Social Media From A to Z: A Glossary

23 07 2010
di Pam Dyer

The social media landscape is changing quickly, and it’s filled with terms that are strange to those who aren’t familiar with it. But never fear! Here’s a quick guide to some of the terms you may encounter. This list will constantly evolve — please add other terms in the comments below and I’ll be happy to incorporate them.


Application Programing Interface (API): An API is a documented interface that allows one software application to to interact with another application. An example of this is the Twitter API.

Atom: Web feeds are used by the blogging community to share recent entries’ headlines, full text, and even attached multimedia files. These providers allow other Web sites to incorporate the blog’s “syndicated” headline or headline-and-short-summary feeds under various usage agreements. Atom and other Web syndication formats like RSS are now used for many purposes, including journalism, marketing, bug-reports, or any other activity involving periodic updates or publications. Atom also provides a standard way to export an entire blog, or parts of it, for backup or for importing into other blogging systems.

Avatar: An Avatar is an image or username that represents a person online within forums and social networks.


BackType: BackType is a social media analytics company that helps companies measure their social engagement. The service began as a blog comment search engine. is a popular free URL shortening service that provides statistics for the links users share online. Use it to condense long URLs and make them easier to share on social networks like Twitter.

Blip.TV: Blip.TV is a online video sharing site. It offers both a free and a paid platform for individuals and companies who want to host an online video show.

Blog: Blog is a word that was created from the two words “Web log”. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

Blogger: Blogger is a free blogging platform owned by Google that allows individuals and companies to host and publish a blog.

Blog Talk Radio: Blog Talk Radio is a free Web application that allows users to host live online radio shows.

BoardReader: BoardReader is a free search engine that allows users to search for keywords only in posts and titles of online forums. enables users to organize and view all of their content online in a familiar file and folder structure. Possibilities include sharing content with direct links to files and folders, turning any folder into a public Web page in one click, and creating widgets to share files on a company Web page or blog.

Boxee: Boxee is a social video application that enables users to watch online videos on their TVs and computers. Users can share and watch videos from a variety of online sources for free.


Chat: Chat can refer to any kind of communication over the Internet, but traditionally describes one-to-one communication through a text-based chat client commonly called an instant messaging application.

Collecta: Collecta is a real-time search engine that includes results from from blogs, microblogs, news feeds, and photo sharing services as they are published.

Collective Intelligence: Collective Intelligence is a shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals and appears in consensus decision-making in social networks.

Comment: A comment is a response that is often provided as an answer of reaction to a blog post or message on a social network. Comments are a primary form of two-way communication on the social Web.

Compete: Compete is a Web-based application that offers users and businesses Web analytics and enables people to compare and contrast the statistics for different Web sites over time.

Craigslist: Craigslist is a popular online commerce site in which users sell a variety of goods and services to other users. The reduction of classified advertising in newspapers across the United States has been attributed to Craigslist.

Creative Commons: Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. It provides free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, etc.

Crowdsourcing: A combination of the words crowd and outsourcing, it refers to asking a question via social media and collecting answers from your various communities and users. The term has become popular with businesses, authors, and journalists as shorthand for the trend of leveraging the mass collaboration enabled byWeb 2.0 technologies to achieve business goals


Delicious: Delicious is a free online bookmarking service that lets users save Web site addresses publicly and privately online so that they can be accessed from any device connected to the Internet and shared with friends.

Digg: Digg is a social news Web site that allows members to submit and vote for articles. Articles with the most votes appear on the homepage of the site and subsequently are seen by the largest portion of the site’s membership as well as other visitors.

Disqus Comments: Disqus Comments is a comment system and moderation tool for a Web site or blog. It enables  next-gen community management and social Web integrations to any site on any platform.

DocStoc: DocStoc is an online sharing service for documents. Users can view, upload, share and sell documents.


Eventbrite: Eventbrite provides online event management and ticketing services. EventBrite is integrated with Facebook, so users can also promote their events there to drive more visits to their event page and sell more tickets. The service is free to use if your event is free; if you sell tickets to your event, there is a small fee per ticket.


Facebook: Facebook is a social networking Web site. Users can add people as friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. Facebook is the largest social network in the world with more than 500 million users.

Flash Mob: A flash mob is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and pointless act for a brief time, then quickly disperse. The term flash mob is generally applied only to gatherings organized via social media, viral e-mails, or phone.

