Social Media Glossary by elfphabet2

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									Social Media Glossary
This glossary is updated on a regular basis.


AIM is America Online’s (AOL) instant messenger service. It is a free service that works on all platforms
and at the moment it is the most widely used instant messenger service in the United States. In addition to
person-to-person instant messaging AIM enables the user to share peer-to-peer files and take part in
chatrooms. Later developments include video conferencing, user updates as RSS feeds and the ability to send
messages to contacts whom were offline.

Alexa Internet

Alexa operates a website that provides information on web traffic to other websites. It was founded in 1996
with the aim to track Internet user decisions and behavior in order to better their search engine. However
once it was clear that Alexa’s search engine was unable to compete with that of Google they refined their
services to gathering information and statistics on Internet traffic ranking.


Baidu is the leading Chinese language search engine, ranked 11 on Alexa. The percent of global Internet
users who visit Baidu is on average 4.89%, compared to Google’s (most visited site on the Internet) 29.30%.


Basecamp is one of the leading web-based project collaboration tools. There are four different accounts users
can choose from varying on the size and needs of an organization ranging from $24/month to $149/month.

The website enables the customization of its look to suit the needs of the user. All clients and projects are put
into the Dashboard screen where they can be viewed all at the same time. Other tools include to-do-lists,
message boards and file sharing.

Basecamp also has integrated time management tools that keep track of deadlines and shows who is
responsible for them. There are also special features for users who have chosen ‘plus’, ‘premium’ or ‘max’
plans such as Time Tracking a feature that calculates and organizes the amount of time spent working on
specific projects.There are also a number of extras and add-ons that anable users to tailor Basecamp to their
specific needs such as, accounting tools, time management tools, iPhone applications etc.


A social networking site frequented by the younger social networking generations. Bebo is an acronym for
“Blog early, Blog often”. Users are able to stay in touch with their friends by sharing photos, writing blogs
and sharing interests. is a video-service that offers mainly instructional videos to users. It also enables users to easily
generate their own video content.


Weblogs, or blogs, are websites that usually combine text, images, and links to other blogs and web sites
related to its topic. Many bloggers provide commentary or news on a particular subject while others use them
as forms of personal online diaries. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an
important part of the tool.

Blogs have been heralded as a revolution in mass communication. The popularity of blogs, is among others,
primarily due to the following factors:

    •   Starting a blog is easy, there’s no need for sophisticated knowledge of web publishing skills.

    •   Blogs are timely and allow for content updates without an editorial review

    •   The immediacy gives them the leverage to pick up on breaking news stories

    •   The tone of most bogs is informal and personal

    •   Most blog host services are free


Blogger is one of the most frequently used blog hosting website. Creating a blog via this host is easy, fast and
free. Due to the low threshold creating a blog via this service can be done in a matter of minutes.


Bloglines is a browser based free RSS reader service (see RSS reader). It allows the user to search news
feeds and blogs appealing to their personal interests and then to subscribe to these blogs. One of the features
that sets Bloglines apart from many other RSS readers is that it is web-based and thus possible to access from
different data terminals, such as a mobile phone.

Bookmarking and link sharing

Social bookmarking is a way of easily saving, tagging and sharing information online. In these systems,
saved links are usually public, though they can also be saved privately and shared only with specified people
or groups. Many services provide web feeds for their lists of bookmarks, including lists organized by tags.
This allows subscribers to become aware and discover new bookmarks as they are saved, shared, and tagged
by other users. The sites are free.

Digg, Yahoo!Buzz, and Reddit are a few examples of tools through which people can discover and share
content on the internet by submitting links and stories to the site, as well as rating and commenting on
submitted links and stories.
Collaborative tagging

See folksonomy. is currently the most popular bookmarking service (see bookmarking and link sharing). It has
more than three million users and 100 million saved URLs. uses tags and keywords (see Tags) to organize content. It is possible for the user to make their
own tags instead of choosing from a pre-set list. As a result using is very flexible and personal, in
the sense that the user can define and organize links according to his or her specific preference and needs (see


Diigo is a bookmarking and link sharing solution, which has the specific option of allowing the user to
highlight and add comments directly to the sites that have been bookmarked. As a result of this feature
researchers and lecturers use Diigo, as it allows them to view their comments and notes directly from their
list of bookmarks. Diigo caters to this interest with the possibility to create ‘educator accounts’.

