W3C on social media

Note: This page used to be the home of the Social Web activity, whose work ended after successful completion of the ActivityPub W3C Recommendation of 23 January 2018. See below for earlier content.





Social media guidelines for the W3C Team and collaborators

These guidelines apply to W3C Groups or Team members who post or contribute on the w3c.social Mastodon instance, or other social media site in the name of the W3C Groups or the organization.


Participation in online discourse creates opportunities for groups to share directly about their W3C work with the web community. At the same time, it opens the door to risk, as comments made outside the W3C's official accounts can still have unintended negative consequences on W3C's reputation.

The W3C Communications Team will be considered to own all social media accounts using the name of a W3C Group or Activity; though day-to-day control and posting to accounts will be at the discretion of a designated contact from the Group or Activity. All participants who wish to represent a W3C Group online must review and follow the below guidelines prior to beginning or continuing these activities. These guidelines will evolve and change and we welcome your feedback (at w3t-pr@w3.org).


The guidelines elements below are mostly tailored specifically for group accounts. Individual accounts by Team would be considered personal or non-work but should still follow guidelines for careful and professional conduct.

  1. [for a group account] Identify who from the group will be posting and let the Comm Team know.
    Consider how often your Group will be posting and who, if anyone, will be checking notifications and mentions and responding.
  2. Create good and relevant content.
    Be informative, ensure your content is accessible to people with disabilities.
  3. Create a community! Be social!
    Like other social media, finding people and organizations you know and following them and hopefully getting followed back increases the reach of your posts. “@-ing” other accounts (e.g., using @username) to tag related accounts can help your posts get more views and wider impact. If you would like the @w3c account to boost your post, let us know (at w3t-pr@w3.org).
  4. [for a group account] Social media entries posted by Group participants are understood to generally represent the consensus of the Group.
  5. Be careful about what you state.
    Even if you are speaking as an individual you will be perceived as speaking for your Group and your Group may be perceived as speaking on behalf of all of W3C. Groups should refrain from posting about areas of contention within W3C or amongst Members.
  6. Always express ideas and opinions in a respectful manner.
    Refrain from denigrating or insulting others, including other Members or competitors. If disagreeing with others' opinions, keep it appropriate and polite. If you find yourself in a situation online that looks as if it is becoming antagonistic, do not get overly defensive. Feel free to ask the Communications Team for advice and/or just disengage from the dialogue in a polite manner.
  7. Make sure your efforts to be transparent don't violate W3C's privacy, confidentiality, and Member confidentiality (W3C Process Document).
    Ask yourself if the piece of information is for public consumption. From a confidentiality standpoint avoid identifying and discussing others unless you have their permission.
  8. Respect copyright and fair use laws.
    Always obtain permission before posting pictures of others or before posting copyrighted work (including text, photos, video, etc.)
  9. [for a group account] Stick to your area of expertise.
    You are an expert in your field, however, please address only what is related to the work of your Group.
  10. Avoid marketing.
    Do not use the account to advertise products, services or slogans.

Who may, and how to sign up for a w3c.social account?

w3c.social is a friendly and respectful Mastodon instance for people involved in the activities of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The instance is run on a volunteer basis by a few individuals from the W3C team.

We invite constructive and kind comments as they foster positive interactions!


@W3C left X/Twitter in December 2023 and continues to post only on Mastodon and LinkedIn.

Mastodon is powered by W3C’s ActivityPub protocol. Mastodon is a free, open-source, self-hosted social networking site. Services are offered on independently run servers, known as instances. It has features similar to X/Twitter.

Each Mastodon account is a member of a specific instance that can interact with users on other instance. This allows people to select an instance whose subject areas and policies they prefer, but keep access to a larger federated social network.


If you have been running an X/Twitter account for a W3C group, we ask you to leave X/Twitter too, and if possible, move to Mastodon. The more W3C groups join Mastodon, the stronger W3C ecosystem/community that we can create there.

If any W3C Working Group or Interest Group wish to join the w3c.social Mastodon instance to promote, within our guidelines, the work of their group, we would be happy to welcome you.

