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What is Social Media?
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Glossary of Terms
Glossary of Terms

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API (n) | Allows users to get a data feed directly into their own sites, providing continually updated, streaming data text, images, video for display. For example, Flickr's API might allow you to display photos from the site on your blog. When sites like Twitter and Facebook "open up" their APIs, it means that developers can build applications that build new functionality on top of the underlying service. API is a techie term for Application Programming Interface.

App (Application) (n) | An application that performs a specific function on your computer or handheld device. Apps run the gamut from Web browsers and games to specialized programs like digital recorders, online chat or music players.

Avatar (n) | Graphical representation of an Internet user and created for interactions in three-dimensional Web universes.

bit. ly link (n) | URL shortening service. Users who want to shorten the length of a URL to facilitate easier sharing can visit http://bit.ly to enter a URL and receive a shortened version for linking. This is particularly useful for platforms like Twitter that limit the number of characters per post. Usage example in tweet form: "Check out this great new blog from @Ad Council. http://bit.ly/9hYTfL Lots of useful tips on #social marketing."

Blog (n) | An online journal that's updated on a regular basis with entries that appear in reverse chronological order. Blogs can be about any subject. They typically contain comments by other readers, links to other sites and permalinks.

Citizen journalism (n) | Ordinary citizens collecting, reporting, analyzing, and disseminating news and information with the intent of providing independent, reliable, accurate, wide ranging, and relevant information in a democratic way. Also called participatory journalism, we media, or user-generated content and is distinguished from the mainstream media (MSM).

Cloud Computing (n) | Also called "the cloud"; refers to the growing phenomenon of users who can access their data from anywhere rather than being tied to a particular machine.

Consumer-generated content (n) | Digital content produced by individuals online which is occasionally picked up and reprinted or referenced by professional media. Also called user-generated media (UGM).

Content syndication (n) | The distribution of news, video, audio, etc., to websites, blogs, and other digital channels. Also called online editorial outreach.

Content optimization (n) | Editing or altering Internet content, including text, graphics, and interactive assets, to improve a Web site's usability and effectiveness. Also called site language analysis, link strategy.

Crowdsourcing (v) | Refers to harnessing the skills and enthusiasm of those outside an organization who are prepared to volunteer their time contributing content or skills and solving problems.

Digital communications (n) | Myriad of outbound communications tactics that leverage digital technology to deliver messages: e-mail, video, text messaging, online advertising, paid search, optimized press releases, podcasts, vodcasts, etc.

Digital news hub (n) | A robust source of news and media content designed to provide on-demand access to news releases, contacts, background information, and digital media assets including photos, graphics, audio, video, and multimedia content. Branded product- and service-specific hubs (stand-alone Web properties) are effective elements of online visibility and search-positioning programs. Also online pressroom, Web newsroom, media center.

Facebook Fan (n) | On Facebook, a fan is a user who joins a page because they like what that page represents. Fans can comment on the page wall and page administrators can send messages to fans.

Facebook Status (n) | A micro-blogging feature which allows users to inform their friends of their current whereabouts, actions, or thoughts.

Flickr (n) | The world's premier photo sharing and hosting site. Its members have uploaded more than 3 billion photos.

Folksonomy (n) | A user-generated taxonomy or naming scheme, typically Internet-based, that categorizes content such as Web pages, photographs, Web links, and other Web content using user generated labels called "tags." Folksonomic tagging is intended to make a body of information increasingly easier to search, discover, and navigate over time. Examples of Web sites using folksonomy are Flickr and del.icio.us.

Follower (n) | In the context of twitter, when Twitter user A "follows" Twitter user B, user B's posts will appear on User A's Twitter feed. User A is a follower of User B.

Geotagging (v) | The process of adding location-based metadata to media such as photos, video or online maps. Geotagging can help users find a wide variety of businesses and services based on location.

Handle (n) | Username identifying individuals in online communities like Twitter and discussion forums.

Hashtag (n) | The practice of tagging an individual tweet by using a hash in front of the tag. Example: Putting #AdCouncil in a tweet - Anyone interested in discussion about the Ad Council can then search for #AdCouncil and read all tweets on the subject.

Metadata (n) | Refers to information including titles, descriptions, tags and captions that describes a media item such as a video, photo or blog post.

Microblogging (v) | The act of broadcasting short messages to other subscribers of a Web service. On Twitter, entries are limited to 140 characters. Probably a more apt term for this activity is "microsharing."

Microsite (n) | Scaled down website used to present a specialized set of information or resources. The main distinction between a microsite and its parent site is the specific nature of its purpose, in comparison to the microsite's broader overall parent website.

Mobile marketing (n) | Direct marketing that leverages technologies such as short message services (SMS), multimedia messaging services (MMS), and Bluetooth to distribute content to mobile phones and PDAs (personal digital assistants). Also called wireless marketing/communications.

News Feed (n) | Highlights what's happening in your social circles on Facebook.  News Feeds are posted to profiles for all to see.

Online advertising (n) | Web-based equivalent of traditional advertising. Advertisers purchase Web site real estate, typically from online advertising networks, for the purpose of displaying brand messages. Purchasing models vary including impressions, clicks, or click-throughs to a given site and conversions; defined as downloads, purchases, etc. Also called online media buy, banner ad campaign.

Online Ambassadors (n) | Users who become passionate about a cause and take it upon themselves to actively spread the word about it across the internet.

