Most people can use social media in at least one way to make life easier. And because of the rapid pace with which social media is permeating our lives, social media literacy is increasingly important. The following is an A-Z glossary of social media terminology to help you understand Web 2.0 jargon.
A is for AJAX
B is for Blogroll
A blogroll is a list of blogs on a blog that a blogger reads and or thinks are useful sources of information related to a given topic.
C is for Chicklet
A chicklet is another name for an RSS button. An RSS button is an icon that makes it easy for visitors to your website to subscribe to your content as it’s added. Examples are “Add to My Yahoo” or “Bloglines.”
D is for Del.icio.us
Del.icio.us is one of a plethora of social bookmarking sites where you can create lists of bookmarks like you would with your web browser (Ctrl+D), but like a bookmark list on steroids that you can access from any computer, share with the world, and categorize with tags (see T).
E is for Embed a YouTube Video
You can add a video from YouTube (see Y) to your blog, site or MySpace page with a simple code that will display the video you want.
F is for Folksonomy
Folksonomy is like a taxonomy (way of classifying something) used by regular “folks” on a social media site. For example, if someone bookmarks a news story with “technology,” “cellphones,” “telecommunication” and “Nokia,” this tells the community what the news story is about without having to read it.
G is for Groups
Most social media sites allow you to build networks with other users profiles. You can also find new people through your contacts by surfing their networks or by surfing tags.
H is for Hacks
A hack is a piece of code that helps you customize or improve the functionality of a software product such as a blog program or a content management system. An example would be adding some code that would allow you to put chicklets at the bottom of blog posts.
I is for Image Attribute
The image attribute is an HTML element used to describe Web photos. This helps search engines understand what the picture relates to, and also helps visually impaired people who use text reading software “see” your pictures. Adding image attributes to your blog’s images can help your site rank higher.
K is Knowledge Economy
Knowledge economy describes the use of knowledge to produce economic benefits. Social media is a way of sharing knowledge on a grand scale, using computer hardware and software, interactive websites, self-publishing platforms like blogs, forums and wikis (see W). This mass movement of knowledge may be monetized in many ways including affiliate revenues, e-books, software sales and service contracts that began with a search online, all contributing to the worldwide economy.
A number of New Zealand businesses had been identified as being highly innovative and leading their fields as a result of the knowledge and intellectual creativity that went into their products and services. The resulting success is seen as a pathway for others to follow.
Various observers describe today’s global economy as one in transition to a “knowledge economy”, or an “information society”. But the rules and practices that determined success in the industrial economy of the 20th century need rewriting in an interconnected world where resources such as know-how are more critical than other economic resources.
Here, there may be a need to differentiate with the Web Economy of Google, Skype and eBay that seems to have created wealth based more on services dependent on mass interconnectivity rather than on knowledge-based skills.
L is for Linkbait
Linkbait is an SEO term for really awesome content that attracts links naturally by virtue that it’s really good content. This could be a great blog post, a useful web tool or something similar.
M is for Moblogging
When you post a blog entry, photo or photo to the web while away from your computer, you are moblogging or mobile blogging. You could use a digital camera, PDA or cellphone to moblog as long as you have access to the WWW from it.
N is for Newsreader
A newsreader (or news aggregator) translates any RSS or Atom feeds (see above) for websites, blogs, podcasts or other news services you subscribe to. Remember that raw feeds are not reader friendly as is, so you need something to convert it into something you can make sense out of.
A couple examples are Bloglines and NewsGator.
O is for Open Source
Open source code is software code that is available to the general public without licensing restrictions. This is useful to people who know how to use the code (programmers) so they can make innovative social media sites.
P is for Ping
Generally, PING stands for “Packet Internet Groper.” A PING is a basic program used to verify that an IP address can be seen by another. With respect to pinging your blog, you want another site such as Technorati or Google’s blog search engine to know that you’ve added new content, so it knows to come visit your with it’s robot and take a snapshot of your new content to add to its database.
Q is for Query String
Hey, Q’s not that easy! A query string is that stuff that follows the ? in a URL, like
If you’re blogging, it’s a good idea to use WordPress or other blog platform that will clean up your URLs so they are “clean” and search engines (and users) can make more sense of your URLs as you can take advantage of using valuable keywords in place of &s and %s. That way more people will find your blog / podcast / website.
R is for RSS
RSS stands for Rich Site Summary, but most folks like to call it Real Simple Syndication, because that describes its function quite well. An RSS feed is simply an XML (see X below) file full of code that newsreaders / news aggregators can easily digest and translate into a copy of your website’s content on another site (syndicated content).
S is for Sock Puppet Spam
We’ve all had our inboxes invaded by unsolicited mail which we refer to as spam. But there are many types of spam on the Internet besides email spam. For example, link spam happens when webmasters post in forums or otherwise leave their URL somewhere simply for the purpose of gaining a link. With blogs, comment spam can be a problem too. Users who leave totally irrelevant comments about Rolex watches are as unsavoury as canned ham. Spammers now have a new way to exploit social media for their own (temporary and futile) gain — creating “sock puppet” profiles to increase their networks in MySpace, submit or vote on their own content in Digg or to ask and answer their own questions in Yahoo! Answers.
T is for Tag Cloud
A tag cloud gives you a visual idea of tag popularity for a blog or other social media site. The more popular a tag, the bigger the text appears in the cloud. You can click on any word to jump to all the posts that “tagged” each keyword. A cool way of organizing a “taggsonomy” and letting users discover tags as opposed to a boring navigation menu.
U is for User Generated Content
Websites usually push content at you. But when a website supports community and allows its members to add their own content using various media, its content is user generated. Simple as that. Forums, blog comments, 43Things, Flickr accounts, MySpace and so on.
V is for Vlogging
W is for Wiki
Wiki-Wiki is a Hawaiian term for “rapidly.” So a wiki is a website that any registered user can not only add content to but also edit content for. Some businesses also use wiki pages for project management internally. Public examples are Wikipedia and LoveToKnow.
X is for XML
XML is what you get when you apply the tagging concept to HTML coding. With XML language (Extensible Markup Language) allows coders to use their own tag descriptions. For example, you could have Curious George and The Man in The Yellow Hat as tags if you wanted to. XML is useful to social media advancement as it puts the X in AJAX. And it makes RSS feeds possible.
Y is for YouTube
You were named Time Magazine Person of the Year thanks to YouTube, a website that made stars of ordinary people by allowing users to upload their own videos.
Z is for Zoominfo
Zoominfo is an example of a business/social networking site that is useful to recruiters and job seekers. It’s basically a niche search engine that allows you to search for information about a company or person using natural language programming, a type of artificial intelligence. You can read more about Zoominfo and its technology on Wikipedia.