Lost in the Social Media Lingo?


Have you ever been part of a discussion about social media with people who are throwing terms around that you’ve never heard of and have no idea what they mean? Or have you ever read an article where the context of the newest social media terms don’t give any clue as to what it entails?

The following is a list of some of the most used social media terms and what they mean. Study up, do your own research on these terms then feel confident in participating in those discussions and reading those cutting edge compositions. Social media is here to stay. You may as well know what everyone’s talking about.

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Archive
An archive may refer to topics from an online discussion that has been closed but saved for later reference. On blogs, archives are collections of earlier items usually organized by week or month. You may still be able to comment on archived items.

Avatar
Avatars are graphical images representing people. They are what you are in virtual worlds. You can build a visual character with the body, clothes, behaviours, gender and name of your choice. This may or may not be an authentic representation of yourself.

Blog
Blogs are websites with dated items of content in reverse chronological order, self-published by bloggers. Items – sometimes called posts – may have keyword tags associated with them, are usually available as feeds, and often allow commenting. Blogs can offer readers the opportunity to comment on, and link to items. Because blog items can be made available from the site in a stream of content – known as an RSS feed – you can subscribe to them and read them through a newsreader or aggregator. That means you don’t have to visit a blog site to read it – you can pull the content to your desktop or a single website aggregator. Blogs are easy to set up, and update. Their disadvantage is that items can get buried under the growing heap of new content unless the author provides some signposting.

Blogosphere
Blogosphere is the term used to describe the totality of blogs on the Internet, and the conversations taking place within that sphere.

Blogroll
A blogroll is a list of sites displayed in the sidebar of blog, showing who the blogger reads regularly.

Champions
Champions: in order to get conversations started in an online community, you need a group of enthusiasts willing and confident to get things moving by posting messages, responding, and helping others.

Chat
Chat is interaction on a web site, with a number of people adding text items one after the other into the same space at (almost) the same time. A place for chat – chat room – differs from a forum because conversations happen in “real time”, rather as they do face to face.

Content
Content is used here to describe text, pictures, video and any other meaningful material that is on the Internet.

Cyberspace
Cyberspace has been widely used as a general term for the Internet or World Wide Web. More recently blogosphere has emerged as a term for interconnected blogs.

Feed
Feeds are the means by which you can read, view or listen to items from blogs and other RSS-enabled sites without visiting the site, by subscribing and using an aggregator or newsreader. Feeds contain the content of an item and any associated tags without the design or structure of a web page.

Folksonomy
Taxonomies are centralised ways of classifying information – as in libraries. Folksonomies are the way folk create less structured ways of classifying by adding tags.

Forum
Forums are discussion areas on websites, where people can post messages or comment on existing messages asynchronously – that is, independently of time or place. Chat is the synchronous equivalent. Before blogs developed, email lists and forums were the main means of conversing online. Forum discussions happen in one place, and so can be managed and facilitated in ways that blog conversations can’t because these are happening in many different places controlled by their authors.

Friend
Friends, on social networking sites, are contacts whose profile you link to in your profile. On some sites people have to accept the link, in others, not.

Instance Messaging
IM is chat with one other person. using an IM tool like AOL Instant Messenger, Microsoft Live Messenger or Yahoo Messenger. The tools allow you to indicate whether or not you are available for a chat, and if so can be a good alternative to emails for a rapid exchange. Problem arise when people in a group are using different IM tools that don’t connect. One way around this is to use a common Voice over IP tool like Skype that also provides IM.

Link
Links are the highlighted text or images that, when clicked, jump you from one web page or item of content to another. Bloggers use links a lot when writing, to reference their own or other content. Linking is another aspect of sharing, by which you offer content that may be linked, and acknowledge the value of other’s people’s contributions by linking to them. It is part of being open and generous.

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Lurker
Lurkers are people who read but don’t contribute or add comments to forums. The one per cent rule-of-thumb suggests about one per cent of people contribute new content to an online community, another nine percent comment, and the rest lurk. However, this may not be a passive role because content read on forums may spark interaction elsewhere.

Mashup
A mashup is a digital media file containing any or all of text, graphics, audio, video, and animation, which recombines and modifies existing digital works to create a derivative work.

Newsreader
A newsreader is a website or desktop tool that act as an aggregator, gathering content from blogs and similar sites using RSS feeds so you can read the content in one place, instead of having to visit different sites.