Flickr: Flickr is a social network centered around online picture sharing. The service allows users to store photos online and then share them with others through profiles, groups, and other methods.

Forum: Also known as a message board, a forum is an online discussion site. It originated as the modern equivalent of a traditional bulletin board, and a technological evolution of the dial-up bulletin board system.

Foursquare: Foursquare is a location-based social networking Web site, software for mobile devices, and also a game. Users “check-in” at venues using a mobile Web site, text messaging, or a device-specific application — they’re then awarded points and sometimes “badges.”

FriendFeed: FriendFeed is a real-time feed aggregator that consolidates the updates from social media and social networking Web sites, social bookmarking sites, blogs, and micro-blogging sites, as well as any other type of RSS/Atom feed. It’s possible to use this stream of information to create customized feeds to share, as well as originate new posts/discussions/comments with friends.


Google Buzz: Google Buzz is a social networking and messaging tool from Google, designed to integrate into the company’s Web-based e-mail program, Gmail. Users can share links, photos, videos, status messages, and comments organized in “conversations” and visible in the user’s inbox.

Google Documents: Google Documents is a group of Web-based office applications that includes tools for word processing, presentations, and spreadsheet analysis. All documents are stored and edited online, and allow multiple people to collaborate on a document in real-time.

Google Wave: Google Wave is a collaboration tool developed by Google as a next-generation solution to e-mail communication. A “wave” is a live, shared space on the Web where people can discuss and work together using richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.

Gowalla: Gowalla is a social network in which friends share their locations and connect with others in close proximity to each other.

Groundswell: Groundswell is a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations. The bestselling book of the same name is based on analysis by Forrester Research, and includes practical, data-based strategies for companies that want to harness the power of social technologies like blogs, social networks, and YouTube.


Hashtag: Because Twitter provided no easy way to group tweets or add extra data, the Twitter community came up with their own way: hashtags. A hashtag is similar to other Web tags — it helps add tweets to a category. Hashtags have the ‘hash’ or ‘pound’ symbol (#) preceding the tag, like so: #socialmedia, #marketing, #hashtag.

hi5: hi5 is a social network focused on the youth market. It’s a social entertainment destination, with a focus on delivering a fun and entertainment-driven social experience online to users around the world.

HootSuite: HootSuite is a Web-based Twitter client for individuals and organizations. With HootSuite, you can manage multiple Twitter profiles, pre-schedule tweets, and view metrics, and teams can collaboratively schedule updates to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress, and other social networks via Web, desktop, and mobile platforms. It helps organizations use the social Web to launch marketing campaigns, identify and grow audience, and distribute targeted messages across multiple channels.


IntenseDebate Comments: IntenseDebate is a third-party commenting system for blogs. Custom integration with your blogging admin panel makes moderation easy. Comment threading, reply-by-email, user accounts and reputations, comment voting, along with Twitter and FriendFeed integrations enrich reader experience.

Instant Messaging: Instant messaging (IM) is a form of real-time direct text-based communication between two or more people. More advanced instant messaging software clients also allow enhanced modes of communication, such as live voice or video calling.


Joomla: Joomla is an open source content management system (CMS) which enables users to build Web sites and online applications. Many aspects, including its ease of use and extensibility, have made Joomla popular.


Kyte: Kyte is an online and mobile video application that provides video hosting and stream for both recorded and live video feeds.


Lifecasting: Lifecasting is a continual broadcast of events in a person’s life through digital media. Typically, lifecasting is transmitted through the Internet and can involvethe use of wearable technology.

Like: A “Like” is an action that can be made by a Facebook user. Instead of writing a comment for a message or a status update, a Facebook user can click the “Like” button as a quick way to show approval and share the message.

Link Building: Link building is an aspect of search engine optimization (SEO) in which Web site owners develop strategies to generate links to their site from other Web sites in hopes of improving their search engine ranking. Blogging has emerged as a popular method of link building.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site. LinkedIn had more than 70 million registered users in more than 200 countries.

Lurker: A lurker is a person who reads online discussions on a message board, newsgroup, social network, or other interactive system, but rarely or never participates in the discussion.


Mashable: Founded in 2005, Mashable is the top source for news in social and digital media, technology, and Web culture. With more than 25 million monthly pageviews, Mashable is the most prolific news site reporting breaking web news, providing analysis of trends, reviewing new Web sites and services, and offering social media resources and guides.

