25 Social Media Buzzwords

1. Social graph: The social graph is a diagram of the interconnections between people, with the peoplehttp://www.ignitesocialmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/teacher.jpg serving as nodes, and the lines between them showing the connections. But hey, it sounds much cooler if you now refer to it like this. Thus, it’s a buzzword. Well respected blogger (actually, some say inventor of blogging), Dave Winer says that social graph and social network are the same thing, and you sound like a monkey if you use the term social graph.

2. Twitter: This one is easy. Twitter is either a “presence app” or a “microblogging tool” depending on whom you ask. In English that means, it’s a place where you send short updates to say what you’re up to (thus the word “presence”) and/or it’s a place where you can do very short (140 characters or less, like a text message) posts that might share good articles, etc. It’s a great tool for keeping in touch with a group, believe it or not. You can see my “Tweets”, as they’re called, here.

3. LinkedIn: Often called Facebook for grown-ups, but I think that’s wrong. Linked-In, in my view, is your resume online plus the ability to connect with a wide array of folks. Good place to find jobs, connect with people for new business, ask a question and get a good answer, etc. Maybe it’s Facebook for work. I could live with that explanation. If you’re reading this, and you’re not on LinkedIn, join right now. I don’t know why you wouldn’t.

4. Semantic Web: Ok, you’re really cool if you casually work this one into conversation. Picture that all the data on the web was sort of tagged and defined so that computers themselves could know what those pieces were. If so, then the Internet itself (or actually the computers connected to it) could analyze that data and do some of the “thinking” for us. Cool, huh?

5. Wiki: Wikis are collaboration tools. They allow multiple people to work in the same document, and that document lives online. Plus, it saves all the old versions, keeps a history of who changed what, etc. So it’s way better than Word in that respect, particular for groups that aren’t on a shared server. But, besides Wikipedia, these haven’t taken off like people thought they would, in part because you need to know a few wiki codes to make things bold, etc.

6. Widget: I define widgets as mini-applications that can live away from their parents. Probably not the definition that you’ll see in a dictionary, but it works for me. These might be desktop widgets that update the weather for you automatically, for example. (Vista and Mac OS both have widget capability.) Or they live in Facebook, Open Social, or many other places. A lot of folks are using widgets to drive traffic to their sites, which is sort of counter-intuitive.

7. KickApps: This one is just fun to say, because everyone thought you cursed there for a second. But KickApps is a very cool tool for building your own social networks. And they’ll give it to you free if you let them run ads on your network. (Or you can buy out the ads. If you do, you can have no ads or you can sell your own ads and make money.)

8. Tumblr: I’ve only played a little with Tumblr, but it’s a way to post really short blog posts. Some people call it the blogging platform for busy people. You can also pull in feeds from your other posts, share pictures, etc. Think of it as in-between super-short Twitter and super robust WordPress (which this site uses).

9. del.icio.us: Ah, it’s fun to say delicious seemingly out of context, too. Del.icio.us is (a) very hard to remember when you type it the first few times and (b) a better way to save your bookmarks. Say you like a page and want to hang on to it. You can CTRL-D and save it as a bookmark on your computer (and only that computer) or you can save it to del.icio.us. If you do the latter, you can get it on any computer. More than that, there’s a social component to del.icio.us. For example, if you are the one who always bookmarks stuff I like, I can follow your tagged entries. Poof, look at all the time you saved me!

10. Enterprise 2.0: In my mind Enterprise 2.0 is simply this: Using all this social media stuff to change the way we work within an organization. How we collaborate. How we use the wisdom of crowds. That sort of thing. And again, think of how cool you sound when you say this. w00t!

11. Social Media Optimization: Ok, you’ve got content. You put it out in press releases, white papers, yada yada. Social Media Optimization is about making that data portable. Can it be subscribed to through RSS? Can someone submit it to Digg? Can someone take your video and embed it on their site? That sort of thing. A social media newsroom is a great example of SMO for press content.

12. Meme: First of all, how do you say this? It rhymes with dream. To me, memes are ideas that catch on, and a variety of people run with them, build on them, expand on them. The definitions for this one are somewhat varied, but I just sort of think of them in the simplest terms as an idea that spreads.

13. Mash-ups: Mash-ups are great. Take two pieces of content and mash them together to make something new. One very, very common one is a custom Google map, for example. Here’s one that Gene in our office did a while back. But mash-ups are limited only by your imagination and computer skills, so don’t just think they are Google maps.

14. Social Media Monitoring: This one is no joke. It’s step one for social media. You’ve got to listen before you can take part in a conversation. There are lots of tools to do this, depending on exactly what you’re trying to do. Basically free things like Google Reader or Bloglines let you track certain feeds. Services like Terraminds let you search Twitter. More advanced tools such as Radian6 and BuzzLogic cost money but let you do more analysis than you otherwise can. You’ve got to monitor to know what to say and monitor to know how you’re doing.

15. User-Generated Content: Hopefully this one is obvious, but instead of a company or organization generating content for a website you can have your users-generate content. Think broadly on this one. Sure it’s “Submit a video”, but that’s hard. It’s also comments left on a site, reviews, etc. More content on your site is great. Imagine if you can get others to do it! Some extra cool folks use acronyms for this buzzword, like UGC or CGC (for consumer generated content). Try that at your next meeting!

