Social Media Glossary U-Z

The A to Z of Social Media Terms

Are you confused with all of the buzz-words that surround Social Media and Social Networking? Don’t know your podcasting from your vodcasting? Ever wondered the meaning of Search Engine Optimisation? And what exactly is a vlog? Or blogging? Or the blogosphere? Fret no more! Here for the first time, in our wonderfully simplified Social Media Glossary are our definitions for all the latest buzzwords doing their rounds.

Any definitions you want to add? Submit a comment on our “Show Me How” page and we’ll add it to our glossary

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Upload: To transfer a file or other content from your computer to an Internet site.

URL: Unique Resource Locator is the technical term for a web address like

Usenet: Portmanteau of “user” and “network”, is a worldwide distributed Internet discussion system.

User generated content: Text, photos and other material produced by people who previously just consumed. See content.

USM Universal Subscription Mechanism. Allows certain podcatchers to automatically add a subscription from an RSS file.

Vcasting: See Video Podcast

Video: Many digital cameras and mobile phones take videos good enough to view on the Net. Sites like YouTube and now make it easy to open an account, upload and share your videos. These sites will also provide some unique code for each video so you can, if you wish, embed the video in a blog post. Short interviews that “capture the moment” work well, particularly if you provide a text summary so people can easily decide whether or not to view. However, check whether the audience you are aiming at is likely to have a fast enough connection, and up to date browser, to view your video easily.

Virality: The extent to which an issue will spread from one consumer to another across the Internet (by e-mail, links, blogs, social tagging, etc.). Low virality means little distribution; high virality means wide or broad distribution.

Video Podcast: A podcast with enclosures containing video files rather than audio ones. Unlike audio podcasts which may only contain MP3 files, various file types can be used when podcasting video.

Video Podcasting: The process of publishing video files along with news feeds so that viewers can download them and watch them on their computer or portable digital video player.

Viral Marketing: The planned promotion of a product, brand or service through a process of interesting actual or potential customers to pass along marketing information to friends, family, and colleagues. This word-of-mouth advertising is usually accomplished by a creative use of social networking and other non-traditional marketing channels.

Virtual worlds: Online places like Second Life or World of Warcraft, where you can create a representation of yourself (an avatar) and socialise with other residents. Basic activity is free, but you can buy currency (using real money) in order to purchase land and trade with other residents. Second Life is being used by some voluntary organisations to run discussions, virtual events and fundraising.

Vlog: See Video podcast

Vodcast: Another name for video podcasting. Short for Video On-Demand Podcasting.

Voice: Online Social media enables you to extend your voice by increasing your reach across the Net, and doing that in the way that suits you best. You can write – or if you are a visual person you can upload photos or other images and invite comments. If you prefer talking, use Voice over IP, or perhaps record and upload a podcast, capture interviews and events on video. Your voice can be focussed on your blog … or be available on other sites through your commenting, linking and use of social media websites.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP): Enables you to use a computer or other Internet device for phone calls without additional charge, including conference calls. By using headphones and a microphone you can also free your hands to use instant messaging to keep a shared note of conversations, or use other virtual presence tools. You can use Voice over IP to do interviews for Podcasts. The best-known VOIP tool is Skype.

Web 2.0: Term coined by O’Reilly Media in 2004 to describe blogs, wikis, social networking sites and other Internet-based services that emphasize collaboration and sharing, rather than less interactive publishing (Web 1.0). It is associated with the idea of the Internet as platform.

Web-based tools: Google, Yahoo and a host of other commercial organisations provide an increasing range of free or low-cost tools including email, calendars, word processing, and spreadsheets that can be used on the web rather than your desktop. Provided you are happy to entrust your data to these organisations – and are always online when working – you can reduce your software costs significantly and forget about upgrades.

Web Surfer: A person who explores the online world using a web browser to seek, or browse for information.

Webinar: Short for “web-based seminar” webinars are interactive presentations, lectures, workshops or seminars transmitted online, where the audience can participate by offering, receiving and discussing information.

Whiteboards: These are useful online collaboration tools that enable a user to write or sketch on a web page and then remove or wipe off the information when finished.

Widgets: Mini-applications that connect to the Internet from your desktop or web pages like FaceBook. Widgets usually have a specific function, such as providing weather updates and news headlines.

Whiteboards: online are the equivalent of glossy surfaces where you can write with an appropriate marker pen and wipe off later. They are tools that enable you to write or sketch on a web page, and as such are useful in collaboration online.

Wiki: An online, collaborative work space for multiple users of 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. Once people have appropriate permissions set by the wiki owner, they can create pages and/or add to and alter existing pages.

Wikis: A page or collection of web pages that support multiple contributors that can access and modify content. The most popular wiki is Wikipedia.

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