Social media glossary

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A continually-updated alphabetical, encyclopaedic listing of social media, (some) web 2.0 tools and trends for information professionals.


  • is a personal web hosting service co-founded by Ryan Freitas, Tony Conrad and Tim Young in 2009. The site offers registered users a platform to aggregate multiple online identities, relevant external sites and popular social networking websites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr and YouTube.

  • Affordance

See other Affordance definitions
"Refers to the perceived and actual properties of something, primarily those fundamental properties that determine how it can be used ...affordances provide strong clues to the operations of things." (Norman, 1988). Also: "an action possibility available in the environment to an individual, independent of the individual's ability to perceive this possibility" (McGrenere and Ho, 2000).

  • Aggregation

Aggregation refers to collecting content from multiple social media sites (such as Facebook or Twitter) with the goal to organize and simplify users' social networking experiences. While individual sites may offer unique features specific to that site, social networking aggregation collects the content that is produced on several sites and delivers it in a less overwhelming way. Aggregating content is performed by using tools to draw information from different sites into a single space. Aggregation services provide tools and widgets -- either downloadable or web-based -- that function to consolidate friends, bookmarks, messages and profiles in easy, digestible formats. Aggregation is done by an application programming interface (API). Some examples of aggregation include FriendFeed, Flock, TweetDeck, SocialNetwork.In, SocialURL, Digsby, Trillian/Adium, YooNo, and OrSiSo. (See Personal Learning Environments (PLEs))

  • Alerting systems

A form of current awareness or information push. Many search engines ask you to set up searches using specific words, phrases or tags with new results sent to you via email or RSS feeds. This form of searching allows you to check whether your organization, blog or blogpost has been mentioned and to respond to it if you wish.

  • API

An application programming interface or "API" is a small software program that enables one computer program or application to exchange data with another.

  • Architecture of participation

The father of web 2.0 Tim O'Reilly coined this phrase in 2003. He envisioned a community of users building something together on the web where the web itself enables distributed networks of participation. Common examples of an architecture of participation include MySpace, YouTube and Flickr.

Although the 2.0 suffix has not been applied to archives with as much zeal as in libraries, a body of literature suggests that the terms Archives 2.0 and Archivist 2.0 are more widely used than previously thought. Many of the principles of web 2.0 are discussed within the archival context. (See Archives 2.0)

Avatars are used widely in immersive environments and are graphical images or icons that represent us digitally. A visual character that represents you can be your body, clothes, behaviours, gender or name of choice; it does not have to be an authentic representation .

Augmented reality is a combination of a real world environment with additional virtual elements by using computers to augment the environment. What does AR look like? Imagine being able to rotate around the solar system, navigate through data sets in 3D, and interact with a simulated ecosystem on a mobile device. AR is a technique through which 3D virtual objects can laid onto the “real world” in real time using little more than a PC, webcam and printed symbol. (See App showing books out of order


  • Bibliotwitosphere

The library community in Twitter. The biblioblogosphere is, predictably, the library blogging community.

The term blog refers to a frequently updated site of entries arranged in reverse chronological order. Blogs are important in the rise of social media and web 2.0. However, microblogging and services such as Twitter and Yammer are taking some attention away from blogs and bloggers.

  • Blog aggregators

Sites such as Bloglines and iGoogle' keep track of blogposts and RSS updates. Submitting your blog to an aggregator is used to increase its exposure and puts your content in front of wider audiences. Many believe these sites are magnets for spam.

  • Blogosphere

A common term used to describe the large and diverse community of people who contribute to blogs. Some bloggers are influential reaching large audiences. This causes many companies to monitor and reach out to the blogosphere to protect and promote their brand identity.

  • Bookmarklet

A direct link to a specific function within a webpage. Similar to a bookmark, bookmarklets are stored on a user's browser. It may search for terms in Wikipedia or pull up a Google map, or in Near-Time bookmarklets trigger a new "News" item to be posted. A bookmarklet has a small amount of programming code and is free to use. It is therefore a feature, saves time but is not necessarily an application. (See also Bookmarklet)

  • Bookmarking

See Social bookmarking sites


  • Civic media

Although rarely-used, civic media refers to communication media that strengthens the social bonds within a community or creates a strong sense of civic engagement among its residents.

  • Cloud computing

Cloud computing (Wikipedia) refers to a type of computing where data, tools and services are stored out there on the open web; in other words, not locally on locally-maintained servers. CC is scalable and incorporates ideas such as the platform as a service, software as a service and other social trends that rely on the web to satisfy far-flung users. Cloud computing services usually provide common applications that are accessed from a web browser while the software and data are stored remotely on other servers.

  • Co-creation

Instead of content consumption (or passive learners involved in knowledge acquisition), experts and amateurs are now co-creators in knowledge.

  • Collaborationware

Refers to an assemblage of software to assist a team (or network of teams) in getting work done. See Collaborative Tools Strategy

  • Collaborative consumption

  • Computing "in the cloud"

see Cloud computing

  • Connectivism

A new learning theory for the digital age by Canadian academic George Siemens. Simply put, connectivism considers the influence and importance of learning tools in explaining how learners learn new things.

