Posted by: postergirl | December 30, 2006

Social Media Literacy – An A-Z Guide to Web 2.0 Jargon

Most people can use social media in at least one way to make life easier. But the fact that social media is so closely knit with technology, and its technology is a moving target, social media literacy is increasingly important. I’ve put together a little A-Z glossary of social media terminology to help newbies get the ‘gist of the jargon.

A is for AJAX

Ajax is a town in Ontario, Canada, a brand of household cleanser and an acronym for Asynchronous JavaScript + XML or Advanced JavaScript + XML (see JavaScript and XML definitions below). In a nutshell, it stands for the technologies used in building super cool apps like social bookmarking and social networking sites. Unless you’re a programmer, that’s pretty much all you need to know. If you’re still curious
there’s a really killer explanation here.

If you don’t know what apps means, it’s short for web applications, which Wikipedia unsexily describes as “an application delivered to users from a web server over a network such as the World Wide Web or an intranet.”

B is for Blogroll

A blogroll is a list of blogs on a blog that a blogger reads and or thinks are cool enough to link to.

If you don’t know what a blog is, it is a really easy way to make a website, you happen to be on my social media blog right now 😛

C is for Chicklet

A chicklet is a cutesy name for an RSS button. More on RSS later, but this makes it easier for visitors to your website to subscribe to your content as it’s added.

D is for is one of a plethora of social bookmarking sites where you can create lists of bookmarks like you would with your web browser (Ctrl+D), but like a bookmark list on steroids that you can access from any computer, share with the world, and categorize with tags (yes I’ll explain tags later).

E is for Embed a YouTube Video

You can add a video from YouTube (see Y) to your blog, site or MySpace page with a simple code that will display the video you want.

F is for Folksonomy

Folksonomy is like a taxonomy (way of classifying and naming stuff) but regular folks decide how to describe using tags. It’s a folksonomy if you’re doing it on a social site like flickr or Technorati. Otherwise, you could just dub it tagsonomy. Smogger’s “categories” are basically a tagsonomy.

G is for Groups

You can join groups on pretty much any social media site, MySpace, bebo, flickr,…you may or may not actually ever meet these people. You might want to join their group based on surfing tags.

G may also one day stand for “Google who?” because searching tags delivers way better results for stuff. We’ll have to wait and see.

H is for Hacks

“A hack is a bit of code written to customize or extend the functionality of a software product. Older versions of WordPress used a hack-based extension system, but versions 1.2 and above of WordPress use a plugin API with hooks for extensions.”
Thanks WordPress!

And you thought hacking was only for evil.

I is for Image Attribute

Don’t you ever call it an image TAG, it’s an “attribute.” He he. Little SEO inside joke. Anyway, the image attribute is used to describe a photo you upload. This helps search engines understand what the picture relates to, and also helps visually impaired people who use text reading software “see” your pictures. So with that in mind, choose your wording wisely. Ever wondered how Google decides what to show you in image search? It’s reading the image attribute. If you are using WordPress as a blog software, it will automatically ask you for a description for your picture when you hit the button “img” in your post editor.

Don’t know what a post is? Keep readin’…

J is for JavaScript

JavaScript is a system of programming codes that can be added to the HTML code of a web page to make it do the cool interactive things you find in web 2.0. (The “J” in AJAX).

K is for wiKipedia, flicKr, flocK

I couldn’t for the life of me think of a K word. Please comment if you’ve got a good one. I thought “Killer App” was too nerdy.

L is for Linkbait

Linkbait is an SEO term for really awesome content that attracts links naturally by virtue that it’s really good content. This could be a great blog post, a useful web tool or something similar.

M is for Moblogging

When you post a blog entry, photo or photo to the web while away from your computer, you are moblogging or mobile blogging. You could use a digital camera, PDA or cellphone to moblog as long as you have access to the WWW from it.

N is for Newsreader

A newsreader (or news aggregator) translates any RSS or Atom feeds (see above) for websites, blogs, podcasts or other news services you subscribe to. Remember that raw feeds are not reader friendly as is, so you need something to convert it into something you can make sense out of.

A couple examples are Bloglines and NewsGator.

I suppose Newsreader could also define Ron Burgundy.

O is for Open Source

Open source code is software code that is available to the general public without licensing restrictions. This is useful to people who know how to use the code (programmers) so they can make kick-ass social media sites, and fun stuff like Colin Brumelle’s Prankmail.

P is for Ping

Generally, PING stands for “Packet Internet Groper.” Yeah, yeah, apparently nerds do have a sense of humour too, or they’re completely ironic. A PING is a basic program used to verify that an IP address can be seen by another. With respect to pinging your blog, you want another site such as Technorati or Google’s blog search engine to know that you’ve added new content, so it knows to come visit your with it’s robot and take a snapshot of your new content to add to its database.

Q is for Query String

Hey, Q’s not that easy! A query string is that stuff that follows the ? in a URL, like”

If you’re blogging, it’s a good idea to use WordPress or other blog platform that will clean up your URLs so they are “clean” and search engines (and users) can make more sense of your URLs as you can take advantage of using valuable keywords in place of &s and %s. That way more people will find your blog / podcast / website.