It is also possible to search content from bookmarks as well as personal notes/comments. Another feature
makes it possible to discover resources and links on any interest subject as well as being able to send and
receive personalized recommendations.


Digg is the most popular social news filtering service which uses user generated bookmarking and link
sharing as content. Its main function is to allow users to compile and tag news articles of personal interest.
Each time a link is added, Digg automatically checks its database for previous postings of the same weblink.
When users add stories to their own interest lists it generates publicity for the link. If the topic generates a lot
of interest from a wide user base it moves up and becomes posted on Digg’s main page. All the while it is
possible to interact and discuss the topic with other users via Digg’s comments options.

See also bookmarking and link sharing.


DimDim is a free browser based video conferencing service, which only requires a Flash interface in order to
work. The service is free for up to 20 individual users in a conference.


Facebook is one of the most used social networking web services (see Social Networking), it has the most
unique visitors per month (overall +200 million users). The most popular, simple forms of sharing
information on Facebook are sending/forwarding a message to linked friends, posting a status update, posting
links, joining groups, causes or events, becoming fans of an issues/subject and downloading applications.
Facebook was originally made as a spin-off version of Facemash, a website where Harvard students were
able to rate pictures of each other. The Facebook was started in 2004 as a service only for Harvard College
students and within one month half of the undergraduates had registered on the service. A month later the
service expanded to include other universities in the area. Later in the year The Facebook became Facebook
and it continued its expansion. Finally in 2006 Facebook decided that it would open the service to everyone
over the age of 13 with a valid e-mail address.

For more, see the Facebook brief soon to be posted on m4id’s site.


Flickr is an image and video hosting website and online community, mainly used for sharing photographs.
The service is widely used by bloggers as a photo repository. Flickr hosts more than 3 billion images. Key
features include tagging photos, marking photos as favorites, group photo pools and ranking photos
according to interestingness.


The term folksonomy is derived from the words folk and taxonomy and is in essence a reference to user-
generated taxonomy. Therefore the main concept of folksonomy is the collaborative classification of
subjects. It encompasses, the practice and method of creating and managing tags and keywords.

Like all social media, folksonomy is not solely generated by experts and specialists but rather by the creators
and consumers of the content. It is mainly used in social bookmarking such as tagging weblinks on
bookmarking websites like


FriendFeed enables the user to keep up-to-date on the web pages, photos, videos and music that they and
their friends are sharing.


The act of making friends on social networks is often referred to as friending. MySpace and Friendster have
both started a phenomenon referred to as hyper-friending or friend collecting. This refers to the act of adding
the maximum amount of people to ones friend network.


Friendster is one of the first social networking websites. It is similar to other social networking sites and is
mainly used for people to meet new people and keep in touch with old ones. It is also possible to share online
content and media. Over 90% of Friendster users come from Asia.


File Uniform Resource Locators (Furl) is another free social bookmarking website. Members are able to store
searchable copies of webpages that are then also possible to share with other users. Since Furl stores a
complete copy of the website html it is possible to access the saved sites even if the original content is

The term Gen-Y usually refers to people born between 1980 and 1995, although sometimes it is expanded to
mean those born between 1977 and 2000. Generation Y is also known as The Net Generation and
iGeneration or Digital Natives.


Google is the most visited website on the Internet according to Alexa. Google is primarily a search engine
with inbuilt tools such as Google Calendar, Google Groups, Google Reader.

Google Calendar

Google Calendar is free contact and time management application. It allows users to synchronize their
contacts with a web-based calendar.

