What Is the Social Web?
The Social Web can perhaps best be understood as a social network that spans the globe without inherent technical or geographic boundaries, adhering to Web Architecture, in which everyone can participate, with no dependence on centralized services.
The web of documents and data known as the World Wide Web (WWW) has long allowed anyone to buy a domain name which may be used to brand the documents they put on the Web. The Social Web builds on this foundation, giving people the ability to describe themselves and their links to anyone else whilst respecting privacy, thereby building a Privacy-Aware Web.
The technologies used to do this include:
- WebIDs to identify agents: people, companies, groups, robots...
- Some well known ontologies
- LinkedData pattern of linking profiles to other profiles, blog posts, and anything thinkable
- FOAF+SSL to authenticate agents in one click and tie this to their
- some Web Access Control ontology to declare, when needed, what criteria are used to give agents access to resources
Problems Solved by the Social Web
- The ability to link across social networks, so as to avoid having to keep different profiles - with the telephone we can call people no matter the provider they are working with; so here we can link across social network providers.
- The ability to leave a social network and keep one's friends. Changing email address does not mean one can no longer mail one's friends. So here we can continue to link and access information about friends whatever network they are on.
- Data control: being the publisher of one's data gives one the ability to set the data access control policies as precisely as needed for one's own use cases
- Short 5 minute interview of Henry Story on the Social Web by Prof. William Dutton of the Oxford Internet Institute
- The Social Network mess: Why we need the Social Web explains the background need for this protocol