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Social Media Dictionary

Please also see our SEO Dictionary
API
Application
Archive
Blog
Blogger
Blogosphere
Blogroll
Captcha
Citizen Journalism
Comment
Comment Spam
Crowdsourcing
Dashboard
Del.icio.us
Digg
Email
Event Blog
Facebook
#FollowFriday
Friendster
Flickr
Folksonomy
Google Profile
Hat Tip
Hulu
Instant Messaging
Linkbait
LinkedIn
Live Journal
Mashup
Meme
Microblogging
MySpace
News Aggregator
Niche Blog
NoFollow
Online Forum
Photo Sharing
Podcast
Profile
Reddit
RSS Feed
Search Engine
Slashdot
Social Media Optimization (SMO)
Social Bookmarking
Social Media
Social Media Optimization/Marketing
Social Networking
Social News Site
StumbleUpon
Syndication
Tag
Tag Cloud
Technorati
TrackBack
Twitter
User Review
User-Generated Content
Vlog
Video Clip
Video Sharing
Virtual Community
Web 2.0
Widget
Wiki
Wikipedia
WordPress
Yelp
YouTube
Zimbio
API
An application programming interface, or API, refers generically to the functions and languages used by computer programs to exchange information and interoperate. Often used to request access to online services or build applications.
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Application
A software program that performs specific tasks for its end users. Microsoft Word is a popular example of an application, but applications may also be used in social media to allow users to do things such as upload pictures to their social network profiles.
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Archive
A collection of past blog entries organized according to category or date, often on an index page.
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Blog
Short for “weblog,” blogs refer to websites in the form of online journals used by one or several authors to share information and content, as well as post opinions and initiate dialogue with people who leave comments on blog entries. Blogs may be personal or corporate in nature and may disclose personal information or may stick to a more neutral, informational tone.
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Blogger
A free, easy-to-use blog-publishing system that allows users to create, personalize, and maintain their own blogs. Blogger sites may be indexed by search engines, thereby passing some link juice. The term “blogger” also refers to someone who engages in the act of keeping a blog, known as “blogging.”
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Blogosphere
The umbrella term for all blogs and their interconnections. Blogosphere can also refer to the level of discourse created by bloggers and is sometimes used by media sources as a gauge of public sentiment.
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Blogroll
A list of links to blogs that a blogger reads regularly, references, or is affiliated with. Appears on the blogger’s own blog.
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Captcha
A tool used to verify a human user. Often used on blogs and sites that allow readers to leave comments. A captcha asks the user to solve a simple challenge-response test before proceeding. Because software is unable to answer the captcha, it is assumed that the user is human.
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Citizen Journalism
Democratized journalism in which non-professional journalists create, gather, augment, and disseminate news and information independent of traditional media outlets by using Web 2.0 technology such as blogs, social news sites, video-sharing sites, etc.
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Comment
On blogs, news sites, forums, video-sharing sites, social networking sites, and other forms of social media, a comment is a response to content that has been published and shared with others. Comments are typically text-based and may require the commenter to complete a captcha or receive approval from the site administrator/moderator before the comment will be posted.
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Comment Spam
A comment generated solely for the purpose of placing a link to the commenter’s blog or website, not in response to content. May be automated.
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Crowdsourcing
A call to arms across the Internet. As Web 2.0 has evolved, many businesses have used crowdsourcing models to mobilize Internet users to supply information, solve problems, complete processes, and achieve the business’s goals.
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Dashboard
The administrative area of blog software that allows the blogger to post new entries, edit old ones, approve or disapprove comments, change blog themes, upload pictures, check traffic, and more.
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Del.icio.us
A free social bookmarking site that allows users to discover, share, and store bookmarks of web pages. The site also lets users “tag” bookmarks with terms so that other users can search for all bookmarks related to that term. Del.icio.us is the original URL of the site. Later, the company purchased the domain Delicious.com as well, so the website may be accessed at both URLs.
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Digg
A free social bookmarking or social news site where users can submit stories and links from all over the Internet and other users can read, vote, and comment on the submissions. Stories that receive the most “diggs,” or positive votes, appear at the top of the homepage. Stories that receive negative votes are “buried.”
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Email
Electronic mail, or email, is a form of communication that exchanges digital messages between users. At its most basic, an email consists of a message, the author’s email address, and at least one recipient’s email address, although emails can also contain a variety of file attachments, images, links, subject lines, and multiple recipients. Email is a primary mode of communication for many businesses, both internally and with clients.