Google Docs

Google Docs is a free web-based word processor, spread sheet, presentation and form application. It allowed
users to create and edit documents online while collaborating in real-time.

Google Earth

Google Earth is virtual globe map enabling the user to access geographic information gathered with satellite,
aerial photography and GIS 3D. Users are able to search addresses, mark places of interest as well as share
links with other people.

Google Groups

The main function of Google Groups is to offer a web space where group members can interact on a forum or
over email.

Google Reader

Google Reader is a web based RSS reader.

Google Sites

Google Sites is a simple web service that allows the user to quickly create a simple collaborative webpage.
Mainly designed to be used by working groups.

Google Talk

Google Talk is a Windows and web-based instant messaging aplication. It is also possible to make internet
calls and talk using voice over internet protocal (VOIP). Goofle Talk only works with Microsoft.
Google Video

Google Video is a free video sharing website which also provides a video search engine. It is possible for
anyone to upload and watch videos for free.


Habbo Hotel is a viretual world aimed specifically at teenagers with 90% of its users between the age of 13
and 18. There is an average of 8 million unique visitors monthly and 75,000 avatars created daily. ( Total
113 million users) is a micro-blogging website providing a service similar to Twitter.

Instant Messaging

Instant Messaging (IM) is a way of communicating in real-time with two or more people. It enables users to
send text-based messages using an application. Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo!Messenger and AIM are
examples of the most popular IM applications.

See also online chats.

Internet Archive

Internet Archive is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building and maintaining a free and openly
accessible online digital library. In addition to books and audio recordings the library has a video and
software archive. Internet Archive also has an application called the Wayback Machine that creates a digital
time capsule of certain webpages.


Internet Relay Chat is a form of real-time Internet text messaging mainy designed for group communication.


IRC-Galleria is the largest social networking website in Finland. Founded in 2000 for the purpose of being a
photo gallery for the Finnish users of Internet Relay Chat (IRC) it has been adopted by the Finnish
iGeneration. It currently has about 506,981 users and hosts over 9 million images.

The service is open to anyone over the age of 12 who speaks Finnish. IRC-Galleria has users between 13-22
years with the mean age being 20 years. Recently IRC-Galleria has expanded to a few other European
countries such as Russia, Estonia and Germany.


iTunes is Apple’s free digital media player. The application can be used to play and organize digital music
and video files. It also has a built in player for podcasts and vodcasts. is a UK-based Internet radio and music community website. It has over 21 million active users
around the world. It uses a music recommendation system to build a detailed profile for each user, based on
their personal musical taste. The information is then sent to the website.


LinkedIn is one of the leading business orinted social networking services. As of February 2009, it had more
than 35 million users in more than 170 industries. LinkedIn enbles users to maintain a list of contacts that
they value professionally. This list of connections serves then to expand the users contacts via a contact
network. Users are also able to find jobs through business connections and share information through one’s
contact networks/groups.


Micro-blogging is a form of blogging that allows users to write and publish brief text updates. The benefit of
micro-blogging is that messages can be submitted rapidly in a variety of ways, including text and instant
messaging, email, MP3 or through the web. Messages can thus be sent on the move, for example from a
mobile phone and are instantly updated on a blog and to subscribers.

The most popular microblog service is Twitter, though more recently launched tools such as FriendFeed,
Pownce, Spoink and Plurk are gaining popularity. These latter services seek to add to the minimalism of
microblogging by integrating it with file-sharing, event invitations, podcasting, as well as mobile audio,
video and picture formats.

Popular social networking websites like Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn also have a type of micro-
blogging feature called "status updates".


Miro is a free HD Internet television application which automatically downloads videos from RSS-based
channels and plays them.


Mixi is one of several Japanese social networking services. In 2008 it had an 80% share of the social
networking market in Japan.

