Recommender systems are a means of personalizing the presentation of information to ensure that users see the items most relevant to them. The social web has added new dimensions to the way people interact on the Internet, placing the emphasis on user-generated content. Users in social networks create photos, videos and other artifacts, collaborate with other users, socialize with their friends and share their opinions online. This outpouring of material has brought increased attention to recommender systems, as a means of managing this vast universe of content. At the same time, the diversity and complexity of the data has meant new challenges for researchers in recommendation. This article describes the nature of recommendation research in social web applications and provides some illustrative examples of current research directions and techniques. It is difficult to overstate the impact of the social web. This new breed of social applications is reshaping nearly every human activity from the way people watch movies to how they overthrow governments. Facebook allows its members to maintain friendships whether they live next door or on another continent. With Twitter, users from celebrities to ordinary folks can launch their 140 character messages out to a diverse horde of ‘‘followers.” Flickr and YouTube users upload their personal media to share with the world, while Wikipedia editors collaborate on the world’s largest encyclopedia.