R is for RSS

RSS stands for Rich Site Summary, but most folks like to call it Real Simple Syndication, because that describes its function quite well. An RSS feed is simply an XML (see X below) file full of code that newsreaders / news aggregators can easily digest and translate into a copy of your website’s content on another site (syndicated content). You can find smogger’s feed here: if you’re curious what one looks like.

S is for Sock Puppet Spam

We’ve all had our inboxes invaded by unsolicited mail which we refer to as spam. But there are many types of spam on the Internet besides email spam. For example, link spam happens when webmasters post in forums or otherwise leave their URL somewhere simply for the purpose of gaining a link. With blogs, comment spam can be a problem too. Users who leave totally irrelevant comments about Rolex watches are as unsavoury as canned ham. Spammers now have a new way to exploit social media for their own (temporary and futile) gain — creating “sock puppet” profiles to increase their networks in MySpace, submit or vote on their own content in Digg or to ask and answer their own questions in Yahoo! Answers.

T is for Tag Cloud

A tag cloud gives you a visual idea of tag popularity for a blog or other social media site. The more popular a tag, the bigger the text appears in the cloud. You can click on any word to jump to all the posts that “tagged” each keyword. A cool way of organizing a “taggsonomy” and letting users discover tags as opposed to a boring navigation menu.

U is for User Generated Content

Websites usually push content at you. But when a website supports community and allows its members to add their own content using various media, its content is user generated. Simple as that. Forums, blog comments, 43Things, Flickr accounts, MySpace and so on.

V is for Vlogging

Video blogging.

W is for Wiki

Wiki-Wiki is a Hawaiian term for “rapidly.” So a wiki is a website that any registered user can not only add content to but also edit content for. Some businesses also use wiki pages for project management internally. Public examples are Wikipedia and LoveToKnow.

X is for XML

XML is what you get when you apply the tagging concept to HTML coding. With XML language (Extensible Markup Language) allows coders to use their own tag descriptions. For example, you could have Curious George and The Man in The Yellow Hat as tags if you wanted to. XML is useful to social media advancement as it puts the X in AJAX. And it makes RSS feeds possible.

Y is for YouTube

Anything innovative and popular eventually blows up and gets bought up by some juggernaut like Google. If you’ve never heard of YouTube, pick up a Time Magazine! This site made stars of ordinary people by allowing users to upload their own videos.

Z is for Zoominfo

Zoominfo is an example of a business/social networking site that is useful to recruiters and job seekers. It’s basically a niche search engine that allows you to search for information about a company or person using natural language programming, a type of artificial intelligence. You can read more about Zoominfo and its technology on Wikipedia.

Can U Diggit?



  1. […] For anyone feeling out of the loop these days about the Web, Vancouver’s Linda Bustos have a handy-dandy (Clearly, I’ve been watching too many Blues Clues episodes) A to Z primer to get you up to speed real quick. Subscribe to RSS headline updates from: Powered by FeedBurner […]

  2. Beautiful.

  3. Hey,

    “Knowledge economy” is the best I could do for ‘k’.


  4. Knowledge Economy is fabulous, Aidan. Thanks for the comment!

  5. good to know, thanks for sharing!

  6. sorry, meant to add – W for Web2.0 instead? just a thought… 🙂

  7. How can i translate this to traffic.

  8. Thanks what an education.


  9. Thanks for sharing that stuff.

  10. Very beautiful

  11. […] points out tips to help you succeed and even how to choose your platform. There is also a list of Web 2.0 jargon. At the end you’ll find a list of good online resources to familiarize yourself with the […]

  12. Just found your blog. Look for a post and link on my blog . This post will help out alot of my readers. Maybe K can Be for the Klueless?
    CJ Boston

  13. Fantastic, thank you for that, helped to clear a few things up for me!

  14. A great web blog thanks for this info. I will tell a few friends about this site as its a great read.

  15. Why thank you Darren!

  16. nice list…but couldn’t “L” also mean link love or would that be a double L; and “N” equal Noob (something I call some of my readers”; and of course “B” has to equal Britopian for this list to be complete! lol.

  17. Good thought on the link love. With the exception that social media’s notorious nofollow means some links don’t love you all that much.

    Noob – definitely!

    Britopian – well give us your elevator pitch 🙂

  18. lol…okay here goes but please read it with a soft, professional, British accent or something…

    “Michael Brito, owner/CEO/Founder/Thought leader of Britopian blog is well known in the marketing industry for his well written editorial content about SEO and Social Media; and coupled with his outstanding communication skills and great personality is often invited to speak at marketing conferences around the globe.“

    Okay okay..the truth is I am not that well known and I have never been invited to speak at a conference YET; but I do have great communication skills and personality though.

    Did I make the list?

  19. Cheers, Michael. You made “the list”…my blogroll, LOL.

  20. awesome! That of course was not my intention, but I do apperciate it; and will return the favor!

    – M

  21. Thanks!

  22. […] Smogger ; the web 2.0 list. […]

  23. This is wonderful. I needed this! I will share it with the kids I teach. They may already know it all though….

    -a youth media literacy worker, San Francisco

  24. It’ll be interesting to see how this alphabet soup changes as new technologies and ideas are introduced. For example, I would say that “T” is for Twitter these days, but even that will probably change!

    Please check out my media literacy blog at Thanks!

  25. The list is very good from experience. You can also submit to Your article will be approved in 24 hrs. Good luck and keep it coming.

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