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Social Networking Guidelines | Glossary
 
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Glossary
 
The following terms have special meanings in the context of using and operating a Web 2.0 application.
 
 

A
Advocacy: Creating a movement of “net-fluencers” to influence conversation, actions or motives in support of one’s objective.
 
Aggregation: Gathering and remixing content from blogs and other Web sites that provide RSS feeds; typically displayed in an aggregator like Bloglines or Google Reader, or directly on your desktop using software (often also called a newsreader). Beneficial for breaking news. CNN has effective tools like these. Digg and Reddit are examples of aggregator sites.
Example: Smithsonian 2.0 Blog
Example: AIDS.gov Blog
 
Alerts: Search engines, like Google, allow you to specify words, phrases or tags that you want checked periodically, with results of those searches returned to you by e-mail.
 
Archive: Collections of earlier items usually organized by week or month. You may still be able to comment on archived items.
 
Audio Video Interleaved (AVI): A Microsoft Corporation multimedia video format. It uses waveform audio and digital video frames (bitmaps) to compress animation.
 
Authenticity: The sense that something or someone is “real.” Blogs enable people to publish content, and engage in conversations, that show their interests and values, and so help them develop an authentic voice online. Agencies should always be transparent and authentic while online.
 
Avatar: A graphical image that represents a person within the new media arena. You can build a visual character with the body, clothes, behaviors, gender and name of your choice. This may or may not be an authentic representation. (View Secondlife.com for more information.)
 
 

B
Back channel communications: Private e-mails or other messages sent by the facilitator or between individuals during public conferencing. They have a significant effect on the way that public conversations go.
 
Badges and buttons: Graphics embedded into a Web page (similar to a widget, and sometimes called one); they link to online content elsewhere, and typically serve as content syndication tools, to lead someone to content on another site.
Example: CDC H1N1 Buttons
 
Bandwidth: The capacity of an electronic line, such as a communications network or computer channel, to transmit bits per second (bps).
 
Blog: Web sites with dated items of content in reverse chronological order, self-published by bloggers. Items (posts) may have keyword tags associated with them; they are usually available as feeds and often allow commenting. Blogs may be moderated by the host or may allow any material to be posted. Webcontent.gov provides advice on blogs.
 
Blogosphere: The totality of blogs on the Internet, and the conversations taking place within that sphere.
 
Blogroll: A list of sites displayed in the sidebar of a blog, showing what the blogger reads regularly.
 
Bookmarking: A Web-based service that lets users create and store links; saving the address of a Web site or item of content, either in your browser, or on a social bookmarking site like Delicious. If you add tags, others can easily find your research, too, and the social bookmarking site becomes an enormous public library.
Example: Holdrege Area Public Library, NE
 
Bulletin boards: The early vehicles for online collaboration, where users connected with a central computer can post and read e-mail-like messages.
 
 

C
Categories: Pre-specified ways to organize content. Example: a set of keywords that you can use but not add to when posting on a site.
 
Champion:  An enthusiast or group of enthusiasts who can get conversations started by posting messages, responding to others or helping them. 
 
Chat: A Web site interaction among a number of people who add text items one after the other into the same space at (almost) the same time. A place for chat, a chatroom, differs from a forum because conversations happen in “real time,” similar to face-to-face.
 
Cloud computing: The use of applications hosted across the Internet by an independent service provider. An example of cloud computing is a Google Doc, in which the word processing program is accessible through a Web browser, and the content in the document resides in Google’s servers.
 
Community, online: A group of people who communicate mainly through the Internet.
 
Community building: The process of recruiting potential community or network participants to help them find shared interests and goals, use the technology and develop useful conversations.
 
Conference, online: The conversations of people involved in a Web forum, often organized around topics, threads, and themes. 
 
Constructives: The science of applying new media viral mapping to a specific public affairs issue to determine a projected outcome; educating readers on projected paths.
 
Content management systems: Software suites that offer the ability to create static Web pages, document stores, blogs, wikis and other tools.
 
Conversation: The currency of social networking; an exchange of information through blogging, commenting or contributing to forums.
 
Cookie: Information (in this case URLs, Web addresses) created by a Web server and stored on a user’s computer. This information lets Web sites keep a history of a user’s browsing patterns and preferences. People can set up their browsers to accept or not accept cookies.
 
Copyright: A form of intellectual property that gives the author of an original work exclusive rights for a certain time period in relation to that work, including its publication, distribution and adaptation.
 
Crowdsourcing:  The collective skills and enthusiasm of those outside an organization who can volunteer their time to contribute content and solve problems.
 