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Event Blog
A blog launched for the purpose of acting as the companion to an event.
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Facebook
A free social networking site that allows people to connect and interact with one another through messages, pictures, and other content, as well as share personal information about themselves and their actions/whereabouts. Users can also join networks based on their location, educational background, and workplace. Facebook also permits creation of personal page or fan pages, which are used by companies, celebrities, musicians, artists, etc.
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#FollowFriday
A Twitter trend in which users tweet their endorsements of other users and recommend them for following by the general Twitter population. #FollowFriday tweets contain the recommended person’s username, preceded by “@” (e.g., “@submitexpress”), and the hashtag “#followfriday” for easy tracking.
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Friendster
A free social networking site on which users can connect and share content. As with many other social networking sites, Friendster allows users to create “profiles” and post pictures, send messages, make comments, and upload and view videos. Most of Friendster’s users are located in Asia. Friendster is one of the oldest social media sites, but it has lost market share to Facebook and MySpace.
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Flickr
A free photo-sharing website that allows users to upload, edit, manage, and share photos and videos. People may store and share their photos for both personal and professional use on Flickr.
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Folksonomy
The larger system of tags used to annotate and categorize content. Folksonomy, as a practice and method, involves collaboration from multiple users, who contribute freely chosen keywords to “tag” content. Within a folksonomy, a tag cloud may be used to visualize tags.
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Google Profile
Individual profiles that appear in Google’s search engine results pages. Google profiles contain information such as names, pictures, short biographies, links to social networking profiles, photos, location, and contact information. For any given name, however, only four profile results are displayed.
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Hat Tip
A public expression of gratitude or recognition, generally from one blogger to another blogger, reader, or website, for bringing something to the blogger’s attention.
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Hulu
An online video site that offers videos on demand, including television shows and full-length movies, from many networks and studios such as NBC, Fox, Warner Brothers, and others. Hulu has differentiated itself from YouTube through these partnerships and allowing videos of unlimited length.
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Instant Messaging
A form of real-time communication that supports text messages between users. More instantaneous than email, instant messaging allows users to send and receive messages and files over the Internet on their computers or mobile devices.
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Linkbait
Interesting and/or humorous (and sometimes also offensive or sensational) content posted on a website or blog to bait readers and cause them to link to it. Linkbait is often used for marketing purposes to boost the site’s popularity and search engine ranking, as the quality and quantity of inbound links to a site play an important part in the way that search engines rank websites.
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LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a social networking site that focuses on business/professional relationships and contacts. Users can list information about their employment and educational histories, as well as make connections, ask questions, and learn about business opportunities.
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Live Journal
A free blogging platform and virtual community where users can keep blogs. Unlike some blogging sites, LiveJournal also contains features of social networking sites such as lists of friends and user info pages that are similar to profiles.
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Mashup
A hybrid of data from two or more sources combined in one single web application. May be used to incorporate functionality from radically different or even competing websites. The term implies fast, easy integration of raw source data to produce new results.
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Meme
An Internet meme refers to a concept or catchphrase that spreads quickly through social media culture. Often transmitted with humorous intent, famous memes include “Rickrolling,” “lolcats,” and “All your base are belong to us.”
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Microblogging
As the name implies, microblogging is multimedia blogging but on a smaller scale. Users publish brief messages and/or files either to another user, a restricted group, or the public to share information, links, and content. The term is largely associated with microblogging site Twitter.
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MySpace
Another free social networking site used for connection and interaction in the form of blogs, personal information, messages, videos, comments, and more. Users create profile pages about themselves and engage with friends. Profiles may be customized to reflect the user’s unique preferences and interests.
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News Aggregator
May refer either to a website that collects headlines of news stories from around the Internet and provides snippets of the accompanying articles or software or a web application that gathers syndicated web content (often specified by a keyword, topic, or theme) and delivers it to one location for easy viewing.
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Niche Blog
A niche blog is a blog that targets a particular market. Niche blogs are created for marketing purposes, and a niche blog will often contain advertisements that are meant to entice readers into visiting the advertised site and making purchases.
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NoFollow
An HTML attribute that tells search engines not to take a hyperlink into consideration when they rank the link target. NoFollows were conceived as a way to combat search-engine spam and improve the quality of search engine results.