Mobile Phones

At the same time as social media is becoming part of the everyday, another important technology transition is
taking place: the mobile device is displacing the personal computer for many commonplace communications
tasks. The phone already handles voice, email, text and instant messaging, mobile TV and music, web
browsing, commerce, social networking/blogging on the move, accessing and managing professional data,
etc. This link up of the phone with Internet will only continue to evolve.
Mobile Social Networking

Mobile social networking is the use of social networking applications and tools via a mobile phone. As with
web based social networking interaction occurs in online communities. Many of the popular social
networking sites have created mobile aplications of their webcontent.

MSN Messenger (Windows Live Messenger)

Microsoft Network Messenger is an instant messenger service.


MySpace is a popular social networking website. Users are able to interact with each other, update and
modify profiles, blogs, photos, music and video. There are over 200 million users on MySpace globally.

MySpace was developed after the success of Friendster. The networking site is modeled after the most
popular features of Friendster. In the early stages it was suggested that the use of MySpace would cost a
small fee, however the idea was abandoned once company’s goals were finalized. In 2007-2008 MySpace
updated it’s layout to include status updates, applications and subscriptions in order to compete with
Facebook. MySpace also has an inbuilt bloggging service and unlike with Facebook users are able to
customize pages using HTML and CSS.


Ning is an online platform that allows the user to create personal social networks.

Online chats

Online chat is a way of communicating informally by sending text messages to people in the same online
chat-room in real-time, using tools such as instant messaging. File sharing and web cameras are included in
some programs and almost all online chat or messaging services allow users to display or send photos.
Among the more popular instant messaging services are American Online (AOL) Instant Messenger,
Microsoft Network (MSN) Messenger, and Yahoo! Messenger.


Orkut is a Google owned social networking site. It is very similar to other social networking websites. The
Orkut user base is mainly from Brazil (51.67%) and India (17.81%). The majority of users fall between the
age of 18 to 25 (57.12%).


Photobucket is an image and video hosting website. Users are also able to create video and photo slideshows
and share content.


Picassa is a free software application for organizing, editing and sharing digital photographs.

Plaxo is an online address book and social networking service. Plaxo Pulse allows the user to share content
from multiple sources across the web including photos, social networking services and blogs.


Podcasts are basically like audio RSS feeds. It is thus possible for users to subscribe, download and listen to
these casts whenever they like. Podcasts can be made using simple equipment (computer, internet connection
and audio recorder).


Reddit is a bookmarking and link sharing website.

See bookmarking and link sharing.


The abbreviation refers to a role-playing game. This is a gaming genre in which users assume the roles of
fictional characters, which can evolve over the course of the game.

RSS feeds

RSS (Rich Site Summary) is a tool for delivering and receiving regular updates on web content. Through
RSS feeds people can stay informed without visiting sites individually or joining their newsletters etc. Feed
Reader or News Aggregator software is needed to collect the RSS feeds from various sites and display them
for the user.

RSS Reader

An RSS Reader is a programme that enables the user to subscribe to RSS feeds (news headlines, blogs,
podcasts and vlogs), which are then placed into a single location for easy access.

Search Twitter

Search Twitter is a part of the popular micro-blogging service Twitter. Search Twitter enables users to see
what is being discussed on Twitter in real time. It addresses the need to filter and search specific information
from the constant stream of information that is being posted on Twitter.

Second Life

Second Life is a popular free 3D virtual world. There are no reliable statistics for Second Life usage however
it is estimated that there are over 15 million registered accounts and in January 2008 users spent a total of
28,274,505 hours on Second Life.

Skype is a VoIP programme which alows the user to make telephone calls over the Internet. Additional
features include instant messaging, file transfer and video conferencing. In 2008 there were 405 million total
user accounts registered with the service making Skype one of the most popular VoIP services.


Slideshare is a popular presentation sharing website where users can upload, view and share presentation
files. As with most social media services users are able to customize privacy options. In Slideshare users can
choose whether the presentation they are sharing will be shared publicly or privately.

Slideshare supports all the popular presentation formats (eg. Powerpoint and Keynote) and document formats
(eg. Word and Excel) but converts them to Flash once they are uploaded for web-based viewing.