Creative Commons:  A not-for-profit organization and licensing system that offers creators the ability to fine-tune their copyright, spelling out the ways in which others may use their works. For more information, visit: http://creativecommons.org/.
 
Cyberculture: A collection of cultures and cultural products that exist on and/or made possible by the Internet, along with the stories told about these cultures and cultural products.
 
 

D
Digital story: A short personal nonfiction narrative composed on a computer, often for publishing online or publishing to a DVD, told from the narrator’s point of view. See Center for Digital Storytelling (http://www.storycenter.org/) and Creative Narrations (http://www.creativenarrations.net/). 
 
Domain name: A method of identifying computer addresses. Your e-mail address has a domain address. If there is a “.edu” at the end of your e-mail address that means your account is affiliated with an educational institution. A “.com” extension means the account is business related and a government account has a “.gov” suffix.
 
 

E
E-mail lists: Important networking tools offering the ability to “starburst” a message from a central postbox to any number of subscribers, and for them to respond.
 
Embedding: The act of inserting video or photos to a Web site or e-mail.
 
 

F
Facilitator: Someone who helps people in an online group or forum manage their conversations.
 
Feed: 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.
 
Flash: Animation software used to develop interactive graphics for Web sites as well as desktop presentations and games.
 
Forum:  A discussion area on Web sites where people can post messages or comment on existing messages asynchronously (that is, independently of time or place).
 
Friends: Contacts whose profile you link to in your profile, thereby creating your network. On some sites, people have to accept the link; in others, they don’t.
 
 

G
Groups: Collections of individuals with some sense of unity through their activities, interests or values. They are bounded: you are in a group, or you’re not. They differ from networks, which are dispersed, and defined by nodes and connections.
 
 
 

H
Hyperlink: Text, images, or graphics that, when clicked with a mouse (or activated by keystrokes), will connect the user to a new Web site. The link is usually obvious, such as underlined text or a “button” of some type, but not always.
 
 

I
Instant messaging (IM): Chatting with one other person using an IM tool like AOL Instant Messenger, Microsoft Live Messenger or Yahoo Messenger. The tools let a user show availability for a chat. Instant messaging can be a good alternative to e-mails for a rapid exchange. Problems arise when people in a group are using different IM tools that don’t connect.
 
 

L
Listening: Setting up searches that monitor blogs to determine when an organization receives a mention or reference; also, the art of skimming feeds to the blogosphere to find out what topics bubble up.
 
Listserv: A list of e-mail addresses of people with common interests. Software enables people who belong to a list to send messages to the group without typing a series of addresses into the message header.
 
Lurker: A person who reads but does not contribute or add comments to forums. The “one-percent rule-of-thumb” says that one percent of people contribute new content to an online community, another nine percent comment, and the rest lurk.
 
 

M
Malware: Malicious software designed to infiltrate a computer without the owner’s informed consent. The expression covers a variety of forms of hostile, intrusive, or annoying software or program code. The term “computer virus” is sometimes used as a catchall phrase to include all types of malware, including true viruses.
Wikipedia on Malware
 
Mashups: Mixes of technology, audio, video and maps that combine several tools to create a new Web service. For example, a mashup would be a Google map showing average housing prices drawn from a city assessor’s online database. See www.popfly.com for free development.
Example: Johnson County, Kansas’ Crime Map Mashup
Example: TweetCongress
 
Micro-blog: Extremely short blog posts in the vein of text-messaging. The messages are available to anyone or to a restricted group that the user chooses. Twitter, a popular micro-blog client, allows for posts of up to 140 characters, uploaded and read online or through instant messaging or mobile devices via text-messaging.
 
 

N
Networks: 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.
 
Newsgroup: An Internet “site” centered on a specific topic or course. Some newsreader software can “thread” discussion so there can be various topics centered on a central theme.
 
Newsreader: Web site or desktop tool that acts 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.
 
 

O
Open-source software: Software available under a license that permits users to study, change and improve the software, and to redistribute it in modified or unmodified form.
 
 

P
Peer-to-peer: Direct interaction between two people in a network. In that network, each peer connects to other peers, opening the opportunity for further sharing and learning.
 
Permalink: The address (URL) of an item of content. 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.
 