  • Constructivism

Constructivism is a theory of learning originally formulated by the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget. It posits a learner actively constructs his/ her body of knowledge and understanding. The learner incorporates new experiences and information into existing mental models thereby adapting the models and his/ her understanding. Understanding is subjective because it is created by the learner using new information and previous knowledge rather than the new information just being absorbed.

There are two main branches within constructivism: cognitive constructivism and social constructivism. Cognitive constructivism focuses on how an individual learner comes to understand things with regards to learning styles and cognitive development. It suggests that a teacher must understand and work with a learner’s exisiting body of knowledge and mental models to guide the learner in the process of discovery and understanding.

Social constructivism, a concept pioneered by Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky, focuses on how social interactions help learners construct new meanings and understanding. The learner engages in a collaborative process with instructors and peers to actively construct new meanings. Social constructivism is illustrated in the use of social networks to create new meanings and understandings through collaboration with peers and the incorporation of previous knowledge from multiple sources.

  • Content

Information and experiences created by individuals, institutions and technology to benefit audiences in contexts that they value.

  • Craigslist

Craigslist is a centralized global network of online communities that permit the placement of free classified advertisements. The various sections include classified ads for housing, personals, employment, items for sale, various services, community events, and discussion forums. The rise of Craigslist is said to be linked to the precipitous drop in revenues at newspapers worldwide. (See

  • Creative Commons

A nonprofit organization that promotes free public licenses to content Creative Commons provides specific conditions through which content can be reused, such as attributions, links or other notification methods to correctly identify the original source.

  • Crowdsourcing

  • Cyberbalkanization

Cyberbalkanization or colloquially "cyber-balk", "splinternet", sometimes hyphenated as cyber-balkanization or simply 'balkanization of the Web' refers to the division of the Web by niche interests usually forming insular communities of users. The term is a coinage referring to the geopolitical process of balkanization, whereby conflict splits a region along factional (ethnic, religious, cultural) lines in an attempt to secure autonomy from the pursuit of common interests. Cyberbalkanization can be viewed analogously as the process by which internet communities and content are constructed to correspond to, often narrow, preconceived value structures of users, both actively by content creators and passively by the gradual actions of users carving out spaces for themselves. These communities, united by shared perspectives and preferences often fracture from larger, more heterogeneous user-bases to seek and validate their own views and to obtain relative isolation from the larger discourse. This can be seen as the result of the affordances of social media, namely the low barrier to publishing specialized content and the ability to generate and maintain exceedingly personalized information feeds. Cyberbalkanization, like its geopolitical manifestation, is often used pejoratively to bemoan the prevalence of filter bubbles that prevent exposure to the full spectrum of content but it may also be regarded conversely as resistance to a perceived preponderance of the 'mainstream' media narratives, ideologies or content that fails to address critiques or inherent biases.


  • Decentralization

The use of web 2.0 tools is a kind of decentralization especially in its architecture, participation and usage. A great deal of power and flexibility emerges from distributing applications and content over many computers and systems. Another phrase that refers to decentralization is cloud computing.

  • Digital Footprints

A digital footprint (see also digital tatoo) is the impression one leaves on the internet. Digital footprints are evidence of transmitted information in/through a digital communication device or environment. A digital footprint can include photographs, blog postings, tweets, status updates, etc. Essentially, anything shared online can be considered a part of one's digital footprint.

In the social media world, hiding one's digital footprint is nearly pointless, as information is often shared publicly. The existence of such public digital footprints has caused privacy concerns, due to the availability of personal content and online behaviour to employers, friends, family, etc. As well, it is extremely difficult, if not nearly impossible, to not have a digital footprint in the 21st century, especially for teens and young adults. So, individuals may choose to filter what they post online to ensure a positive or appropriate digital footprint.

Other applications: An examination of one's digital footprint (using anonymizer) can be used as a tool for cyber crime resolution and can be used to track an individual's online presence.

Digital storytelling, similar to traditional storytelling methods, may be used to pass down knowledge, skills and values to those who listen to the stories. Similar to oral history traditions, digital storytelling captures and preserves individual and collective experiences, opinions and stories. And like any other narrative, digital stories can take on many shapes and forms.


  • E-learning 2.0

E-learning is the application of the principles of web 2.0 to learning, specifically the collaboration and creation aspects that lead to student-centred learning.

  • Emerging technologies librarian

The Emerging Technologies Librarian is a fairly new position in libraries, and a concrete definition of the job is still being refined and developed. At the recent ALA conference, LITA devoted an entire session to the issue of emerging technologies in libraries. They define an Emerging Technology Librarian as someone whose “main role is to explore, evaluate, promote, and implement various emerging technologies.” ( ALA 2010 had a full session on the topic.

  • E-portfolio

An e-portfolio is a digitized collection of documents and resources that represent an individual’s achievements. Users manage the contents and usually grant access to certain people. There are currently a variety of different types of e-portfolios with varied functionality. E-portfolios are increasingly being used for coursework and other assessment purposes.

