From W3C Wiki
Note: This page is a community-created page, and is preserved for historical purposes
See the Social Web Working Group for current W3C work on the Social Web.

2010 Era Historical Snapshot

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
    • FOAF, the Friend-Of-A-Friend ontology, to describe people and the most basic relation to other people
    • SIOC, Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities, to describe communities and publishing spaces
    • ...
  • 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