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A-Z of Social Media
Category: Electronics and Engineering > Social Network terms
Date & country: 30/07/2013, US
Words: 101


Aggregation
is the process of gathering and remixing content from blogs and other websites that provide RSS feeds. The results may be displayed in an aggregator website like Bloglines or Google Reader, or directly on your desktop using software often also called a newsreader.

Alerts
search engines allow you to specify words, phrases or tags that you want checked periodically, with results of those searches returned to you by email. You may also be able to read the searches by RSS feed. This form of search allows you to check whether you, your organisation, your blog or blog item has been mentioned elsewhere, and so to respon...

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 organised by week or month. You may still be able to comment on archived items.

Asynchronous
communications are independent of time or place, and messages go to and fro rather than appearing in one place at almost the same time (synchronous communication). Examples of asynchronous communication are email lists, bulletin boards and forums.

Authenticity
is the sense that something or someone is

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.

Back channel
communications are private emails or other messages sent by the facilitator or between individuals during public conferencing. They can have a significant effect on the way that public conversations go.

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

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

Blogs
are websites with dated items of content in reverse chronological order, self-published by bloggers. Items

Bookmarking
is saving the address of a website or item of content, either in your brower, or on a social bookmarking site like del.icio.us. If you add tags, others can easily use your research too, and the social bookmarking site becomes an emormous public library. If groups agree the tags they'll use, it makes collaborative reearch much easier.

browser
is the tool used to view websites, and access all the content available there onscreen or by downloading. Browsers may also have features including the ability to read feeds, write blog items, view and upload photos to photosharing sites. Browsers have become the central tool for using social media as more and more tools previously used on our desk...

Bulletin boards
were the early vehicles for online collaboration, where users connected with a central computer to post and read email-like messages. They were the electronic equivalent of public notice boards. The term is still used for forums.

Categories
are pre-specified ways to organise content - for example, a set of keywords that you can use but not add to when posting on a site. They form part of a taxonomy.

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
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

Collaboration
: social media tools from email lists to virtual worlds offer enormous scope for collaboration. Low-risk activities like commenting, social bookmarking, chatting and blogging help develop the trust necessary for collaboration.

Collective intelligence
has been defined by George P

Comments
: blogs may allow readers to add comments under items, and may also provide a feed for comments as well as for main items. That mean you can keep up with conversations without having to revisit the site to check whether anything has been added.

Commitment
: the

communities
are groups of people communicating mainly through the Internet. They may simply have a shared interest to talk about ... or more formally learn from each other and find solutions as a Community of Practice. Online communities may use email lists or forums, where content is centralised. Communities may also emerge from conversations around or betwee...

Community building
is the process of recruiting potential community or network participants, helping them to find shared interests and goals, use the technology, and develop useful conversations. A number of different roles may be involved.

conference
is what happens in a forum: it is the conversations of those involved, organised around topics, threads, and a theme or subject.

Connections
: as high-speed, always-on, broadband connections becomes more widely available, it is easy to forget that the speed and nature of Internet connection available to people on a network will determine what tools they can use. If people are still using slow telephone dialup they may have problems with video and voice over IP. If they don't have an alw...

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

Content management systems
(CMS) are sometime described as the Swiss Army knives of social media. They are software suites offering the ability to create static web pages, document stores, blog, wikis, and other tools. CMSs have the advantage of offering comprehensive solutions - but can be challenging to configure, and each of the different tools may not be quite as good as...

Control
: social networking is difficult to control because if people can't say something in one place they can blog or comment elsewhere. That can be challenging for hierarchical organisations used to centrally-managed websites.

Conversation
through blogging, commenting or contributing to forums is the currency of social networking.

Copyright
*: sharing through social media is enhanced by attaching a Creative Commons license specifying, for example, that content may be re-used with attribution, provided that a similar license is then attached by the new author. This work is under tghat type of license - Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 2.5 License

Crowdsourcing
refers to harnessing the skills and enthusiasm of those outside an organisation who are prepared to volunteer their time contributing content and solving problems.

Culture
: social media only works well in a culture of openness, where people are prepared to share. For that reason, commitment and attitude are as important as tools. Creative two-way communication and collaboration is unlikely to flourish in an organisation where the norm is top-down control. When people in that sort of culture talk about networking the...

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.

Default
, in computing, refers to the settings on any device that come

Democracy
: Social networking and media are potentially attractive to those who want to revive representative democracy, and those who promote participative approaches ... or both. Social media offers politicians and their constituents another communication channel. It also offers a wide range of methods for people to discuss, deliberate and take action.

download
is to retrieve a file or other content from an Internet site to your computer or other device. See Upload.

Ego searches
. See alerts

Email
: Electronic mail is messages transmitted over the Internet. These may be simply text, or acompanied by attachments like documents, images or other content.

Email lists
, or groups, are important networking tools offering the facility to

Face-to-face
(f2) is used to describe people meeting offline. While social media may reduce the need to meet, direct contact gives far more clues, quickly, about a person than you can get online. Online interaction is likely to be richer after f2f meetings.

facilitator
is someone who helps people in an online group or forum manage their conversations. They may help agree a set of rules, draw out topics for discussion, gently keep people on topic, and summarise. See also roles.

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.

Forums
are discussion areas on websites, where people can post messages or comment on existing messages asynchronously

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.

Groups
are collections of individuals with some sense of unity through their activities, interests or values. They are bounded: you are in a group, or not. They differ in this from networks, which are dispersed, and defined by nodes and connections. Email lists and forums sit easily with bounded groups, blogs with networks - although the match with tools ...