Snipt enables the user to micro-blog source code, in a number of programming languages, using Twitter.

Social classification, social indexing and social tagging

See folksonomy.

Social networking

A social network site is a service, which enables the creation of an online community. The main types of
social networking services contain directories, means to connect with other users, and recommender systems
linked to trust. Popular methods combine these functions with a variety of externally built applications, with
MySpace and Facebook being the most widely used.

Alongside blogging, social networking has become the most powerful new way of sharing information and
connecting with people. The immensely popular service places peer-to-peer influencing at the core, and
enables local conversations to rapidly spread on a global scale.

Understanding the way people link through these networks, picking up, creating and sharing content on the
way, is central to success in social media.


A tag is a keyword or term attached to a piece of information. This enables users to classify information and
makes it easier to organize and find metadata. The creator or viewer depending on the system can assign tags.
Because of this, tags are personally created by individual users and on a website where there are many
contributors the collection of tags becomes a folksonomy.


TeamSpeak is a VoIP software that allows users to speak on a chat channel over the internet. The focus of
TeamSpeak is on conference calls.

Techorati is an Internet search engine for searching blogs. Technocrati indexes 112.8 million blogs and over
250 million pieces of tagged social media.

Tencent QQ

Trecent QQ is the most popular instant messaging computer program in Mainland China and the world’s
third most popular IM service. QQ has also expanded and developed sub-features such as games and ringtone


TweetDeck is a Twitter application. It allows users to Tweet directly from TweetDeck, view all new tweets
in real time, customization of dashboard, update Facebook and ability to follow Facebook friends.
TweetDeck also integrates other Twitter related tools and services such as Twitpic and 12seconds.
Tweetdeck also allows users to search for discussions and topics.


TwitPic is a tool that allows you to share photos on Twitter. Basically a micro-blogging tool where images
are used instead of short text messages.


Twitter is one of the most widely used microblogging services . Users are able to write short text messages of
up to 140 characters, much like mobile text messages, that are then posted on the users own page. These
messages are known as Tweets. It is also possible to share Tweets to other webservices such as Facebook.
Other users can then follow these tweets.

Over the last few months Twitter has become one of the most talked about social media websites.

V Kontakte

V Kontakte is a Russian social network very similar to Facebook. It is the most popular social networking
site in Russia and Ukraine with over 25 million users.


Viddler is an online video service allowing users to upload and watch videos for free.

Video sharing

Video sharing websites enable users to upload, share and view video clips. The bulk of video sites offer free
services and are easy to use. The most popular video site is YouTube, with over 100 million videos uploaded
to date. Other popular sites include Google Video, Yahoo Video and Vimeo.

With the tag line ‘Broadcast Yourself’, YouTube has fundamentally changed how video content is delivered.
Previously one had to invest a significant amount of money to produce a sophisticated video that would
attract attention. Now anyone with access to a handheld camera and a good idea has the means to create a
video viewed by millions, opening up a completely new environment for marketing.

Video podcast

Video podcasting (vidcasting or vodcasting) is the term used for online delivery of on demand video clips. It
works much like audio podcasts but using video instead of audio. The content can only be seen using a
programme equipped for video viewing such as iTunes or Miro.


Vimeo is a video sharing social networking website. Due to the specific types of videos permitted (only
videos produced by the user) and the high bitrate and limited HD support Vimeo is popular among the
professional film-making crowd.

Viral Marketing

Viral marketing encourages individuals to pass on a message through social media, creating the potential for
exponential growth in exposure and influence. The strategy takes advantage of rapid multiplications (like
viruses) to bring the message to a wide audience. The growing popularity of social media tools has made
viral marketing one of the most effective means of communicating, campaigning and advocating today.

