaking from a branding perspective, changing the 
word "Geeklog" to something else probably will not accomplish a 
perceptual change.

Geeklog is, of course, primarily an application development framework.  
It's much more than that, though... you can say that PHP itself is an 
application development framework.  To me, Geeklog as a brand implies 
ability, intelligence, flexibility, scalability, smart solutions.  It's 
the CMS (or application framework) that doesn't dumb it down... 
something that certainly appeals to me.

What I'm trying to say is that "Geek" is a positive identity that can 
not only imply that it's for developers who aren't afraid to get their 
hands a little dirty, but also that Geeklog itself is smart enough to 
handle just about any task thrown at it.  I think Geeklog really does 
fit the larger geek subculture, a positively growing demographic that 
companies are already tapping.  There's a great article about the geek 
subculture here:

I've been a graphic artist/designer for fourteen years, and have been 
building websites for twelve of those years.  In that time, I've seen a 
lot of open source projects come and go.  One of the things that drew me 
to Geeklog in the first place -- and has kept me using Geeklog today -- 
is how intelligently it is organized.  When I was testing/auditing 
content management systems five years ago, Geeklog stood apart from the 
rest because it allowed me to use it as a framework for just about 
anything without compromising security.  Geeklog is smart enough to 
handle everything behind the scenes of establishing a dynamic, 
content-driven website -- and flexible enough to morph into any kind of 
website.  No matter what content my clients have for their website, 
Geeklog is scalable enough to handle it.

I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here.  The big disconnect between 
perception and reality really does exist. It probably results from both 
a lack of information, and a lack of easy access to that information.  
What I'm suggesting is this: if you really want to change perception, 
you need an organized marketing campaign that deliberately communicates 
the strengths of Geeklog.  In other words, Geeklog evangelism.

A good starting place is, of course, Geeklog.net.  A few suggestions to 

1. CLARITY/FOCUS. The homepage for Geeklog.net right now unfortunately 
suffers from a huge amount of noise.  There's just too much extraneous 
information bombarding visitors for them to get a real handle on what 
Geeklog is all about.  Right now, the Professional theme for Geeklog.net 
just screams "Portal" -- which is one of the things Geeklog can be, but 
you don't have to look like a portal to be an effective one.  The 
unfortunate thing is that important information often gets lost in the din.
2. NAVIGATION.  Right now, it's too hard to find answers on the site 
because almost everything is just plopped on the home page.  Some time 
developing and clarifying the site navigation would make a big 
difference.  An entire section devoted to Geeklog evangelism (why 
Geeklog, what you can use Geeklog for, a showcase of great Geeklog 
sites, the top ten best features of Geeklog, etc.).
3. ACTIVITY. The antithesis of death is life, so the homepage for 
Geeklog.net could primarily showcase life; the areas in which there is 
constant, daily activity.  Of course this would include the support 
forums, but also perhaps a rotating feature showcasing a featured 
Geeklog site, a particularly great suggestion, plugin, hack, block, etc.
4. COMMUNITY. Geeklog is of course an online community of developers.  
Organize the community areas like the forums, support, user functions, 
etc. into a separate area accessible by central navigation.

(Canonical is especially good at this.  Ubuntu.com is excellently 
designed and information is easy to find, whether you're just looking 
for basic information or a particularly detailed hack.)

I'm excited that this discussion is taking place and eager to hear what 
you all think.
Jason Hackwith

Mark R. Evans wrote:
> Generally a re-branding is something that is done to support a much 
> larger effort, a new focus or a new direction.  To re-brand or rename 
> just for the sake of a change is, in my opinion, a large effort with 
> very little benefit.  Cost and effort are high, not to mention, the 
> limitation of domain names to choose from...
> "What's in a name? that which we call a rose. By any other name would 
> smell as sweet;"
> Geeklog is what it is.  If there is a perception that it is dead then 
> I would address that perception directly.  Why is it perceived to be 
> dead?  Lack of releases?  Lack of documentation?  Lack of a growing 
> developer base?  Lack of direction? Lack of communication? Lack of 
> themes? Lack of plugins?  Lack of community? I won't offer any answers 
> to this question, that I'll leave to the core team to figure out.  My 
> only advice is to understand why there is a negative perception and 
> address those issues directly.
> Solve the identify crisis that is Geeklog.  Define what it is and 
> standardize on that definition.  With a little effort you can find 
> Geeklog defined as 3 distinct tools, a blog, a CMS and an application 
> development framework.  It is all of those, but how do you summarize 
> this into something that can be the center or focus of a marketing 
> theme?  Dirk summed it up well in his Using Geeklog as an Application 
> Development Framework presentation;  Geeklog is; An application to 
> manage dynamic web content.  Rally around that statement, build on it 
> and publicize it.
> Changing the name, in my opinion, would simply be a distraction from 
> real work that needs to be done (release 1.5, write documentation, 
> figure out how to put up a tracker, clean up the downloads area on 
> geeklog.net <http://geeklog.net>, update the developer tools; 
> universal toolkit and documentation, define some development 
> standards, i.e.; core technology directions for style sheets, 
> javascript librarys, etc.).
> I think the idea of profiling Geeklog sites is a great marketing 
> tool.  It also shows off what can be done with Geeklog.  It also shows 
> off the user base, the flexibility and scalability of Geeklog. 
> Thanks!
> Mark
> On Tue, Apr 8, 2008 at 8:13 PM, Tony Bibbs <tony at tonybibbs.com 
> <mailto:tony at tonybibbs.com>> wrote:
>     Ok, so I've got a couple of points related to the "Is Geeklog
>     Dead" question.
>     First of all, I'd be happy to do weekly or bi-monthly posts on
>     gl.net <http://gl.net> about successful GL installations.  The
>     idea is simple, have a standard form asking users about their
>     decision to use Geeklog, what features are most important to them,
>     areas of improvement and whatnot.  I've got at least a half dozen
>     sites at the State of Iowa I could recommend and I know we can dig
>     up a lot more including some of our most noteable like Groklaw, etc.
>     Also, more controversial, I've struggled with the Geeklog brand. 
>     I don't doubt that we've garnered some respect in the open source
>     CMS areana but I have a hard time selling non-techies on
>     "Geeklog".  In fact it is to the point I just call it a "Content
>     Management System" to avoid the silly looks I get.  My question is
>     am I the only one that feels this way?  If not, I'd like to
>     suggest renaming the project and allowing community participation
>     on picking the name.  I'm fine with leaving it as Geeklog but
>     figured it'd be worth discussion.  I'll go crawl under a rock now...
>     --Tony
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