  • eBay

Founded in 1997, eBay (nee Echo Bay) is an auction website that connects buyers and sellers in an international marketplace. Users of the site are generally not business owners, as all that is required to sell on the site is a valid credit card – items available include, typically, everything. Unlike the auction sites that preceded it, eBay does not charge shoppers a fee (normally called a bidder’s or buyer’s premium) – instead, listing fees and percentages of each auction’s gross (or Final Auction Value Fees) are charged back to the seller. Checks and balances to promote honest selling are accomplished through eBay’s rating (or Feedback) system as well as through insurance for both the buyer and seller offered through its subsidiary Paypal, an online e-payment system which is currently the only form of payment that eBay allows.


  • Facebook

One of the most popular social networking sites that connects you with friends and others in your network. Millions of people use Facebook to keep up with the news of friends, to upload photos, share links and videos, and to learn about others in their extended network.

  • Feed (See RSS)

The most common type of web content syndication. Feeds are generally via RSS, Atom or XML. By subscribing to a feed, users get content from blogs, wikis, websites, or other frequently updated content through their "feed reader" without having to visit the site online. Depending on the reader choosen, RSS and ATOM feeds can be read in a browser, via email or on a mobile device.

  • File-sharing

  • Filter Failure

Filter failure, a term coined by Clay Shirky, describes some possible causes and remedies for feelings of information overload that occur when we are confronted with social media and the information they generate. It is caused by the breakdown of traditional filters on the flow of information, for example, the ease of publishing information online has broken the filter provided by the traditional publishing industry.

  • Flash-mob cataloguing

According to LibraryThing, flash-mob cataloguing is “when a horde of LibraryThing members descend on some small library with laptops and CueCat barcode scanners, catalog their books in LibraryThing, eat some pizza, talk some talk and leave them with a gleaming new LibraryThing catalog.”

  • Folksonomy

A folksonomy is a social (hence "folk") or organic use of natural language tags to describe digital items. Tags allow users to organize information and websites for themselves; this is comparable to the traditional approach in archives, libraries and museums of classification and subject analysis. Two prominent tools that use the idea of folksonomies are and


  • Gender differences in social media use

  • Geo-tagging

Geo-tagging (also geo-coding, sometimes geotagging) is the process of adding critical metadata latitude and longitude identifiers to a piece of information such as text, picture or video. This allows them to be placed in an unambiguous geographic context. This process differs from the similar task of geo-parsing, which mines text for locations but does not attempt to place the information on a map. Geo-tagging can either be done by manually entering the data or, increasingly, by using a GPS-enabled camera or phone. Geo-tagged data can then be viewed with specialized Web services or computer programs. Geo-tagging allows for geographically localized ways of indexing, sharing, and retrieving data. The descriptive aspects of metadata and locations pushes geo-tagging towards the semantic web. For intance, users of geo-tagged data can access restaurant reviews near them, view photos taken in their vicinity, and can learn important historical and architectural information pertinent to their current location. Popular web services that make use of geo-tagging include Flickr [1] which uses Yahoo Maps to display geo-tagged Photos, and Panoramio [2] which allows users to place their photos on a Google Map. Educational and archival uses of geo-tagging are becoming increasingly popular. (e.g. North Carolina State College's Wolfwalk [3]). Geo-tagging will play an important role in evolving technologies such as augmented reality (e.g. Yelp's Monocle [4]).

  • Geo-technologies

"...developments in geo-technologies have precipitated the emergence of a new field of interactive media... entitled locative media [which] emphasizes the geographical context of media. [The question is how to] combine practices of locative media (experiential mapping and geo-spatial annotation) with aspects of online participatory media (uploading, file-sharing and search categorization) to produce online applications that support geographically 'located' communities..." Hamilton, 2009

Glogster <> is a social network where users can create a free interactive poster or glog. A glog is a graphics blog or graphical blog, or an online media poster. Glogster, founded in 2007, is used in primary education and by teenagers. It is popular for its integration of multimedia, text, images, photos, audio (MP3), video, special effects and other elements. In summary, glogs are integrated digital spaces where online learning is a multimedia experience. Based on flash elements, glog posters can be shared and integrated into traditional text-oriented work.

Google+ <> is a social networking platform created as a social extension for the existing Google products and has been advertised as a more customizable and private alternative to current social media applications. This application was introduced in 2011 on a trial basis and made available to a select number of users.

Heralded by its creators as offering a social media experience most akin to real world interaction, Google+ intends to bring the richness, nuances and subtlety of offline relationships into online communication in a way that social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have not. Google+ includes several features which allow for this more nuanced style of communication such as “circles”, which allow users to group their contacts by relationship levels (e.g. “family”, “friends” or “coworkers”), and choose what information they would like to share with each group of people. This feature is intended to provide a complex and realistic social experience since the selective sharing of information is a central to offline communication. Other features of Google+ include forums for convenient group communication such as “hangouts” (video chatting) and “huddles” (group text messaging), automatic photo sharing, bookmarking and an interest-based feature called “Sparks”, which operates much like an RSS feed by collecting and delivering content from across the internet based on the user’s indicated interests. Reviews of Google + have largely been positive, however the program is not yet widely available to the public so its mass appeal remains somewhat speculative.