Mashup: A content mashup contains multiple types of media drawn from pre-existing sources to create a new work. Digital mashups allow individuals or businesses to create new content by combining multiple online content sources.

MySpace: MySpace is a social networking Web site owned by News Corporation. MySpace became the most popular social networking site in the United States in June 2006, but  it was overtaken by its primary competitor, Facebook, in April 2008.


News Reader: A news reader enables users to aggregate articles from multiple Web sites into one place usingRSS or Atom feeds. The purpose of these aggregators is to allow for a faster and more efficient consumption of information.

Newsvine: Newsvine is a social news site similar to Digg in which users submit and vote for stories to be shared and read by other members of the community.


Orkut: Orkut is a social networking Web site that is owned and operated by Google. It’s named after its creator, Google employee Orkut Büyükkökten. Although Orkut is less popular in the United States than competitors Facebook and MySpace, it is one of the most visited Web sites in India and Brazil.


Pandora: Pandora is a social online radio station that allows users to create stations based on their favorite artists and types of music.

Permalink: A permalink is an address or URL of a particular post within a blog or Web site.

Podcast: A podcast, or non-streamed webcast, is a series of digital media files, either audio or video, that are released episodically and often downloaded through an RSS feed.

Posterous: Posterous is a blogging and content syndication platform that allows users to post content from any computer or mobile device by sending an e-mail.

PostRank: PostRank monitors and collects social engagement data related to content around the Web. It helps publishers understand which type of content promotes sharing on the social Web.


Qik: Qik is an online video streaming service that lets users to stream video live from their mobile phones to the Web.

Quantcast: Quantcast provides Web site traffic data and demographics. It is primarily used by online advertisers looking to target specific audiences.


Real-Time Search: Real-time search is the concept of searching for and finding information online as it is produced. Advancements in search technology coupled with the growing use of social media enable online activities to be queried as they occur, whereas a traditional Web search crawls and indexes Web pages periodically and returns results based on relevance to the search query.

Reddit: Reddit is a social news site similar to Digg and Newsvine. It’s built upon a community of users who share and comment on stories.

RSS: RSS (most commonly expanded as Really Simple Syndication) is a family of Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works — such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video — in a standardized format. An RSS document (which is called a “feed”, “Web feed”, or “channel”) includes full or summarized text, plus metadata such as publishing dates and authorship. Web feeds benefit publishers by letting them syndicate content automatically. They benefit readers who want to subscribe to timely updates from favored Web sites or to aggregate feeds from many sites into one place. RSS feeds can be read using software called an “RSS reader”, “feed reader”, or “aggregator“, which can be Web-based, desktop-based, or mobile-device-based.


Scribd: Scribd turns document formats such as PDF, Word, and PowerPoint into a Web document for viewing and sharing online.

Second Life: Second Life is an online virtual world. Users are called “residents” and they interact with each other through avatars. Residents can explore, meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, create and trade virtual property and services with one another, and travel throughout the world.

Seesmic: Seesmic is a social software application site offering Seesmic Desktop, an Adobe Air application that integrates multiple Twitter accounts and your Facebook account and Facebook pages. Seesmic also offers a browser-based client for Twitter, a native Windows desktop client, and clients for mobile phones.

Sentiment: In the context of social media, sentiment refers to the attitude of user comments related to a brand online. There has been an explosion of free and paid social media monitoring tools that measure sentiment, including TweetMemeHootSuite, and PostRank, to name a few.

SlideShare: SlideShare is an online social network for sharing presentations and documents. Users can favorite and embed presentations, as well as share them on other social networks like Twitter and Facebook.

Skype: Skype is a free program that enables text, audio, and video chats between users. Millions of individuals and businesses use Skype to make free video and voice calls, send instant messages, and share files with other Skype users. Users can also purchase plans to receive phone calls through their Skype account.

Social Media Marketing: Social media marketing is a term that describes use of social networks, online communities, blogs, wikis, or any other online collaborative media for marketing, sales, public relations and customer service.

Social Media Monitoring: Social media monitoring is a process of monitoring and responding to social media mentions related to a business or brand.

Social Mention: Social Mention is a free social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user generated content from across the Web into a single stream of information.

