Social Media Glossary

My personal glossary of the important concepts on social media:

Access – the ability to see what you are trying to view eg. You can access a friend’s photo but not their profile

Aggregation – mixing and merging feeds to create a new one

Advertising Network – sells ads across multiple publishers in order to optimise ad delivery based on the user rather than context eg. Adknowledge, RockYou, Social Cash, DoubleClick

Affiliate Network – CPA ads for multiple retailers across multiple publishers. Eg. Affiliate Window, TradeDoubler

Alerts – tool to get a search engine to tell you whenever a new page is published on the web which includes your specific keyword – eg. alert me every time a blog refers to “Nudge London”

API – (Application Programming Interface) – a technical agreement that allows two applications to talk to each other. Eg Youtube API might allow you to redisplay the top 5 videos of the day on your web site

Application (or social application) – software served through a social network obeying platform rules and using user profile data eg. the Honesty Box application allows social network users to anonymously answer personal questions

Authentication – you are who you say you are eg. Finger Print ID, OpenID, Passwords

Authorisation – you are allowed to perform the action what you are trying to do.

Avatar – a representation of an individual that is usually different from their real world personality. Eg. a character on Second Life

Blog – editorless web publishing tool. Eg. WordPress, Blogger, MovableType

Blogosphere – general term for all the blogs on the internet

Blog roll – list of recommended blogs

Canvas – the screen area that an application can use to serve content and features within a social network.

Cloud computing: Internet-based computing whereby shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices on-demand, like the electricity grid. Crucially, private files are stored off the owner’s terminal – so they can be accessed anywhere in the world.

Cluster – groupings of content with similar tags. Eg. Flickr Clusters

Connect (Facebook Connect / Friend Connect) – the ability for me to bring my friends with me to existing sites, the ability for existing web sites to allow users to login with their Facebook or Google accounts.

Context ads – adverts placed directly inside or next to relevant content or features. Eg. Celebrity ads on Spotted!, FMCG goods as virtual gifts

CPA (Cost Per Action) – the publisher is remunerated based on specific actions the user does. Eg. affiliate ads

CPC (Cost Per Click) – the publisher is remunerated when the user clicks on an advert link – eg. Google Adwords

CPM (Cost Per Mille (thousand impressions)) – the publisher is remunerated every time the user sees the advert. Eg. DoubleClick ads

CPI (Cost Per Install) – a specific type of CPA where the action is the installation of a social application

Crowdsourcing – outsourcing to several competitors (usually individuals) and awarding a prize to the winning entry – eg.

Daily loop: The daily loop is the mechanism that encourages users to come back to your application/website/service on a daily basis. A successful example of this is the Facebook application Farmville. Facebook users are incentivised to come back to the application by receiving 10 coins in the game.

Dashboard: A summary user interface page that is designed to display information in an easier way to read.

Engagement Ad – a display advert that includes interactivity specific to the particular social network. Eg. Your friend John became a fan of British Cycling. Become a fan

Feed – content served at regular intervals eg. the latest articles from a blog or social actions by your friends

Folksonomy – categorisation taxonomy agreed by democracy rather than by authority. Eg.

Friend (noun)– a person with whom you have a mutually agreed connection

Friend (verb)– the act of adding a person to your social graph on a particular social network. Eg. “friend me on Facebook”

Friend List – a user’s personal sub-categorisation of friends on a social network eg. Co-workers, Current Friends, Clients, Old Friends

Hashtag : Invented by HubTag and popularised by Twitter, a hashtag enables users to find all the tweets linked to a topic when they use a Twitter search engine such as Twitter Search. For example, you can use the hashtag: #leadersdebate to see what people have said on Twitter about the General Election 2010.

Identity – the general term for ensuring the correct representation of a particular individual on a web application

Location based social networks: Interactions in these social networks are based on users’ locations. Users indicate their location to the network and are rewarded with points and can see the social activity around them.

Lurker – someone who reads social media content but rarely contributers. The usual ratio is 1% creator, 10% commenter and 89% lurker…

Mashup – combining two or more web services to create something new. Eg. combining Twitter posts with Google maps to create TwitterVision.

Meme: A meme appears when internet users create a trend by using a similar set of words to start a sentence. It is generally used to mock something or somebody. The last meme that appeared in the UK was the ‘I agree with Nick’ expression as a result of the General Election 2010.