  • Grid computing

Grid computing is a concept that permits computer and data resources to be accessible by researchers to address large projects that are too large for local resources. A grid is a loose collection of processors, storage, specialised hardware and network infrastructure.

  • Grok

Grok means to understand something or someone intuitively, empathically and thoroughly. Heinlein coined the term in Stranger in a Strange Land, the story of a man born during the first manned mission to Mars. Raised by Martians, he returns to Earth with strange powers. In Heinlein's book, Grok is a martian word that concerns the intermingling of two realities or intelligence to create a new shared reality (like a mashup). Separate entities that become entangled in the same experiences, history, goals and purpose. Grok denotes a level of knowledge so intimate and exhaustive that it has become part of you and your identity, rather than merely learning in a detached instrumental way. A grokked concept becomes part of someone who helped contribute towards its evolution by refining, improving or perpetuating it.


  • Hashtags (#hashtags)

Hashtags (#hashtags) are a way to label, collocate and provide meta-commentary for online communication.

Closely related to the idea of tagging in general they were originally conceived of in 2007 by Chris Messina. Hashtags have primarily spread through Twitter where with the 140 character limit, space for organization is at a premium. Using the # symbol smashed into the tags without spaces makes hashtags uniquely searchable.

Since Twitter integrated their function to make them clickable they've become an excellent way to bring together tweets from many different users about a subject. By 2011 many conferences (including ALA's events) have quasi-official backchannels set up through hashtags, like #ala11. Through the use of this ungrammatical tagging (with its roots in irc channels) a person doesn't have to follow everyone at a conference to get an idea of what's going on. A saved search for a hashtag covers much more ground, and can be easily abandoned when the event is over.

Hashtags are also good for more ad-hoc tweetable events like #libchat, as well as a means to participate in memetic trends (such as Charlie Sheen's #winning earlier in 2011). Being a relative of leetspeak the use of hashtags can also be an important internet in-group signifier. Moreover, hashtags have also evolved as a way to create further context and meaning to posts, this is particularly true of humour.(See More readings on hashtags).


  • Immersive worlds

See Second Life

  • Information cascade

This is a term used to describe the spread of information through a network of people or websites.

  • Information push


  • Instant messaging (IM)

Instant messaging is a popular method of exchanging text messages in real-time. Some popular applications include AOL’s Instant Messenger (AIM), Microsoft’s Messenger, Google Talk and Yahoo’s Messenger. Increasingly used as an alternative to email, IM is rapidly growing as a preferred means of communication in the workplace.

Apple Inc. designed and developed iPad, to date the most successful tablet style computer. The multi-touch display differentiated the iPad early on from previous tablet computers, along with its ease of use, making it an excellent device for listening to music, playing games, watching movies, reading books, and surfing the web. iPad runs on the same operating system as the iPhone and iPod Touch, and has Apps available for download through the Apple App Store. With the exception of programs that run on the IPad’s web browser, the device will only run software sanctioned by Apple and distributed via the App Store unless modified. In contrast to the iPhone and iPod Touch, the iPad’s pre-loaded applications allow for all four screen rotation orientations, including upside-down. Therefore, the device does not exhibit one “native” orientation. The newer models include a camera - and can do Apple’s ‘facetime’ - connect to a 3G wireless network or a wireless local area network “Wi-Fi”. To manage your iPad simply connect via USB to your personal computer and sync the device using iTunes. (See Wikipedia. iPad. (n.d.). Retrieved July 15, 2011, from


  • Knowledge-based organizations

A term used to describe a range of organizations that create, store and disseminate knowledge (See Wikipedia entry on 'knowledge-based economy')


  • Life-casting

Lifecasting is continual broadcasting of the events in your life to people in your network, and accomplished by using wearable or portable technologies. Although the video seems a bit hokey, take a look at the new phone called Ovi that Nokia is marketing with the lifecasting trend in mind. (See also Google Latitude).

  • LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of the world’s largest social networking platforms for working professionals with over 70 million members. LinkedIn is like an online forum for Chamber of Commerce members and, as such, is popular for those interested in various industries and learning about business. Many librarians use it for networking and professional development purposes.

Wired Magazine writers Chris Anderson applied this statistical concept to the web to refer to the long tail of a bell-curve. Where a bricks-and-mortar bookstore cannot justify selling products that have minimal demand online stores such as Amazon have unlimited shelf-space and thus benefit from long-tail market opportunities.

  • Lurkers

People who read in online social communities but do not participate. The one per-cent rule suggests 1% of net users contribute content to an online community, nine percent comment and the rest lurk. However, lurkers do not take on passive roles because the content that they consume on social networking sites can trigger other interactivity and other knowledge creation elsewhere, on or offline.


