Social Media Glossary

for Weblogs and Wikis, and whoever finds it useful

Web logs are chronologically organized spaces where writers post links to and comments on news, thoughts, observations, critiques, considerations, images, - and connect with others. Some blogs are the work of a single author, others are collective or collaborative. They can be designed to create a community, or to place a personality - a star author - at center. While their use as personal online diaries has been highlighted by the press, weblogs were at first used to post links to and comments on interesting sites on the web. But weblogs have also gone pro and are now used to support print, tv, film, and radio, and for professional and academic projects, as witnessed by Abject Learning, CultureCat, London Underground Tube Diary.

Wikis are hypertextual writing spaces - entire web sites written and structured by their users on the fly, from the inside out, without the need for web design software or uploading. Like blogs, wikis can be the effort of an individual, but many are collaborative, welcoming all comers to the constant building and rebuilding of the site. The bottom of each wiki page suggests, "Edit This Page." Wikis make possible - and encourage - notebooks and collaborative writing projects, community projects, communally written encyclopedias, and technical assistance and help sites. But they can also be used for essays, collective hypertext short stories, and novels. See, for instance Wikipedia, but also WikiFish, IAWiki, Open Guide to London, and WikiHow.

These two fundamental writing spaces were given variations, and social media and social networking were born. Some variants:

Microblogging Short form writing. Microblogging took off with Twitter in 2006, but it had been around years before. Twitter gives you 140 characters to tell your followers what you're doing right then and there. It's friend-cast IM, with an emphasis on time and concision. Microblogging via Twitter now defines an audience backchannel in many presentations.

Miniblogging Medium-short form. Tumblr is the most well-known. Tumblr has become a specialized blogging tool for short comments and found objects, billed as an online scrapbook. The mechanism is set up for quick collection and posting of short comments, quotes, pictures, sound, or video. "Mini-blogging is typically short, frequent, mixed-media posts with little or no narrative. The idea is to quickly share some form of media in a way that’s more than a Twitter post but not quite a full blog post." justanotherihoneblog

Photosharing Flickr has the broadest range. Sharing is the keyword. Flickr (and Picasa) are set up to allow users not only to view the work of others but to comment on the work, tag it, collect work in groups and galleries, make corrections and refinements, and use the work (if the author permits) in other contexts. What photosharing shows us is how groups can gather their discussions around artifacts.

Other social spaces Facebook, LinkedIn. These combine elements of blogging, photosharing, and microblogging in one space. Their strength relies on declaring connection with other users subscribed to the same service by way of groups and shared interests.
This is a broad category as it does encompass both Facebook, an informal social network, and LinkedIn, a professional networking tool.

Social bookmarking Delicious, Diigo, Pinboard

RSS feeds Push technology at the user's command. Sign up for an rss feed and you will be notified when a post or site you're following is updated. Users can aggregate the feeds they select into a reader to readily see what's happening across the spectrum of news, blogs, wikis, and micro blogs they follow. RSS feeds place the content of a post in an alternative context, shaped by the reader rather than the writer. Google Reader is a well-known aggregator.

kinds of productions: written work, video, audio, slide decks, images, mashups, concept maps,
kinds of consumption: reading, viewing, playing with, listening to, commenting on, searching for, remixing, sharing.

CategorySocialMedia CategoryBlogging CategoryWikis
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