Online audit (n) | Focused web centric research effort designed to document a comprehensive profile of a site, brand, product, service, concept, idea, or topic for the purpose of evaluation and optimization or improvement.

Online editorial outreach (OEO) (n) | Web-based equivalent of traditional public relations-pitching content, story ideas, videos, audios, etc., to both professional media and self-publishers on the Web.  Also called online media outreach, content syndication, blogger relations.

Online monitoring (n) | The act of formally tracking progress toward agreed-upon goals for Web-based communications activities, such as online conversations/blogs, search-marketing campaigns, and search-engine optimization.

Podcast (n) | Audio recording, hosted on a Web page and accessible for individual downloads by using "pull" technology, such as RSS feeds and MP3 players.

ReTweet (RT) (n) | A reTweet is a repeated tweet. Users can share a tweet they like with their own followers, thus increasing the exposure of the original tweet.

RSS (n) | Acronym for Really Simple Syndication. Plug-and-play technology, typically called a "reader," which allows nontechnical Web users to easily "feed out" or "pull in" (by way of subscription) select Web content to or from a proprietary Web property.

Search engine marketing (SEM) (n) | Advertisers participate in a competitive online auction to bid for and purchase the optimal rank or position within search-results listing. Bidding models vary, including pay per click (PPC), in which advertisers are charged only when a searcher clicks on their purchased term. Also called paid or sponsored search.

Search engine optimization (SEO) (n) | Act of editing or altering Web site content, including text, graphics, and interactive assets, to improve a Web site's natural visibility and rank or prominence in the results listing for top search engines, such as Yahoo!, Google, MSN, and AOL.

Self-publisher (n) | Content creator whose content development and delivery are not affiliated with professional media or communications. Also called citizen journalist.

Short Code (n) | A mobile shortcut a telephone number consisting of four to six digits that makes it easier for subscribers to vote, subscribe to a service, order ringtones and the like via SMS (e.g., text HAITI to 90999 in order to contribute to the Red Cross's relief efforts).

Social bookmarking (n) | Popular method of classifying, sharing, and storing electronic content to facilitate easy sorting or search. The bookmarks, or tags, help users identify relevant content, as well as rank content based on the number of viewers, relevance, etc. Examples: Digg, Reddit, Newsvine, StumbleUpon. Overlaps with folksonomy and tagging.

Social media (n) | Works of user-created video, audio, text or multimedia that are published and shared in a social environment, such as a blog, podcast, forum, wiki or video hosting site. More broadly, social media refers to any online technology that lets people publish, converse and share content online.

Social media news release (SMNR) (n) | Traditional press release content that is repurposed for optimal online visibility in Web search and encourages Web-user interaction. Key messages are "chunked" into sound bites, also called "message nuggets." Includes text links to relevant content, tags (keywords), multimedia, feedback mechanisms, and other assets that encourage user dialogue and content-sharing. Also called new media release, Web-optimized release, releaselet.

Social networking (v) | The act of socializing in an online community. A typical social network such as Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace or Bebo allows you to create a profile, add friends, communicate with other members and add your own media.

Tags (n) | Keywords or phrases assigned to Web content, such as blog posts, wiki entries, photos, podcasts, etc., to facilitate easy organization, called indexing and searching.

Topic aggregator (n) | Allows users to electronically capture and display in a central location content from a variety of online media outlets, including e-zines, Web sites, and blogs using RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds. Also content aggregator, RSS aggregator, news aggregator.

Tweet (n) | A message sent via Twitter, up to 140 characters that is seen by all followers.

Twitter Party (n) | Scheduled conversation between twitter users occasionally moderated by hosts where participants tweet messages about a specific topics back and forth, sharing stats, stories, commentary, and links all in 140 characters or fewer.

Twibbon (n) | Alterations made to Twitter handle avatars that are intended to show support for a cause for example, adding a band of pink to the avatar image to indicate support for breast cancer research.

Viral media (n) | Media that is shared from person to person. When a piece of media "goes viral," this means that it is shared rapidly and seen by millions of users in a relatively short period of time. There is no surefire way to ensure that particular piece of content goes viral, although it is the "holy grail" of digital content creation.

Vodcast (n) | Video recording, hosted on a Web page, accessible for individual downloads using "pull" technology such as RSS feeds and video-capable MP3 players.

WAP (n) | Internet protocol that formats online content for viewing on mobile devices. WAP sites are easier to navigate and view on mobile devices than non-WAP sites. Requires separate site development and programming.

Web 2.0 (n) | A term coined to loosely describe Web-based services such as wiki sites and social networks that emphasize online collaboration and content-sharing among users.

Web Analytics (n) | The measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of Internet data for the purpose of understanding who your visitors are and optimizing your website.

Web syndication (n) | Form of syndication in which a section of a Web site is made available to other sites, often by information feeds. Subscribers receive a regularly scheduled summary of the most recently added news and posts.

Widget (n) | A small block of content or application, typically displayed in a small box, with a specific purpose, such as providing weather forecasts or news, that is constantly updating itself (typically via RSS). Widgets make it easy to add dynamic content to your site or blog.

Wiki (n) | From the Hawaiian word wikiwiki, meaning "fast." A Web environment that allows visitors to quickly and easily support, refute, add to, or otherwise openly edit the content. Collaborative content development and publishing.

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