16. Web 2.0: This phrase was coined by Tim O’Reilly in 2003. In December 2006, even he was still trying to define it. I like to think of this way: Web 2.0 is the transition of websites from static holders of information to sources of content. Picture Web 1.0 websites as half-filled buckets, sitting upright, while Web 2.0 websites are three-quarter filled buckets, pouring slowly out to fill other buckets. Some like to say it’s the transition of the web as a platform. It’s also, importantly, a change in philosophy as to how information is generated and shared. Some people are already trying to define Web 3.0, but I won’t dignify any of that nonsense with a link.

17. Social Networks: You know this one. Facebook. MySpace. Easy, right? Sure. Just don’t forget the niche social networks that abound when you’re doing social media marketing. For our clients, we’ve often found far more engaged communities in places other than Facebook and MySpace.

18. Blogosphere: The blogosphere is an imaginary atmosphere in which all the nattering bloggers chatter floats around. People say things like, “the blogosphere was abuzz with talk of the Elliot Spitzer scandal.” While it’s a buzzword, you’ll find as you follow a group of people on a certain subject that the blogosphere starts to take on a certain personality.

19. Viral Marketing: The definition is simple. It’s a marketing campaign that is so compelling that people share it, so it spreads, like a virus. But the reason we chuckle at it is because people frequently ask us to make something “go viral.” Or make a “viral video.” Two problems with that. #1) Viral is impossible to predict. (Could you have guessed before you saw the video below that it would take off? It did. Like crazy.) #2) Doing something “wacky” enough to go viral can hurt a brand. Yeah, yeah, I know all about Dove Evolution, and I can tell you why that’s actually NOT a good example of social media marketing, as brilliant as it is.

20. Ruby on Rails. Oh yeah, using this one in a conversation scores you big points. Through in the term 37signals while you do it for bonus points. Here’s what it is. Ruby is a programming language. The guys at 37signals made it really easy to use it quickly. (Get it? They put it “on rails”.) It really was brilliant what they did. Very robust platform. We use it here sometimes. Gene’s a big fan. If you can compare it to CakePHP, then you shouldn’t be reading this post at all!

21. Social Media Press Release. The merits of the social media press release have been pretty heavily debated since Shift Communications came out with a template for it. Basically, the idea is to make your release easy for anyone, including bloggers, to pull from. Extract key points. Embed your photos and videos on their site, etc. An interesting idea. I personally think there’s work to do to make it practical, but the idea that the traditional press release could be improved is no doubt true.

22. Vlogging. Not to be confused with “flogs”, which are fake blogs. Vlogging is short for video blogging. Instead of writing all this stuff, why not do a video about it. Here’s a quick video that I did explaining why I started Ignite Social Media. It’s an example of a vlog post, although some folks only do video on their blogs. (There are search engine problems with having no words, though.)

23. Microblogging. Microblogging is, as you might guess, really short blog posts. Twitter is a good example. Some say that Tumblr is, too. If you don’t know what Twitter or Tumblr are, go back to Part I from yesterday.

24. Transparency and Authenticity. If you’ve been looking at social media for more than 10 minutes, you’ve come across these words a lot. That’s because all the companies who have gotten in trouble trying to do social media marketing got in trouble because they tried to be too clever for their own good. Just read this post if you want to know what I mean. Sometimes the best marketing is to just say what you know. The only time Wal-mart has gotten credit in social media is when they decided to just be honest.

25. White Label. White label means that someone built a program and they’ll let you have it (sometimes free, sometimes at great expense) so that you can put your design around it and make it your own. You get all the brand benefits, and all the functionality of a great tool, without the expense of building it. Often you can choose which elements you want, move them around, etc., to make something truly unique. KickApps is white label social network building. Clicky is white label analytics. White label can be a great option for quick, cost effective deployment, as long as you still think about strategy and user experience as you implement it.
Most Common Social Media Terms

Aggregator: A web-based tool that collects and delivers syndicated content.

Archives: An organized index page that collects a website’s posts from the past.

Captcha: A series of letters that are used when someone tries to respond to a social media post. The writer must correctly type the letters before posting. The captcha was created to assure that a person, as opposed to a software program, is writing the response.

Creative Commons License: A creative commons license allows you to keep the copyright of your work, but allows others to distribute your work on other social media or social networking websites. The photography website known as Flickr has a series of free photos that are available for use on other websites. Keep in mind that you still have to credit the photographer, and you can not claim it as your own work.

Dynamic Content: Dynamic content is content that is constantly changing. Videos and animations are examples of dynamic content.

Keywords: Keywords are the descriptive words that describe a piece of media. A good use of keywords makes it easier for a website, article or video to be found on search engines.

Photoblog: A type of blog that allows users to share photos.

Podcast: A podcast is an audio program in a compressed digital format, which is deigned to be listened to over the web.

RSS: RSS is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication. This XML based format has become the preferred standard for syndicating content across the web.

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