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Online Forum
Online forums are Internet-based discussion boards that allow users to share information and opinions about specific interests and topics with the goal of starting a discussion about the given subject. The majority of forums require a user to register before he or she can post to the forum, and some sites may require age verification. Search engines index forums, which may be useful for passing link juice to a site.
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Photo Sharing
Photo sharing refers to the act of publishing digital photos online and sharing them either publicly or privately. This can be done on websites; applications that allow photos to be uploaded; and photoblogs, which focus on photos rather than text entries. One of the most popular photo-sharing sites is Flickr.
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Podcast
A podcast is one or more digital media files that have been syndicated and made available for download/streaming and playback either on computers or portable media devices such as iPods. The term is an amalgam of “broadcast” and “iPod.”
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Profile
An informal description of a social media user. Many social media and social networking sites give their users the option to register for an account and create a profile that may consist of a mini biography, location, occupation, status, preferences, photos, videos, blogs, songs, links, and other content. Users can generally view one another’s profiles and may also have the option to become “friends” with the user and/or share messages and comments. Both personal and professional profiles are common.
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Reddit
Like Digg, Reddit is a social news site that supports user links to news stories and other content on the Internet. Users can also vote for or against stories to affect a story’s placement on the Reddit homepage, as well as participate in online forums.
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RSS Feed
Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, is a common data format that provides updates of dynamic content such as blogs, news stories, audio, and video from around the web. Web publishers use web feeds to syndicate their content instantaneously.
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Search Engine
A search engine is a website that enables users to submit queries to an index of stored web pages. These web pages are gathered and compiled by a robot or crawler on the basis of information relevant to keywords or search terms. The rank of information and websites on the resultant search engine results pages is determined by relevancy. Levels of relevancy are established by the search engine’s algorithm and/or payment made to the search engine by indexed sites. Sites ranked solely by relevancy are known as natural listings or organic listings in contrast to paid listings.
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Slashdot
A social news website focusing on technology, Slashdot features user-generated/editor-approved content and forum-style comments which are moderated to prevent abuse.
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Social Media Optimization (SMO)
See Social Media Optimization/Marketing.
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Social Bookmarking
A method of managing, finding, and sharing bookmarks of web pages by assigning metadata, usually tags, so that users can search for related bookmarks. Some social bookmarking services provide web feeds of their bookmarks. Digg, Del.icio.us, Reddit, and StumbleUpon all offer social bookmarking.
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Social Media
A general term used to describe the accessible, scalable Internet-based tools that are used to facilitate two-way communication across the Internet landscape and share information, content, and news. Common tools include social networks, blogs, online forums, email, instant messaging, and wikis.
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Social Media Optimization/Marketing
The act of leveraging social media for greater visibility, exposure, and brand equity of a company, product, or service. Social media marketing is focused on creating and participating in a dialogue about the product or entity being marketed rather than engaging in traditional one-way marketing techniques. It allows for rapid dissemination of ideas over the web. Social media optimization is a subset of social media marketing.
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Social Networking
The act of publishing and sharing content online, usually for social or professional gain. The term includes both the tools that are used to network, including blogs, wikis, instant messaging, email, etc., and social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, and others.
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Social News Site
A website on which users may submit, share, and rank news stories—often just snippets with links to the full article. Digg and Reddit are two popular examples.
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StumbleUpon
StumbleUpon is a website that helps users discover or “stumble upon” new web pages, videos, and photos. Users install a StumbleUpon toolbar in their Internet browsers which allows the service to automatically take them to a webpage, which they can rate. The destination is determined by the user’s previous ratings of web pages, ratings by friends, and ratings by other users with similar interests.
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Syndication
Making website content available to multiple other sites through web feeds such as RSS feeds. Syndicated content is both free and licensed, depending on the transmitting site. Syndication provides the transmitting site with online exposure across multiple online platforms and attracts traffic. Receiving sites benefit from syndication by increasing the depth and immediacy of their content, thereby also becoming more attractive to users.
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Tag
A tag is a keyword attached to web content for easy aggregation and searching. An important feature of Web 2.0, tags are chosen informally by the content producer, user, or viewer to describe the content.
