October 30, 2013 / By Taylor Blog
The AP Style Guide has been the PR industry standard for style, grammar and formatting since 1953. The Mozilla Foundation has just released the The Web Literacy Standard, a thorough guide of essential skills and best practices for reading, writing and interacting effectively on the web. With the AP guide pushing 60, and the entire PR industry going digital, TWLS could be the 21st Century flacks go to reference for creating web content. While TWLS is not nearly as granular as the AP Style Guide, over time as the project progresses it will develop into a resource with similar depth with a technology focus.
Mozilla, the global community of web-focused technologists (you probably know them as the creators of the Firefox browser) has created this guide to educate content creators, coders and designers and improve the overall quality of the web. These are the essential skills you need to hone to live and work in a web focused world. The guide is divided into three sections: Exploring, Building and Connecting.
The exploring section deals with technical matters like security, making content searchable and information management. It includes a section on credibility, which is invaluable for any PR person. Learning how to properly research and evaluate the veracity of stories and references on the web is must have skill, You don’t want to have a client end up on Snopes.
The building section is focused on how to create and display content online. The best practices laid out here cover the entire spectrum of content that you might share or create: hyperlinks, multimedia embeds, using HTML5 tags and how to structure a web page. With the popularity of memes, and the industry wide desire to create shareable content the remixing best practices define how to create shareable content, and share content others create, all in an above board and compliant way. The standards for accessibility and infrastructure provide the language you need to be certain that everyone viewing your web properties has the best experience possible.
The final section, connecting, is relevant to anyone working in social media. It covers community participation, including building communities and the best way to express opinions online and avoid conflicts. Online privacy is a hot topic, and is covered here with a focus on managing your online persona that is essential for brands and working PR professionals.
The guide is currently in version 1.0, and the plan is to expand it like a wiki through community participation over time. Reading through the standards wiki, and reviewing and participating in the community calls is a great way to educate yourself on these topics. These standards are relevant now, and will become more important as time goes on and everything shifts into the digital realm.