  • Machinima

Machinima (mah-she-ne-mah) is a neologism based on the phrase “machine cinema.” and is used to distinguish between filmmaking made with 3D software and projects recording action in real-time interactive 3D. The creation of ‘machinima’ occurs when video is taken in a virtual environment. The computer-generated imagery results without a need for professional animation skills. Machinima can be used to depict realistic scenarios with characters for students and academics; it is currently used mostly in gaming and Second Life (See also MUVEs or MMORPGs).

  • Mashup

A mashup (sometimes called a web application hybrid) is an application that combines data, content, functionality, presentation and/or other features from two sources in order to produce something new. A mashup may or may not serve the original purpose(s) of its source materials. Peter Evans-Greenwood has proposed a new definition for the term: A mash-up is a user interface, or user interface element, that melds data and function from multiple sources to create one single, seamless view of a topic, eliminating unnecessary decisions and actions. For many, the mashups they use most often - perhaps without realizing they're mashups - are Google Maps and Street View. These applications are mashups of the Google Maps API with directory information. Less formally, "mashup" is often used interchangeably with the term "remix" to describe the combination of two or more songs to make a new composition such as DJ Sandstorm’s mashup of Herbie Hancock’s "Cantaloupe Island" with Christina Aguilera's remake of "Carwash" (available on YouTube) or a "music video" created by combining the visuals from one source with music from another (such as Cake's remake of "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps" laid over footage from the original "Star Trek" series). These mashups are almost always unauthorized using source material without the permission of its original creators and generally created for entertainment purposes.

The current trend is that new tools are built with multiple functionalities already embedded. For example, Zotero and Mendeley are primarily reference management tools, but they include social networking. Sources consulted: LIBR 559M Vista discussion with Dean Giustini, Dean Giustini's Social Media Glossary, Peter Evans-Greenwood's website, YouTube, Wikipedia. Also See Mashups in medicine

A massive open online course (MOOC) is literally open to any learner anywhere in the world who wants to interact online in social spaces with other learners. In a MOOC, the "learning is built around learning communities & interaction, extending access beyond the bounds of time and space, but offering the promise of efficiency and widening access." [1] MOOCs typically use networked learning methods but within a conventional structure of online courses. The first MOOC, entitled Connectivism and Connective Knowledge had the feel of a massive online event where two instructors invited online learners from around the world to discuss a range of topics. Each week was facilitated by an expert on a topic, relying on learning networks to assist those learning the course concepts.

1. Wikipedia. "Networked learning". Available from:

See Second Life

  • McLuhan, (Herbert) Marshall (1911-1980)

The Canadian master of media who became famous for his theories about how methods of communication influence society. In 1963, his analysis of the effect of movable type on 15th-century Europe (The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man) won a Governor-General's award. In 1964, McLuhan gained attention in for his text Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man; there, he argued that media are extensions of the physical senses that, by their very nature, introduce changes in the way societies function and in human awareness, apart from the content conveyed. His assertion that "the medium is the message" eventually became "the medium is the message."

  • Meme

A meme refers to the replication or reuse of a digital idea, file or hyperlink on social media. Memes consist of ideas that go viral but can be altered or original as in an image, website, video clip or offbeat news story, and so on. Memes may stay the same or evolve through commentaries, imitations or spoofs and parodies -- even by collecting news accounts about itself. Internet memes have a tendency to spread due to popularity, and do so organically, voluntarily, and peer to peer... rather than by any predetermined path or automated means. (See All your base belongs to us example)

  • Metaverse

The metaverse is a fictional virtual world, described in Neal Stephenson's 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, where humans, as avatars, interact with each other and software agents, in a three-dimensional space that uses the metaphor of the real world.

  • Metcalfe's law

see Network effect

Microblogging is a type of brief blogging of short posts of information on topics that range from 'what are you doing' and shared live news via handheld devices to live photos and gossip, made popular by Facebook and Twitter, the quintessential microblogging appliance in 2006. Its antecedents include Tumblr and status updates in Facebook. Microblog posts differs from traditional blogposts in terms of brevity and focus enforced usually by posts of 140 characters or less

The benefits of microblogging include providing ‘real time’ communication and commentary to an audience or network. In this regard, Twitter was used to transmit real time news updates during the unrest in the Middle East in 2011. Microblogging is used by various organizations as a promotional tool and allows for the syndication of brief bits of information. Additionally, the networking potential of microblogging affords a sense of community and a platform of followers to build trusted networks so that only the most relevant information is shared (a form of social filtering).

  • Moblogging is short for mobile blogging. Moblogging refers to posting blog updates from a cell phone, camera phone or pda (personal digital assistant). Mobloggers may update their web sites more frequently than other bloggers, because they don't have to be at their computers in order to post.

  • Mobiquity

  • Mobile phone culture

  • MUVEs - Multi-User Virtual Environments

MUVEs refer to online multi-user virtual environments or virtual worlds. This term is used less often thatn MMORPGs and may refer to older terminologies such as MUDs, MOOs and MMOGs that are not necessarily game-specific. The term was first used in Chip Morningstar in his 1990 paper The Lessons of Lucasfilm's Habitat.