StumbleUpon: StumbleUpon is a free Web browser extension which acts as an intelligent browsing tool for discovering and sharing Web sites.


Tag Cloud: A tag cloud is a visual depiction of user-generated tags, or simply the word content of a site, typically used to describe the content of Web sites.

Technorati: Technorati is a popular blog search engine that also provides categories and authority rankings for blogs.

TweetDeck: TweetDeck is an application that connects users with contacts across Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and more.

Tweetup: A Tweetup is an organized or impromptu gathering of people that use Twitter.

Twitter: Twitter is a platform that allows users to share 140-character-long messages publicly. User can “follow” each other as a way of subscribing to each others’ messages. Additionally, users can use the @username command to direct a message towards another Twitter user.

Twitter Search: Twitter Search is a search engine operated by Twitter to search for Twitter messages and users in real time.

Tumblr: Tumblr lets users share content in the form of a blog. Users can post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos from your browser, phone, desktop, or email.

TypePad: TypePad is a free and paid blogging platform similar to Blogger. It allows users to host and publish their own blogs.


Unconference: An unconference is a facilitated, participant-driven conference centered on a theme or purpose. The term “unconference” has been applied, or self-applied, to a wide range of gatherings that try to avoid one or more aspects of a conventional conference, such as high fees and sponsored presentations.

Ustream: Ustream is the leading live interactive broadcast platform that enables anyone with an Internet connection and a camera to engage their audience in a meaningful, immediate way. Unlike previous webcasting technology, Ustream uses a one-to-many model, which means that the user can broadcast to an audience of unlimited size.


Video Blog: A video blog (or vlog) is a blog the produces regular video content often around the same theme on a daily or weekly basis. An example of a successful video blog is Wine Library TV.

Viddler: Viddler is a popular video sharing site similar to YouTube and Vimeo in which users can upload videos to be hosted online and shared and watched by others.

Vimeo: Vimeo is a popular video sharing service in which users can upload videos to be hosted online and shared and watched by others. Vimeo user videos are often more artistic and the service does not allow commercial video content.

Viral Marketing: Viral marketing refers to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives through self-replicating viral processes.


Web 2.0: Web 2.0 is commonly associated with Web applications that facilitate interactive information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration on the Web. A Web 2.0 site (e.g. Facebook) enables its users to interact with each other as contributors to the site’s content, in contrast to Web sites where users are limited to the passive viewing of information

Web Analytics: Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of Internet data for purposes of understanding and optimizing Web usage.

Webcast: A webcast is a media file distributed over the Internet using streaming media technology to distribute a single content source to many simultaneous listeners/viewers. A webcast may either be distributed live or on demand. Essentially, webcasting is “broadcasting” over the Internet.

Webinar: A webinar is used to conduct live meetings, training, or presentations via the Internet. It is typically one-way, from the speaker to the audience with limited audience interaction, such as in a webcast. A webinar can be collaborative and include polling and question & answer sessions to allow full participation between the audience and the presenter.

Widget: A widget is an element of a graphical user interface that displays an information arrangement changeable by the user, such as a window or text box. Widgets are used on both Web sites and blogs.

Wiki: A wiki is a Web site that allows the easy creation and editing of any number of interlinked Web pages via a Web browser, enabling collaboration between users.

Wikipedia: Wikipedia is a free, Web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its 15 million articles (over 3.3 million in English) have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world, and almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site.

WordPress: WordPress is a content management system and contains blog publishing tools that allow users to host and publish blogs. This blog runs on WordPress and uses the Thesis theme.



Yammer: Yammer is a business communication tool that operates as an internal Twitter-like messaging system for employees within an organization. It provides real-time communication and reduces the need for e-mail.

Yelp: Yelp is a social network and local search Web site that provides users with a platform to review, rate, and discuss local businesses. Over 31 million people access Yelp each month, putting it in the top 150 U.S. Internet websites.

YouTube: YouTube is a video-sharing Web site where users can upload, share, and view videos. It is the largest video sharing site in the world.


Zoho: Zoho is a suite of online Web applications geared towards business productivity and collaboration.

Zooomr: Zooomr is a online photo sharing service similar to Flickr.



8 responses

23 07 2010
All Around the World News

Social Media From A to Z: A Glossary « Fedemktg's Blog…

I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

23 07 2010
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24 07 2010
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