  1. Read the instance rules from the about page
  2. Signing-up is done from a private window (to be sure not to be already authenticated in Mastodon), via https://w3c.social/ by clicking “create account” on the right-hand side, and supplying the reason(s) why you join the instance (e.g., on behalf of which group).
  3. The W3C Communications team requires that you then share (via the internal w3t-pr@w3.org mailing list) the account's username/password. We will keep it confidential.
  4. If/when the work of your group is complete, please announce it and ask the Comm Team to archive the account.

Please note, the W3C Communications Team gives groups broad discretion in what they post and will strive not to intervene except in situations like crisis or defamation; a group closing; or the account falling fallow (no posting in more than a few months).

We know you have a lot to share, that you care, and that your group is doing its best. We invite you to join our community on Mastodon and let us know more about your work!

Coralie Mercier, Head of W3C Marketing & Communications
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W3C Social Activity

The Social Activity was home to the Social Web Working Group and Interest group between July 2014 and February 2018. The Activity is closed.

The W3C Social Activity (slogan: Standardizing the Social Web) related to the Data Activity and Security Activity.

For definitions of terms such as "social" and "activity", please see the W3C Social XG report A Standards-based, Open and Privacy-aware Social Web.

The focus of the Social Activity is on making "social" a first-class citizen of the Open Web Platform by enabling standardized protocols, APIs, and an architecture for standardized communication among Socal Web applications. These technologies are crucial for both federated social networking and the success of social business between and within the enterprise.

The Social Web Working Group is committed to the technical standardization work of the following deliverables:

The Social Interest Group focuses on messaging and co-ordination in the larger space. This work will include a use-case document, including "social business" enterprise use-cases. Their work may include the following Interest Group Note deliverables:

A significant number of existing W3C members from industry have expressed interest in this work, ranging from large enterprises to start-ups as well as non-profit and academic institutions. Interest includes existing Community Groups such as the Federated Social Web Community Group and Social Business Community Group and these groups may continue to provide important input to the new Working Group and Interest Group in the Social Activity.

The Social Activity continues liaison work with the ActivityStream community, the OpenSocial Foundation, IETF, Microformats and IndieWeb community, and well as possibly OpenID Foundation and other communities.

Context & Vision

Interoperability around social should be standardized in order to allow communication between heterogeneous Web applications that feature explicitly social features such as status updates and user profiles. Currently, APIs and protocols in this space do not allow easy transfer of social data between existing systems, as is required by many "social business" systems for both business-to-business and business-to-customer relationships. Second, the lack of a standard API prevents Web application developers from embedding social functionality from third-party sites into their Web applications easily. Lastly, many users and organizations wish to have autonomous control over their own social data while sharing it in a decentralized manner, which requires a Web-based protocol for federation.

The Social Activity has been a goal of many members of W3C. The Future of Social Networking Workshop was held in 2009 and attracted significant mobile and academic interest, and led to the creation of the Social Web Incubator that produced Towards a Standards-based, Open, and Privacy-Aware Social Web. Outcomes of this report included the more open Community Group process, since much social web work was happening outside W3C as the W3C was at the time viewed as too exclusive of grass-roots efforts like ActivityStreams and PortableContacts. This also led to further outreach, with the W3C sponsoring and helping organize the grass-roots Federated Social Web conference. However, at the time there was still not critical mass of W3C members interested in social. The W3C "Headlights" Social Taskforce was then started to discuss the topic with members and create a "block-diagram" of the space.

More and more W3C members are embracing the concept of social standards, thank to the work of the Social Business Community Group, in particular the 2011 Social Business Jam and the 2012 CTO Guide to Social Business. The Social Standards: The Future of Business workshop (August 7-8th, sponsored by IBM and the Open Mobile Alliance) developed the standards and ideas in this activity statement, see the Final Report of the workshop for more details. In particular, after the workshop the OpenSocial Foundation joined the W3C, and submitted (with other groups) the OpenSocial Activity Streams and Embedded Experience API as a Member Submission.

This work is funded in part by the European Commission through the DCENT Project, which creates privacy-aware tools and applications for direct democracy and economic empowerment.

Harry Halpin, Social Activity Lead

Coralie Mercier, Head of W3C Marketing & Communications
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