W3C Workshop on the Future of Social Networking
Call for Participation 15-16 January 2009, Barcelona

W3C organizes workshops as an opportunity for a specific part of the industry to gather and to foster discussion on the current state of a given technology, and to evalute the coordination needs that would benefit the industry. Everyone is invited to propose position papers relevant to the scope of the workshop, a subset of which will be presented during the workshop as selected by the Program Committee.

1. Background

Social networks are increasingly going to appeal to people who are on the go. Whether using the mobile Web or handset applications, many "made-for-mobile" communities have a web presence available on PC; conversely on-line communities must offer their participants mobile access when the participant is without their PC and when social media is captured on the mobile device.

Social networking is a complex, large and rapidly expanding sector of the information economy. The impacts of emerging social networking tools will be far-reaching. For example, user-generated content is causing changes in the traditional content/media industry structure. In the future, community features could be an integral part of all digital (Web and other) experiences — from information/publishing to business and entertainment.

Companies providing services for social media and social networking, or adding social networking features to existing services, must anticipate and begin working to resolve barriers to industry growth and stability. W3C believes there needs to be a time and place where the various actors of this industry can gather and discuss the challenges they'll need to face together to allow for healthy market expansion in the future. See our analysis of why now is the right time for this workshop.

1.1. Goal of Workshop

The high level goal of this workshop is to bring together the world experts on social networking design, management and operation in a neutral and objective environment where the social networking history to date can be examined and discussed, the risks and opportunities analyzed and the state of affairs accurately portrayed. Based on the facts and a consensus-based industry landscape, plans for the future can be made by the industry participants.

Within the W3C workshop, the issues facing social networking growth can be documented and, in this workshop in particular, will take into account social networking on mobile devices/platforms with and without PC/broadband Internet services.

The workshop should also explore whether it is worthwhile to consider the creation of an Interest or Working Group under the auspices of W3C to continue these discussions.

To these ends, workshop participants will:

1.2. Scope of Workshop

The scope of this workshop includes all aspects of social network industry needs with a special emphasis on mobile and converged (mobile/PC) community technologies, challenges and opportunities.

Topics that might serve as appropriate discussion points for position papers include, but are not limited to:



1.3. Audience

W3C encourages anyone interested in the topics listed in the scope section to participate in the workshop, in particular representatives from:

1.4. Requirements for Participation

There is no participation fee, but registration is required. Registration instructions will be sent to submitters of position papers. W3C membership is not required in order to participate in the workshop.

Each participant must submit (or be co-submitter of) a position paper. The total number of participants will be limited. To ensure diversity, a limit may be imposed on the maximum number of participants per organization.

Press representatives must contact w3t-pr@w3.org.

1.5. Position Papers

Position papers provide the basis for discussion among workshop attendees. These papers will also be made available to the public.

Position papers must be submitted no later than 20 November 2008. An extension to submit papers until December 3rd 2008 will be granted to submitters provided they send an expression of interest stating that they are planning to submit a paper before November 24 2008.

Late submission of position papers may be accepted depending on space availability. Any accepted late submission will not be considered for the workshop program.

Position papers must be submitted via e-mail to team-msnws-submit@w3.org, an archived mailing list accessible to the W3C staff. Note that the system might ask you (via reply e-mail) to confirm your submission. Don't hesitate to contact Dominique Hazael-Massieux (dom@w3.org) before 20 November if you think your submission got lost.

The Program Committee may ask the authors of particularly salient position papers to explicitly present their position at the workshop. Presenters will be asked to make the slides of any presentations available to the public in HTML, PDF, or plain text.

What to put in a position paper?

First, what is their purpose? They are the frameworks for participant discussion at the workshop. The author (or multiple authors) takes a topic about which they consider themselves to be experts/thought leaders, describes the topic in depth (provide historical context or any data from experience, for example) and develops the list of challenges/risks, and/or can propose solution(s).

You might want to review a few samples of past workshop position papers for an idea of the variety within the category, e.g. the list of position papers submitted for the Video on the Web Workshop, December 2007.

The Programme Committee reviews the position papers submitted, then develops the agenda for the meeting on the basis of the contributions of participants, some authors are invited to present their positions as invited talks.


All papers should be 1 to 5 pages, although they may link to longer versions or appendixes. They must be in English. Allowed formats are HTML/XHTML, PDF, or plain text.

2. Workshop Organization

Workshop sessions and documents will be in English.

2.1. Chairs

2.2. Program Committee

2.3. Deliverables

Position papers, agenda, accepted presentations, and post-workshop report will be published online.

3. Sponsorship

This workshop also offers a sponsorship program as a marketing opportunity that enables sponsors to showcase their organization and to communicate to the community of participants, and to the industry at large, that their organization is a driving force within the social networking industry. Sponsors reach those who are making decisions about the future of social networks, as well as those in the public who have come to rely on the Web and mobile as critical infrastructures for communicating with others and sharing social media.

Sponsors will be associated directly with the event which will gather experts in all aspects of social networking.

There are three levels of sponsorship: Platinum, Gold and Silver, offering a range of benefits. All the details of each level are available from the Sponsorship Program page.

For further information and expression of interest, please contact Dominique Hazael-Massieux (dom@w3.org) and Marie-Claire Forgue (mcf@w3.org). The deadline for requesting to take part in this opportunity is January 5 2009.

4. Important Dates

Date Event
14 October 2008 Call for Participation issued
20 November Deadline for position papers
24 November Deadline for requesting approval of late submission
3 December Deadline for late submissions
16 December Acceptance notification sent
18 December Program released
5 January 2009 End of sponsorship opportunity
7 January Deadline for Registration
15-16 January 2009 Workshop

5. Venue

See the venue page.