Moblogging – posting to your blog via your mobile phone

Monetisation – the approach to making money from your online property usually by display advertising, subscription, affiliate links, or context advertising (eg. sponsored ads on search)

Network – a Facebook term for a broader social grouping such as a city, large company or university. Eg. London, Yahoo, King’s College

News Feed (aka ch-ch changes, activity stream) – throttled, filtered amalgamation of friend generated stories over the past 48 hours

Octopus: A Nudge internal term for describing Facebook applications. They are  like an octopus:  tentacles that reach as many Facebook communication channels as possible in order to ensure the virality of the app. “integration points”. Eg Events, Photos, Newsfeed, Friends, Walls, etc

Online advertising – one or a combination of CPA, CPC, CPM or Tenancy. Search is a form of CPC but is so large (Google Adwords) that it usually referred to separately.

OpenID – a technology for sharing identity across different web sites.

Open Graph – A Facebook term referring to connections between users and things they like (web pages such as a film on IMDB or a restaurant on Top Table)

OpenSocial – a technology for deploying the same application across multiple platforms (MySpace, Friendster, Hi5 but not Facebook or LinkedIn)

Page – (aka Brand Page, Fan Page) – the anthropomorphic representation of a brand within a social network. Eg. Nutella Fan Page. This works both ways and can be the brand representation of a person within a social network – eg. Michael Phelps fan page, British Cycling (

Platform – the ability for third parties to serve additional applications to users eg. The Facebook Platform

Podcast – a downloadable radio show designed to be listened to on an ipod.

Poke – smallest unit of communication on a social network eg. you have just been poked by Jane, do you want to poke back?

Privacy settings – the ability to limit social content by network or friend lists

Profile – the online representation of an individual’s identity

Property – a generic term for a page, application, widget or web site

Retention Loop – the application dynamic that encourages me to return regularly to an application.

Rich Media Ad – a display advert that includes video or interactivity

RSS – one of the technologies behind blogs (see Feed)

Semantic web: The semantic web is a new step in the evolution of the web where information is organized by links between websites, specifically, the content created by users.

Share – the act of sharing a piece of content with specific friends or “posting to profile” so that those friends particularly interested in me will read it

Social Action – an interaction on a social network that triggers a story to be posted to a user’s profile. E.g. Toby just added an Ipod to his wish list.

Social Ad – a display advert targeted to a particular social demographic (age, location, relationship status) or profile data (job, interests)

Social Bookmarking – sharing links to your favourite web site with others

Social Context – the real world social activity that a social application tries to replicate or provide tools for online.

Social Engagement Funnel – the five increasing levels of  social engagement from viewing through selecting, commenting, sharing, creating and marketing.

Social Gaming: When you play online games with your friends on social networks such as Facebook. The most successful example is Farmville produced by Zinga, which at one stage had gathered  84 million active users.

Social Graph – an online representation of your real world network of relationships. This is created only through mutual consent (“friending” someone)

Social Media – editorless content discovered by keyword, democracy, algorithm or social graph

Social Network – an online environment to share, communicate and play with your friends . eg. Myspace, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Orkut (also see social network platforms that allow you to create your own social network such as Ning)

Social Plugins (Facebook): Social plugins are a line of HTML code that can be integrated into any webpage and offers users a personalised version of your website.

Social Remixing – mash up between a user’s social data (photos, friends etc.) and a brand or product to create something new. A Nudge creative process.

Social Utility – an editorless, rules based, Social Network. E.g. Facebook operates as an ecosystem rather than as a channel

Status – 140 character description of what a user is doing right now. E.g. Toby is writing a glossary of Social Media terms

Tagging – the slightly secretarial act of allocating particular keywords to content eg. Flickr photos

Tenancy (sponsorship) – the advert is displayed for a set period of time. Eg. Pampers sponsors Netmums

Twitter (Micro-blogging) – updating your status by mobile phone text message

Update – a newsletter sent to Fans of a Page

Viral Loop – the planned mechanic that encourages me to share a property with my friends

Viralocity – the number of new users gained for each user. eg. a viralocity of 1 means for each user one new user is gained.

Virtual currency: Virtual currencies are used in games and social networks to let users buy items on the platform.  Virtual currencies are indexed on real currency and are bought by users.

Virtual Goods: Non-physical items that people still pay for – a virtual tractor in Farmville for example, a mythril sword on Worlds of Warcraft and a 50 by 50 pixel rose on Facebook

Wall – shared discussion board specifically about an individual and displayed on the individual profile.

Warm Traffic – sending users to your web site that have already been engaged via a social page or app – eg. “warmed up” users who are more likely to convert to customers

Web 2.0 – general term for an easier to use web

Widget – an stand alone application that can work on both web sites and on profile pages. Eg. on your myspace profile page.

Wiki – a technology designed to allow many different people to edit a web page by providing an easily reversible audit trail of edits and changes. The best example of this in practice is the Wikipedia project.

Seen a social media word you think should be in the glossary? Comment it below! Thanks

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