Peer-to-Peer
Peer-to-peer refers to direct interaction between two people in a network. In that network, each peer will be connected to other peers, opening the opportunity for further sharing and learning.

Permalink
Permalink is the address (URL) of an item of content, for example a blog post, rather than the address of a web page with lots of different items. You will often find it at the end of a blog post.

Podcast
A podcast is audio or video content that can be downloaded automatically through a subscription to a website so you can view or listen offline.

Post
A post is an item on a blog or forum.

Profiles
Profiles are the information that you provide about yourself when signing up for a social networking site. As well as a picture and basic information, this may include your personal and business interests, a “blurb” about yourself, and tags to help people search for like-minded people.

RSS
RSS is short for Really Simple Syndication. This allows you to subscribe to content on blogs and other social media and have it delivered to you through a feed.

Social Media
Social media is a term for the tools and platforms people use to publish, converse and share content online. The tools include blogs, wikis, podcasts, and sites to share photos and bookmarks.

Social Networking
Social networking sites are online places where users can create a profile for themselves, and then socialize with others using a range of social media tools including blogs, video, images, tagging, lists of friends, forums and messaging.

Startpage
A startpage – like Pageflakes, Netvibes or Google Personalised Home page – is web page that you can configure to pull in content from a range of web-based services including email, feeds from blogs and news services. It is a multi-purpose aggregator. Home pages used to be static affairs providing a sort of shop window for a site. They can now be your ever-changing window into the Net, and a way of organizing a lot of different activities.

Subscribe
Subscribing is the process of adding an RSS feed to your aggregator or newsreader. It’s the online equivalent of signing up for a magazine, but usually free.

Tag
Tags are keywords attached to a blog post, bookmark, photo or other item of content so you and others can find them easily through searches and aggregation. Tags can usually be freely chosen – and so form part of a folksonomy – while categories are predetermined and are part of a taxonomy.

Taxonomy
Taxonomy is an organised way of classifying content, as in a library. Providing contributors to a site with a set of categories under which they can add content is offering a taxonomy. Allowing people to add their own keywords is to endorse folksonomy.

Thread
Threads are strands of conversation. On an email list or web forum they will be defined by messages that use the use the same subject. On blogs they are less clearly defined, but emerge through comments and trackbacks.

Trackback
Some blogs provide a facility for other bloggers to leave a calling card automatically, instead of commenting. Blogger A may write on blog A about an item on blogger B’s site, and through the trackback facility leave a link on B’s site back to A. The collection of comments and trackbacks on a site facilitates conversations.

URL
Unique Resource Locator is the technical term for a web address like http://www.gc.ca.

Web 2.0
Web 2.0 is a term coined by O’Reilly Media in 2004 to describe blogs, wikis, social networking sites and other Internet-based services that emphasize collaboration and sharing, rather than less interactive publishing (Web 1.0). It is associated with the idea of the Internet as platform.

Web-based Tools
Google, Yahoo and a host of other commercial organisations provide an increasing range of free or low-cost tools including email, calendars, word processing, and spreadsheets that can be used on the web rather than your desktop. Provided you are happy to entrust your data to these organizations – and are always online when working – you can reduce your software costs significantly and forget about upgrades.

Widgets
Widgets are a stand-alone applications you can embed in other applications, like a website or a desktop, or view on its own on a PDA. These may help you to do things like subscribe to a feed, do a specialist search, or even make a donation.

Whiteboard
Whiteboards online are the equivalent of glossy surfaces where you can write with an appropriate marker pen and wipe off later. They are tools that enable you to write or sketch on a web page, and as such are useful in collaboration online.

Wiki
A wiki is a web page – or set of pages – that can be edited collaboratively. The best known example is wikipedia, an encyclopedia created by thousands of contributors across the world. Once people have appropriate permissions – set by the wiki owner – they can create pages and/or add to and alter existing pages. Wikis are a good way for people to write a document together, instead of emailing files to and fro. You don’t have to use wikis for collaborative working – they can just be a quick and easy way of creating a web site.

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Definitions collected from http://socialmedia.wikispaces.com/A-Z+of+social+media.

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About brianwawryk
PMP and Prince2 certified project manager.

4 Responses to Lost in the Social Media Lingo?

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