The following terms are primarily from the glossary for Digital Habitats: stewarding technology for communities, by Etienne Wenger, Nancy White, and John D. Smith. The terms below are not all inclusive, but are intended to form a basis of common understanding for discussion purposes. Terms may be added or updated during the discussion on Using Social Media in Teaching and Professional Development.
Aggregation: The process of automatically gathering material from multiple websites (blogs, news sites, podcasts, etc.) and displaying them on a single web page. This is typically done by subscribing to a feed and then reading them with an aggregator, such as an RSS reader.
Aggregators: Software tools that bring together material from different sources and display them on one page. For example, a blog reader allows a user to subscribe to posts from different blogs and then read them on one page. See RSS in Plain English by the Common Craft Show:
Asynchronous interaction: Different-time communication like on a discussion list (as opposed to synchronous), “real-time” communication like a chat.). Online discussions occurring independent of time or location. Participants send or post messages to a central location, like a discussion board, where they are stored for retrieval by other participants. Examples include wikis, blogs, email.
Avatar: An icon or representation of a person in an online environment. It can be a photo in a discussion forum or a moving character in an online game or 3-D immersible environment like Second Life.
Blog: A blog (short for "weblog") is a website with commentary, news, opinions, and such, often from one person. Some blogs have multiple contributors and allow comments from readers. Comments are used for discussion, expressing other opinions, providing more information, and correcting errors. Blogs are created from programs that allow easy Web publication.
Microblogging: Sending short posts such as those found in Twitter, which are limited to 140 characters. Microblogging lets users tell each other what they are doing throughout the day, in short bursts.
Associated tools: Allows users to manage their Twitter account, such as being able to check Twitter without being logged in to one's Twitter account, share photos on Twitter, automatically feed one's blog content to Twitter, etc.
Photo and video sharing: Websites where users can post and tag digital photos or videos and others can find and sometimes rate and comment on them. Some sites are free and others charge members to store and share. Digital photos, music, and videos can also be shared directly between personal computers with peer-to-peer file sharing systems.
Podcasting: A method of distributing audio files, putting the control of selecting, downloading, and listening in the hands of users to listen to on MP3 devices, allowing them to experience audio events across time and distance. It differs from the traditional broadcast model which determines what gets broadcast and when.
File sharing or document sharing: Systems that allow real-time editing of documents online by several people.
Geomapping: The process of creating maps for the Web, combining places (locations) and other information from a variety of sources. Some geomaps also contain time information, such as when a storm front is predicted to be where. You can get map widgets for your website or blog.
Geotagging: The process of adding geographic tags, usually longitude and latitude, to websites, web pages, images, and other objects for which location is important. Used with geomapping.
Mashup: An application that uses elements from more than one source to create a new hybrid service. Ex: HousingMaps, a mashup of Google maps and housing information from Craigslist.
Open source software: “Generally, open source refers to a program in which the source code is available to the general public for use and/or modification from its original design free of charge, i.e., open. Open source code is typically created as a collaborative effort in which programmers improve upon the code and share the changes within the community. Open sources sprouted in the technological community as a response to proprietary software owned by corporations. Source: Webpedia, open source.
Post: (verb) To contribute something to a group discussion, website, or other exchange, as in posting to an email list, a discussion forum, a blog or wiki, or a photo or video sharing service. (noun) The actual contribution (message, comment, etc.)
RSS: Stands for Really Simple Syndication. It’s a method to allow users to subscribe to web-based content they want to read on a regular basis. Users subscribe to an aggregator or RSS reader and Web content of their choosing is delivered to their reader. It saves users time because users do not need to go to many websites or blogs, and so on, to check for updates. Instead, the reader automatically checks for new content and displays it all in one place, either as summaries or in full, organized by subscription. See RSS in Plain English by the Common Craft Show
SMS: Stands for Short Messaging System, this is text messaging (“texting”) for mobile phones.
Social media: A general term to describe activities that involve social interaction, technology, and user-generated content. “Social media can take many different forms, including Internet forums, message boards, weblogs, wikis, podcast, pictures, and video. Technologies include blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, crowdsourcing, and voice over IP, to name a few.” Source: Wikipedia, social media
Social networking tools: Social networking tools provide network analysis and connection facilities to allow people to understand the community structure and influence it over time. They are often integrated with a variety of other tools including calendars, chat, presence indicators, group membership, connections finders, expert finders, and community entry pages. Social networking tools allow users to understand the roles of individuals in the community by providing information on how they relate to others.
Social or shared bookmarking: “In a social bookmarking system, users save links to Web pages that they want to remember and / or share. These bookmarks are usually public, and can be saved privately, shared only with specified people or groups, shared only inside certain networks, or another combination of public and private domains. People who have access can usually view these bookmarks chronologically, by category or tags, or via a search engine. Most social bookmark services encourage users to organize their bookmarks with informal tags. They also enable viewing bookmarks associated with a chosen tag, and include information about the number of users who have bookmarked them. Many social bookmarking services provide web feeds for their lists of bookmarks, including lists organized by tags. This allows subscribers to become aware of new bookmarks as they are saved, shared, and tagged by other users.” Source: Wikipedia, social bookmarking
Tags: Keywords or category labels users attach to items or elements, such as posts, webpage bookmarks, wiki pages, blog posts, photos, videos, and music in media sharing systems, etc. Tags help people find similar items. Tags are user-generated. Tag clouds are visual displays of tags used on a website, with the most frequently used shown in larger type.
Web 2.0: A term with many definitions, suggesting greater interactivity and participation than one-way static websites. “Web 2.0 is a term describing the trend in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aims to enhance creativity, information sharing, and, most notably, collaboration among users. These concepts have led to the development and evolution of web-based communities and hosted services, such as social networking sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies.” Source: Wikipedia, Web_2.0
Wiki: “A wiki is a collection of web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites. For example, Wikipedia is one of the best known wikis. (The Adult Literacy Education Wiki is a wiki developed by and for adult educators.)