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Tag Cloud
A visual representation of non-hierarchical tags used to categorize content on a site. More popular tags generally appear in larger and bolder fonts than less popular tags. In a tag cloud, tags are often listed alphabetically and contain links to the content associated with the tag.
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Technorati
A search engine for blogs, Technorati indexes the blogosphere by looking at the tags that authors attach to their blog posts and ranks blogs according to popularity.
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TrackBack
A method of communication between websites that sends notifications when updates have been posted. TrackBacks are popular among bloggers, who use them to inform other blogs and/or sites when they have referenced them.
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Twitter
A free microblogging site/social network that allows users to publish real-time, 140-characters-or-less messages known as “tweets” that may contain links to other sites. Originally conceived as a platform for answering the question “What are you doing?” Twitter has evolved to include breaking news, marketing, and information-sharing. Users can “follow” others’ tweets and collect “followers” of their own.
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User Review
A consumer’s opinion and/or rating, usually posted on a review site, of a business, product, service, or even a person. Other reviewers and Internet users can then read the review. Review sites may also include information about the company or product being reviewed, as well as an address and contact information. Yelp is a popular user-review site.
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User-Generated Content
Any kind of publicly available content that is generated by end users. This includes everything from online videos and wikis to blogs and podcasts. User-generated content (UGC) is also known as consumer-generated media and is considered a staple of Web 2.0.
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Vlog
Similar to a text or photoblog, a video blog or “vlog” is a form of blogging through video. Most videos are short and may contain supporting text, images, and/or other metadata. Entries are made regularly and may be syndicated using RSS or another web feed.
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Video Clip
A short section of a longer video. Digital video clips are often uploaded to video-sharing sites such as YouTube and Hulu, where users can watch them for free, as well as rate and comment on them and/or share them with other users.
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Video Sharing
Video sharing refers to the act of uploading videos and sharing them either publicly or privately. This can be done through websites, software, and/or vlogs. One of the most popular video-sharing sites is YouTube.
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Virtual Community
A virtual community uses Web 2.0 tools to communicate, share ideas and interests, and network for educational, professional, and/or social purposes—sometimes a blend of all three.
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Web 2.0
“Web 2.0” is the term used to refer to the second generation of web development and Internet technology that facilitates user empowerment and communication through increased information sharing and collaboration. In comparison to its predecessor (retroactively coined “Web 1.0”), the second iteration allows users to create, engage with, alter, and even control in real-time content posted on the web rather than simply viewing it. The evolution of Web 2.0 has led to things such as social networks, blogs, photo-sharing sites, wikis, and more.
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Widget
Code that can be embedded within an HTML web page, adding content which often takes the form of on-screen tools such as weather information, clocks, event countdowns, etc. that provide live updates.
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Wiki
A wiki is a collection of web pages or a website whose content can be collaboratively managed by multiple users. From their Internet browsers, users can usually create, add to, modify, edit, and delete content using a simplified markup language. Although it was not the first wiki, the collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia is one of the best known wikis.
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Wikipedia
A free, multilingual web-based encyclopedia. The site’s more than 12 million articles on a range of topics are written collaboratively by Wikipedia volunteers around the world in accordance with Wikipedia’s guidelines for formatting, citation, and content. Almost anyone with access to the Wikipedia website can then edit, revise, or update an article to reflect the latest knowledge on the topic.
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WordPress
WordPress is a blog hosting provider that offers an open-source blog-publishing application which allows bloggers to create, personalize, and maintain their blogs for free. The site has gained popularity because of its easy-to-use interface; permalink structure; and ability to tag and assign nested, multiple categories to articles. WordPress sites may be indexed by search engines, thereby passing some link juice.
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Yelp
A combination user review, local search, and networking website. Yelp provides information about local businesses, which users may rate and review based on their past experiences with the company. The site also offers an online forum for further discussion of local businesses and online socialization, as well as discussion of special offers and events.
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YouTube
A subsidiary of Google focused on video sharing, YouTube allows users to view, upload, and share video clips for free. The user-generated content ranges from clips of movies and TV shows (although copyright violations are prohibited) to music videos and original short films. Most YouTube users are individuals, but some media corporations have also created “channels” of their content.
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Zimbio
On Zimbio, users build interactive blogs or “wikizines” (interactive magazines that anyone can create or edit) on the topic of their choosing, blending traditional media with citizen journalism. Users can also upload photos and videos from a range of sources on a variety of topics.
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