Network neutrality is best defined as a maximally useful public information network that aspires to treat all content, websites and platforms equally. This allows the network to carry every possible form of information and support every kind of application. Tim Wu of Columbia University and author of 'The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires' coined the term Net Neutrality.

  • Netvibes

Netvibes is a collection of personalized tabs of social media. All kinds of interactive modules and widgets are built into the website using the Netvibes Universal Widget API, RSS feeds, podcasts, events, tabs and various other "universes". A "universe" is a publicly-viewable customized page of another entity or person.

  • Network effect

Network Effect is a term originally defined in economics to describe the marginal effect that a new user of a good or service has on the value of that product to other users. The Network Effect of a social media tool is the increased value to members or owners of a tool when users increase in number. For example, the network effect of Facebook increased as users moved away from MySpace, and likewise, MySpace’s network effect decreased. A tool can have excellent usability, architecture, and affordances, but without a large user base, the ability to interact with other users is severely limited. Social media tools are much more vulnerable to network effect than physical objects or tools, but the Network Effect can still be seen in a nonsocial environment. Apple computers, for example, are more user-friendly and well designed than PC’s, but because there are fewer Mac owners than PC owners, Mac users have to contend with more platform compatibility issues. In the LIS literature, authors who mention Network Effect tend simply to invoke it as a characteristic of Web 2.0 applications (and by extension, of Library 2.0). What appears to be lacking in the literature are any empirical studies that attempt to demonstrate relationships between the number of users of Library 2.0 tools, the value of the tool to the user, the rate of adoption of the tool, and ultimately the success or failure of a Library 2.0 initiative.

  • Networks

....not just about connecting the people, but the objects they care about....

  • Ning


  • Open access

See Open access in Canada

  • Open source software

Open source software (OSS) refers to software that fits the following criteria:

  1. Must adhere to guidelines laid out by the OSI (Open Source Initiative)
  2. Should permit different components to operate compatibly (drawing on the concept of "lego blocks" or interoperability)
  3. Should facilitate collaboration to improve and enhance freely-accessible code
  4. Not commercial (a non-proprietary product) - made available at no or minimal cost and no "vendor locks"

A milestone in the development of OSS was the creation of Linux in the 1990s (later projects like Ubuntu). It demonstrated that OSS could deliver commercially viable products to the market using a collaborative platform where a community of users could enhance code. Many libraries are looking to OSS as a means of solving some of their most complex information technology problems.


  • Openness

In the context of social media, openness is the quality of being prepared to share ideas and knowledge aided by social media. Open source software that is developed collaboratively with few constraints is one example of the power of openness. In order to be open online you may offer share-alike copyright licenses, tag content and link generously to other people's content. This kind of interactivity is a kind of open sharing and thinking.

  • OpenSocial

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


  • Participatory media

Participatory media are social media whose value and power derives from the active participation of many people. Participation culture is used to frame a way of working in which people use social media to share and collaborate. As social media is used, different ways of getting things done may happen, and encourage openness and transparency. However, social media do not on their own create participatory cultures. We are unlikely to commit to them unless there are compelling reasons to do so, such as sharing common interests, friends or goals.

  • Peer to peer (P2P)

Peer to peer (P2P) applications rely on the computing power and bandwidth of participants in a distributed network (i.e. Napster). P2P architecture (and peer production) enables new services to be launched with less capital expenditure and operational resources. Skype is an example of a peer-to-peer company. Traditional content producers like record companies have shown their concern about what they consider illegal sharing of copyrighted content by suing P2P users.

  • Personal Learning Environments (PLEs)

A personal learning environment can refer to any web-based platform that assists learners who want to learn online. Blogs and wikis are used as PLEs; so are content management tools such as BlackBoard and Vista. Aggregating tools such as PageFlakes and Netvibes can be considered to be a form of a PLE. (See this comprehensive overview of PLEs)

  • PhotoVoice

  • Ping

In blogging, ping (also pingback or linkback) is a type of XML-RPC-based mechanism by which a blog or website notifies a server that its content has been updated. A linkback is also a method for authors to get a notification that another blogger has linked to one of their posts.

  • Podcast

Podcasts deliver digital media files via the Internet using syndication feeds for playback on computers and portable devices. The term “pod” comes from Apple’s popular music device, the iPod. The availability of podcasts is seen on emerging directories and many sites such as iTunes. See Podcasts and Videocasts

  • Poke

A poke is a gesture or digital nudge on Facebook. A user who is "poked by a friend" receives the message saying that you have been poked by so-and-so..." Some SNSs have similar features such as nudges, giving high fives or giving love. Wikipedia says "The poke feature is intended to be a "nudge" to attract the attention of another user. A previous version of Facebook's FAQ gave additional insight into the origin of the feature, stating: "When we created the poke, we thought it would be cool to have a feature without any specific purpose. People interpret the poke in many different ways, and we encourage you to come up with your own meanings." There are several applications on Facebook which extend the idea of the poke feature by allowing users to perform other actions to their friends—such as "kick" or "wave to" — including's SuperPoke! application. People often reciprocate pokes back and forth until one side gives up, an event known as a "Poke War"."