Phishing: The criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Communications purporting to be from popular social Web sites commonly try to lure the unsuspecting public. Phishing typically occurs by e-mail or instant-messaging. It often directs users to enter details at a fake Web site whose look and feel are almost identical to the legitimate one. Even when using server authentication, it may require tremendous skill to detect that the Web site is fake.
Wikipedia on Phishing
 
Photo-sharing: Uploading images to a Web site like Flickr, Picasa, SmugMug, BubbleShare and Photobucket, adding tags and offering people the opportunity to comment or even re-use your photos if you add an appropriate copyright license.
Example: Library of Congress Flickr Project
 
Podcast: A series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and downloaded through web syndication. The mode of delivery differentiates podcasts from other ways of accessing media files over the Internet, such as simple download or streamed webcasts. Special client software applications known as podcatchers (e.g., iTunes, Zune, Juice, and Winamp) are used to automatically identify and download new files in a series when they are released, by accessing a centrally-maintained web feed that lists all files associated with the series. New files are thus downloaded automatically and stored locally on the user's computer or other device for offline use, giving simpler access to episodic content.
List of government podcasts
CDC advice on podcasts
 
Post: Item on a blog or forum.
 
Presence online: Availability for contact by instant-messaging, voice-over IP, or other synchronous methods of communication; also, the degree to which an individual’s name shows up in an online search.
 
Profiles: Information that users provide about themselves when signing up for a social networking site. As well as a picture and basic information, such information may include personal and business interests, a “blurb” and tags to help people search for like-minded people.
 
 

R
Remixing: The process of taking separate items of content, identified by tags and published through feeds, and combining them in different ways.
 
RSS: “Really Simple Syndication,” which allows subscribers to receive content from blogs and other social media sites, delivered through a feed.
RSS Feed Specifications
 
 

S
Shockwave: A three-dimensional (3D) animation technology format.
 
Sharing: The process of offering other people the use of text, images, video, bookmarks or other content by adding tags, and applying copyright licenses that encourage use of content.
 
Smartmob: A gathering of users for an activity or event as a result of an online connection or network.
 
Social networking sites (SNS): Online communities where users can create profiles and socialize with others, using a range of social media tools including blogs, video, images, tags, lists of friends, forums and messages.
Webcontent.gov provides advice on SNS.
 
Streaming media: Video or audio intended to be listened to online but not stored permanently.
 
 

T
Tag: A keyword added to a blog post, photo or video to help users find related topics or media.
 
Threads: Strands of conversation.
 
Tiny URL: A Web service that provides short aliases for redirection of long URLs.
Wikipedia on Tiny URLs
To create a Tiny URL
To shorten government URLs (i.e. .gov, state.or.us, .mil, .fed.us, .si.edu)
 
Trackback: 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: The ability to enhance searching, sharing, self-publishing and commenting across networks to find out what’s going on in any situation where online activity occurs.
 
Troll: A hurtful, but possibly valuable person who, for whatever reason, is both obsessed by and offended by everything you write on a blog.
 
 

U
URL: Unique Resource Locator is the technical term for a Web address like http://www.oregon.gov.
 
 

V
Video sharing: The process of sharing videos and making them available for others to view and comment on. Video sharing sites let viewers “embed,” or display others’ video on their own sites. Examples include YouTube, Blip.tv and Vimeo.
Example: HHS YouTube Channel
 
Virtual worlds: Online places like Second Life, where you can create a representation of yourself (an avatar) and socialize 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. Some organizations use Second Life to run discussions, virtual events and fundraising.
Example: CDC in Whyville and Second Life
 
 

W
Web 2.0: 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.
 
Widget: “Window gadget,” a stand-alone application that can be embedded in other applications, like a Web site or a desktop, or viewed on a PDA. A widget may help accomplish missions like subscribing to a feed, doing a specialist search or even making a donation. For example, a widget might link to a display of the latest news and weather, a map program, or photos.
Example: CDC widget for H1N1 Flu
 
Whiteboard: The online equivalent of a write-on/wipe-off glossy surface; a tool that lets one write or sketch on a Web page.
 
Wiki: A Web page with an editing capability that lets users contribute to a body of information. The best-known example is Wikipedia, an encyclopedia created by thousands of contributors across the world. Once people have appropriate permissions (set by the owner), they can create pages and add to and alter existing pages. Webcontent.gov provides advice on wikis.
 
Worm: A self-replicating computer program that uses a network to send copies of itself to other nodes (computers on the network) without any intervention by the user. Unlike a virus, it does not need to attach itself to an existing program. Worms nearly always harm the network, if only by consuming bandwidth, whereas viruses corrupt or devour files on a targeted computer.
Wikipedia on worms
 
 

X
XML: “Extensible Markup Language,” which is a system for organizing and tagging elements of a document so that the document can be transmitted and interpreted between applications and organizations. Human readable XML tags define “what it is,” and HTML defines “how it looks.” XML allows designers to create their own tags.
 


Page updated: March 02, 2010