In addition to reaching a large audience, viral marketing offers a cost-effective solution compared to
traditional techniques, which are becoming increasingly expensive and complex to implement and manage
(due to user segmentation). Moreover, unlike most traditional campaigning, viral campaigns are measurable
and can provide accountability when tracked. A final strong point is that it can be used successfully even
when a brand or issue is unknown or has no obvious ‘wow’ factor. The buzz is instead created around the
viral campaign agent, which then stimulates and builds interest in the issue itself. The challenge in doing this,
however, is to have a creative, intriguing ‘idea virus’ which gets the content on to conversational agendas and
ensures that people share it.

Virtual Worlds

A virtual world is a computer based, simulated environment intended for users to inhabit and interact through
created avatars. The basic avatar is human in appearance, but may be of either gender, have a wide range of
physical attributes, and may be clothed or otherwise customized to produce a wide variety of virtual life

The most popular of these worlds are Second Life, a 3D world created mostly by its residents, and Habbo
with over 100 million avatars. Due to their growing popularity, virtual worlds are increasingly being used by
the private and non-for-profit sector for marketing, educational and information sharing purposes.


See video podcast.

VoiceThread is a collaborative multimedia slide show with a strong emphasis on image, document and video
sharing. Users are able to upload images, documents and videos and make a slide show out of them. Other
users are then able to comment on these slideshows by leaving voice messages, text and video.


Voice Over Internet Protocol is a general term refering to a group of internet transmission technologies
which enable the delivery of voice communication over IP. It is basically a reference to internet telephony.
This service is used by internet phone applications such as Skype and Google Talk.


See blogs.


A widget is a snapshot of a web page that is displayed in another web site by pasting a small piece of code on
the page. It allows information to be shown on the site without the host having to create and update the

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons is a repository of free content such as images, sound and other multimedia files.


Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia project. It was formally launched in 2001 and at the time it was only
available in English. The service has since expanded and is now available in 236 different languages. There
are over 12 million articles on Wikipedia written by volunteers around the world. Almost all the articles on
the website can be modified and edited by anyone who has access to the website.


A wiki is a page or collection of web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or
modify content, using a simplified markup language. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites
and to power community websites. The collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia is one of the best-known
wikis. Wikis are used in business to provide intranet and knowledge management systems. Ward
Cunningham, the developer of the first wiki software, WikiWikiWeb, originally described it as "the simplest
online database that could possibly work".

Windows Live Messenger

See MSN Messenger.
Windows Live Spaces

Windws Live Spaces is Microsoft’s blogging and Social Networking platform. Users are able to create blogs,
submit photos and create lists (music lists, movie lists, book lists).


There are two versions of Wordpress. is a blog publishing platform. It is at the moment the
largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world, with tens of millions of people accessing everyday. allows the user to download and install a software script enabling them to create a fully
customizable blog. is a blog hosting provider with over 4.5 million individual blogs.


Xanga is a website that hosts blogs, photoblogs with the possibility to make social networking profiles.
Xanga members have a Xanga site that includes a blog, photoblog, videoblog, audioblog, mini blog and a
social networking profile. There is also emphasis on members to create and join blogrings (groups of related


Yahoo! Buzz is Yahoo’s own

See bookmarking and link sharing.

Yahoo! Groups allows users to generate electronic mailing lists and Internet forums. Group messages can be posted and read by e-
mail or on the Group homepage. The service is very similar to Google Groups.

Yahoo! Messenger

Yahoo! Messenger is Yahoo’s instant messaging service. It is very similar to other IM services. Other
notable features include Yahoo! Voice which is a VoIP service allowing PC-PC, PC-Phone and Phone-PC


YouTube is the most popular video sharing website, ranked third by Alexa. Users are able to upload, view,
comment and share video clips. Three former PayPal employees created YouTube in 2005. The first video on
YouTube was published on April 23, 2005 and it can still be seen on the site. The website experiences rapid
growth in 2006 with the company announcing more then 65,000 new videos being uploaded and 100 million
video views every day.

Unregistered users are able to watch videos whilst registered users are able to upload an unlimited number of
videos and comment on other people’s videos. In a sense YouTube is a social community based around
videos. Since users are able to post personal material it has become a collaborative project with a significant
social impact.

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