  • Presence-monitoring technologies



QR Code for Wikipedia
  • QR Codes

"A QR (Quick Response) Code is a two-dimensional barcode which when scanned on a mobile phone will translate the code to either provide information or take you to a source of information. The most common task QR Codes accomplish are accessing web resources, sending a pre-written SMS or text. The unique selling point is they enable the mobile learner to connect to electronic resources or activities from a physical object."


  • Read-Write Web

The primary difference between the static Internet implementations of web 1.0 and Web 2.0 is the ability to interact and generate content via simple "Read-Write" applications such as wikis and blogs. This new functionality enables businesses to talk to partners and suppliers in an interactive way. The Read/Write website is a great resource and a popular blog.

  • Really Simple Syndication also RSS

A form of syndication where users "subscribe" to receive new or updated content from blogs, news, or other websites. RSS is a simple format which can be easily implemented by website administrators and seen by consumers. RSS feeds can be captured by "readers" inside the browser, email program or website - some applications can send RSS feeds to mobile devices. RSS feeds sent to an aggregator is a common way to help overcome "information overload".

  • Remix

S - Sm

A screencast is a digital recording usually involving video capture and audio narration. The term screencast dates from 2004 but many early tools produced large files and had few editing features. Some recent tools support compact formats such as Adobe Flash and have better editing features to make changes in sequencing, mouse movement and audio.

Second Life (SL) is a web-based social, virtual world where computer users assume digital identities ('avatars') - and live a second life. One of the coolest features on SL is teleporting - a simulated kind of flying from. SL has been visited by millions of people from around the world. Virtual worlds have evolved from their early Web 2.0 roots including social network sites, online games and simulations.

  • Sensory web

"By 2040 humans will be enclosed by a people-centric sensory web– tracking individual and group movement and behaviour via embedded, ubiquitous sensors and micro processors. The sensory web will be part of the wider web, connected to the range of human artifacts and infrastructure– clothing, living and work spaces, vehicles, buildings and urban environments. This environment will create automatic histories- recording all personal experiences from pre-birth to death. " - The Future of Humans

  • Slashtags

See Twitter

A slashtag is a way to collocate content on Twitter to create a stream of content or tweets; slashtags are designed to be succinct and provide an easy way to tag and/ or create metadata for easy searchability i.e. a tweet especially in "retweeting"

  • Slide-sharing

Slidesharing refers to a type of social tool that facilitates the sharing of powerpoint slides. The most popular site for this exchange, SlideShare, is a site where users can upload, view, share and comment on presentation files. Other sites include MyPlick, Slideboom, SlideServe, Vcasmo, Zentation and Zoho Show.

  • Smart mobs

A smart mob is an electronically-interconnected group of peers or learners in a network that behaves intelligently or efficiently because of its exponentially increasing linkages. The network enables people to connect to information and other people, allowing a highly efficient digital form of social interaction.

So - Sz

  • Social bookmarking

See also Social tagging
Social bookmarking allows users to store, share, organize, classify and search bookmarked web resources; users can view their own as well as other’s bookmarks. Bookmarks can be accessed from any computer with access to the Internet. Social bookmarks differ from the “bookmark” or “favorites” feature on most browsers because they allow users to create their own metadata, often called Folksonomies, by tagging their links. Social tagging allows users to form communities with other like-minded users. Librarians can teach students to use social bookmarks: students can use social bookmarking tools to organize their information and access new information that others have bookmarked. This saves students time and energy. Popular social bookmarking sites include Delicious, Digg, and Reddit, while the site Connotea has become popular among academic researchers by allowing them to store and share “bookmarks” or references with other like minded scholars.

  • Source: Mu, Cuiying. “Using RSS Feeds and Social Bookmarking Tools to Keep Current.” Library Hi Tech News 25.9 (2008): 10-11. Web. 13 July 2011.

  • Social browsing & filtering

Social media sites that allow users to share and manage content, participate in discussions, rate other people’s activities, etc. are central to the social browsing and filtering concept. They allow users to designate other users as friends or contacts, and the resulting social networks offer users new ways to interact with information, through social browsing and/or social filtering.

  • Social capital is a concept used in business, nonprofits and other arenas that refers to the good will and positive reputation that flows to a person through his or her relationships with others in social networks.

  • Social cataloguing

Social cataloguing refers to web applications that are designed to help track and describe books, audiovisual materials, articles, websites, media and so forth. Two features of social cataloguing tools is the ability to share material and interact with others based on those items and the enrichment of catalogue information, tags or metadata. LibraryThing is the most prominent tool in this area.

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

  • Social learning 2.0

Social learning 2.0 (Anderson, 2007) is a combination of social learning and Web 2.0. Learning is essentially social and dialogic and moves beyond didactic learning to engaging with social tools. Courses must be renegotiated. Wider sources of knowledge are critical as student control and freedom are part of lifelong learning.