Host
(as in web host)

Joining up
is a big opportunity - and challenge - in the world of social media and networking. On the one hand links, tags and feeds - together with the spirit of openness - means content in different places can be brought together (aggregated). On the other hand, the move from groups to networks, and forums to blogs, means that content is spread around and t...

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 t...

Listening
in the blogosphere is the art of skimming feeds to see what topics are bubbling up, and also setting up searches that monitor when you or your organisation is mentioned.

location
and presence is changed by the Internet and social media, because you can be active online in many different places, including in virtual worlds.

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.

Mashups
* are the smart mixes that techies do to combine several tools to create a new web services.

Meetings
are important in social networking in at least two ways. First, they accelerate the process of people getting to know each other. See Face-to-face. Second, the open and fluid style of social media is making those using it impatient with committee-style meetings and conferences dominated by platform speakers. With a little commitment it is possible ...

Membership
involves belonging to a group. Networking can offer some of the benefits of group membership, without the need for as much central co-ordination. A rise in networking may present challenges for organisations who depend on membership for funds or to demonstrate their credibility.

Networks
are structures defined by nodes and the connections between them. In social networks the nodes are people, and the connections are the relationships that they have. Networking is the process by which you develop and strengthen those relationships.

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.

Offline
means not online, that is, not connected to the Internet. It may refer to an unconnected computer, or activities taking place without the benefit (or perhaps distraction) of a connection.

Online
means being connected to the Internet, and also being there in the sense of reading or producing content.

Openness
is being prepared to share and collaborate

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
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.

Photosharing
is uploading your images to a website like Flickr. You can add tags and offer people the opportunity to comment or even re-use your photos if you add an appropriate copyright license.

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
is an item on a blog or forum.

Presence
online has (at least) two aspects. One is whether you show up when someone does a search on your name. If not, no good pretending to be an online guru. The second is whether you use tools that show you are available for contact by instant messaging, voice over IP, or other synchronous methods of communication.

Proprietary
* software, unlike Open-source software, is owned by someone - whether Microspoft or a an individual developer. Some proprietary software may be free, and some open-source software may be sold. The issue is the terms under which the underlying code is available.

Registration
is the process of providing a username, password and other details when seeking to access a website that has restricted access. See logging in.

Remixing
: social media offers the possibility of taking different items of content, identified by tags and published through feeds, and combining them in different ways. You can do this with other people's content if they add an appropriate copyright license.

Roles
: parties need hosting, committees need chairing, working groups may need facilitation. Online networks and communities need support from people who may be called, for example, technology stewards or network weavers. Champions are the core group of enthusiasts you need to start a community.

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.

Searching
for information on the Net is done using a search engine, of which Google is the best known. Specialist search engines like Technorati concentrate on blogs. As well as searching by word or phrase you can search on tags, and so find content others have keyworded.

Sharing
is offering other people the use of your text, images, video, bookmarks or other content by adding tags, and applying copyright licenses that encourage use of content.

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

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-ch...

Stories,
as well as conversations, are a strong theme in blogging. Anecdotes, bits of gossip and longer narratives work particularly well on blogs if they have a personal angle. It helps others get to know the blogger - and helps the blogger find and extend their voice.

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.

Synchronous
communications are those occurring in real time, like chat, audio or video. Face-to-face communication is synchronous in the same place. Telephony is synchronous, in different places, The Internet extends the scope for both types of communication.

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
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.

technology steward
is someone who can facilitate community and network development. Nancy White offers the definition:

Teleconferencing
is holding a meeting without being in the same place, using a network connection and tools like Voice over IP, Instant Messaging, Video, and Whiteboards.

Terms of services
are the basis on which you agree to use a forum or other web-based place for creating or sharing content. Check before agreeing what rights the site owners may claim over your content.

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.

Tool
is used here as shorthand for a software applications on your computer, and also for applications that are Web-based.

topic
in an online discussion is an idea, issue - talking point - in a conversation that is made up of threads.

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.

Transparency
: Enhancing searching, sharing, self-publish and commenting across networks makes it easier to find out what's going on in any situation where there is online activity.

Troll
: A hurtful but possibly valuable loser who, for whatever reason, is both obsessed by and constantly annoyed with, and deeply offended by everything you write on your blog. You may be able to stop them commenting on your blog, but you can

upload
is to transfer a file or other content from your computer to an Internet site.

URL
: Unique Resource Locator is the technical term for a web address like http://www.bbc.co.uk

User generated content
is text, photos and other material produced by people who previously just consumed. See content.

Video
Many digital cameras and mobile phones take videos good enough to view on the Net. Sites like YouTube and blip.tv now make it easy to open an account, upload and share your videos. These sites will also provide some unique code for each video so you can, if you wish, embed the video in a blog post. Short interviews that

Virtual worlds
are online places like Second Life, where you can create a representation of yourself (an avatar) and socialise with other residents. Basic activity is free, but you can buy currency (using real money) in order to purchase land and trade with other residents. Second Life is being used by some voluntary organisations to run discussions, virtual even...

voice
online Social media enables you to extend your voice by increasing your reach across the Net, and doing that in the way that suits you best. You can write - or if you are a visual person you can upload photos or other images and invite comments. If you prefer talking, use Voice over IP, or perhaps record and upload a podcast, capture interviews and...

Voice over Internet Protocol
(VOIP) enables you to use a computer or other Internet device for phone calls without additional charge, including conference calls. By using headphones and a microphone you can also free your hands to use instant messaging to keep a shared note of conversations, or use other virtual presence tools. You can use Voice over IP to do interviews for Po...

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 organisations - and are always online when working - you can reduc...

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.

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.