This glossary is by no means exhaustive but includes the main social media terms used in our social media guide.

Aggregator: A website or system that collects and displays web content such as news headlines, blogs, tweets and podcasts from multiple sources in a single location. It uses RSS or other types of feeds to find the content, enabling new content to be automatically downloaded when it is available.

Blog: In its simplest terms a blog is an easy way to publish information via the Internet. Think of it as a pen and paper for the 21st century.

Blogosphere: This term refers to the entire body of work online created by the millions of blogs.

Blog Roll: The list that a blogger puts on his/her own blog indicating which other blogs he/she is reading regularly, and linking out to those blogs.

Buzz Monitoring: This involves tracking the online conversation surrounding a company, product or service – either at a moment in time or on an ongoing basis.

Content Sharing Communities: This encompasses sites such as YouTube, Flickr, Slideshare and Issuu which enable users to share content such as video clips, photographs, presentations and documents.

Crowdsourcing: A term which refers to the outsourcing of a particular problem or challenge to a large group of semi-organised individuals (a crowd) via the Internet. This could involve gathering input on your forthcoming product or asking for ideas for your latest company ad.

Ebook: A book published in electronic form that can be downloaded from the Internet.

Entry: An individual post or article published on a blog. Each of these entries, while appearing in an index, is also a web page in its own right

Feed: This is the data format used to provide users with frequently updated content – such as blog posts.

Feed Reader: This refers to an aggregator of content, subscribed to by the user, so that specific content or search results arrive in their “reader”. Among the popular (and free) tools are Great News, Feed Demon and Google Reader. Also known as an RSS feed reader or a news reader.

Flog: A fake blog, such as one that a company puts up and either pays the blogger(s) to write positive comments, or the company posts under a fake persona, posing as “happy customers” of said company.

Folksonomy: This is the means of classifying and categorising content on the web through collaborative efforts from the online community. This is also known as social tagging.

Hashtags: Created by prefixing a word with the # symbol. Hashtags allow the “grouping” and tracking of different keywords (and therefore tweets) on Twitter. It’s an easy way for people to search for posts on the same subject or for you to categorise your message and show that it is related to others with the same hashtag.

Lens (on Squidoo): A lens is an individual page on Squidoo – a publishing platform or a community that is growing in importance. These pages can be on any topic.

Link love: This refers to posting a link to sites or blogs, usually unsolicited, that you enjoy or find useful.

Netiquette: Unofficially defines the rules of etiquette on the Internet.

Mash-up: A website or software tool that combines two or more applications to create a whole new service.

Meme: This refers to content or a concept that spreads quickly from person to person through the Internet.

Microblogging: A form of blogging allowing users to compose brief text updates and publish them. A single post can consist of a sentence, fragment, image or a brief ten second video. In the case of Twitter a post can be up to 140 characters long.

Moblogs: A blog published directly to the web from a phone or other mobile device.

Permalink: A permanent web address for a blog post which can be sent to others or included as a link on other websites.

Pinging: This is a short automatic notification to blog servers and search engines to tell them you have posted new information on your blog.

Pingback: An alert which notifies the original blog poster when someone writes an entry referencing it.

Podcast: A series of digital media files, either audio or video, that can be downloaded over the Internet. You can subscribe to podcast channels and once subscribed, your computer will automatically check back to see if new podcasts are available and download them for you. They are delivered through a RSS feed to a subscriber on regular basis.

Post: An individual article, or entry, published on a blog. Each post, while appearing in an index, is also a web page in itself.

Retweet (RT): The act of reposting information from another user’s tweet on Twitter.

RSS: Short for Really Simple Syndication. This allows you to subscribe to content on blogs and other social media and have it delivered to you through a feed.

RSS Feed: Allows users to have new content on favourite websites and blogs delivered direct to one place.

SEO: Stands for Search Engine Optimisation – the process of optimising and improving a website so that it will rank as high as possible in the search results from search engines.

SMO: Social Media Optimisation – a collection of best practices to make sure your digital assets (photos, videos, e-docs, links) are found online by submitting them to social sharing sites.

Social bookmarking: Sites which allow users to tag, save, manage and share web pages from a central source.

Social Media: Refers to a group of new online ‘media’, spanning social networks, blogs and micro blogs, wikis, etc., which make it possible for virtually anyone to create, share and access content.

Splog: Nickname for Spam Blogs, or blogs not providing their own or real content. Sploggers use automated tools to create fake blogs full of links or content from other sites in order to boost search engine results.

Tag: In social media blogs and other content (such as photos, music, etc.,) can be “tagged” or labelled with a keyword, such as “politics” or “gardening”. This makes it quick and easy to search for all content that is tagged similarly.

Technorati Authority: A rating given to blogs by Technorati, the leading blog search engine, depending on how many other bloggers link to the site.

Threads: On an email list or web forum/message board, these strands of conversation are defined by messages on that same subject. On blogs, threads are less clearly defined, but emerge through comments and trackbacks.

Trackback: A method of communication between blogs. If one blog refers to an entry found at another, a ‘Trackback ping’ notification will automatically be sent.

Tweet: Refers to an individual Twitter message – a tweet – also the act of sending a message. Twitter’s founders have recently tried, but failed, to trademark the term.

Tweet-up: This is a face-to-face gathering of Twitter users.

UGC: User Generated Content – is the term often given to the content created in social media. It is also known as Consumer Generated Media (CGM).

Video Blogging: Speaking to the camera as the chosen form of blogging, and posting those videos to digital sharing sites like YouTube. Also known as ‘vlogging’ or ‘vlogs’.

Vodcast: This is just like a podcast – but for videos.

Widget: A custom-built web application that has a function, usually involving a data feed that shows updated content in the widget. The widget can be shared for free across social media platforms like blogs, Facebook, MySpace, etc.

Wiki: A web page – or set of pages – that can be edited collaboratively. The best known example is wikipedia, an encyclopaedia created by thousands of contributors across the world.