"...Social media or web 2.0 is the use of digital media, including internet and mobile, for collaborating to create user generated content and form self organizing communities. Typical elements of a social media service include the ability to: 1) create a personal profile 2) “friend” or follow other members to subscribe to their activity streams 3) create content in the form of text, photos, audio, or video and 4) share, tag, rate, comment on or vote on content created by other members. Blogs, forums, wikis, social networking sites, microblogging sites, social bookmarking sites, social voting sites, social review sites and virtual worlds are all example of web 2.0 sites. So are social sites built around photos, audio, videos, presentations, music, and games... "

Social networking sites help people discover new friends or colleagues by revealing shared interests, related skills or common geographic locations. Leading examples include Friendster, LinkedIn and 43people. SNSs have been in existence since the early days of the Internet, and many involve personal activities such as dating. Some corporations – such as LinkedIn – use social networks for business. Mashable is a leading social networking news blog.

The term ‘social software’ covers a range of software tools which allow users to interact and share data with other users, primarily via the web. Blogs, wikis, social networking websites, such as Facebook and Flickr, and social bookmarking sites, such as Delicious, are examples of some of the tools that are being used to share and collaborate in educational, social, and business contexts. The key aspect of a social software tool is that it involves wider participation in the creation of information which is shared.

See also folksonomies
Social tagging is an increasingly popular way for users to locate, catalogue and classify websites by assigning words, names and other tags to collate, describe and rank websites

Software as a Service ('sass') is a model of software deployment where providers license applications to customers for use for service on demand. SaaS software vendors may host applications on their own servers or download applications to a consumer device, disabling it after an on-demand contract expires. On-demand functions can be handled internally or by third-party service providers.

  • Surveillance technologies


  • Tag clouds

A tag cloud is a weighted list in visual terms of tags used within a given website. In general, the more commonly-used tags are displayed with a larger font and a stronger, bolder emphasis. Each term in a tag cloud also functions as a link to the collection of items that have that specific tag. Tags are also linked to the concepts of folksonomies and metadata.

  • Trackback

A trackback is an acknowledgment which is sent via a network signal ping <> from the originating site to the receiving site. The receptor often publishes a link back to the originator indicating its worthiness and may display summaries of, and links to, all the commenting entries below the original entry.

  • Tumblelog

A tumblelog is a compilation of links and online discoveries. Tumbleloggers use their blogs for artistic and creative purposes. The short manner of tumblelogs makes it simple for artists to showcase creative projects, new photos and artwork.

Twitter is a free microblogging service and a way to share information (less than >140 characters) with people in your network (think status updates on Facebook). On Twitter, space is provided for members to share random, brief thoughts or answers to the simple question: "What am I doing?" (See also Twittonary)

  • Twitosphere

The Twitter community


  • Ubiquitous computing

Ubiquitous computing is what it sounds like - access to computers everywhere. Other names for ubicomp include pervasive computing, ambient computing and everyware.

  • User-generated content (UGC)

UGC refers to various kinds of media content produced by end-users vs. traditional content publishers. A synonym for UGC is peer-production. UGC is a a broad term that describes online tools that encourage collaboration among users. UGC in social media refers primarily to blogs, wikis and podcasts.


  • Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs)

See Personal Learning Environments


...web 2.0 is the network as platform, spanning all connected devices; Web 2.0 applications are those that make the most of the intrinsic advantages of that platform: delivering software as a continually updated service that gets better the more people use it, consuming and remixing data from multiple sources, including individual users, while providing their own data and services in a form that allows remixing by others, creating network effects through an "architecture of participation," and going beyond the page metaphor of Web 1.0 to deliver rich user experiences - Tim O'Reilly, 2005

Wikipedia removed its entry on web 3.0 but you can view the entry on web 3.0 in the HLWIKI Canada.

  • Widgets

See also a widget page from the New York Times:

A widget is a portable (even draggable) bit of code that can be (re)installed and (re)executed in a second, separate HTML-based web page without additional changes. A widget is derived from remix or 'reusing content. Other terms to describe widgets include: gadget, badge, module, webjit, capsule, snippet, mini and flake. Widgets usually but do not always use DHTML, JavaScript, or Adobe Flash. Widgets take the form of on-screen tools (clocks, event countdowns, auction-tickers, stock market tickers, flight arrival information, daily weather etc).

Wikipedia is a multilingual, web-based, free-content encyclopedia that is written collaboratively by volunteers. As the largest online encyclopedia with more than 3.5 million articles in English, Wikipedia is considered emblematic of the web 2.0 phenomenon of mass collaboration. Wikipedia maintains a database of all changes on every page of the wiki, and anyone can edit or add content. Wikipedia is supported by the Wikimedia Foundation, and is free of commercial ads. As one of the most commonly used websites, it attracts 362 million visitors monthly or 29% of global Internet users, making it the sixth most popular website on the Internet.

Wikis are tools that enable online collaboration - a fundamental concept in Web 2.0. As social software, wikis enable groups to create knowledge and to develop, edit or add content. The social, open nature of wikis makes them revolutionary, controversial and sometimes problematic. While clearly useful for some projects, wikis are not universally applicable to information problems. Some libraries use wikis to build knowledge repositories, manage Intranets and create content for pathfinders.

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