Social Media Glossary

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The gathering and remixing of content from blogs and other news and listings websites that provide RSS feeds. The results may be displayed in an aggregator website like Bloglines or Google Reader, or directly on your desktop using software often also called a newsreader. Sometime favoured by Brands who like to share affinity content without producing it.


A set of computing formulas developed to perform a certain function. In the social sphere sites like Facebook and Google use algorithms for developing content-sharing strategies. See also Facebook Edge Rank and Google Page Rank


Content, participation and conversation based marketing strategies. Contrary to broadcast based messaging that focuses on the big idea, Always-On strategies focus on the long idea, expressed through multiple content platforms and experiences.


Programming open protocols that allow brands to get a third-party data feed directly into their own sites. For example, Youtube’s API allows your developers to retrieve lists of popular videos for a particular topic, and display them on your website.

Astroturfing      *new for 2015

Astroturfing is a fake grassroots campaign that seeks to create the impression of legitimate buzz or interest in a product, service or idea. Often this movement is motivated by a payment or gift to the writer of a post or comment or may be written under a pseudonym.


When communications are independent of time or place, and messages are read and answered at different times. For example: emails, forums, facebook newsfeed.


Images representing people in virtual worlds and social network profiles.  This may or may not be an authentic representation of yourself.



Web service that allows users to save and share a web link by shortening complex web addresses. Such url shortening services also offer users stats about how many times and where the link is shared. Also known as tinyurl.


Online journal updated on a regular basis. Blog posts appear in reverse chronological order and are categorised by topics. Posts generally contain comments by other readers.


A social light news and lighter entertainment publisher. The “Hotest social content network” for some, it claims to deliver the most shareable breaking news and entertainment to over 150 million users worldwide. Such stories as “9 Photos That Prove James Franco Needs An Instagram Intervention”.



Enthusiast willing and able to get conversations moving by posting messages, responding, and helping others.

Cloud computing            

In the social network context, the technology that enables brands to deploy applications at low-cost and fast without worrying about the web server layer. For consumers, the similar technologies that allow users to save and share their data from anywhere rather than from a particular machine.

Collective Intelligence 

Shared or group intelligence produced from the collaboration and competition of many individuals in social networks


A response provided as an answer or reaction to a blog post or message on a social network. Comments are a primary form of communication on social networks.

Community Building     

The process of recruiting potential community participants or brand loyalists, helping them to share interests and goals, use brand utilities or technologies, and develop useful conversations. A number of different roles may be involved.


The currency of social networks through blogging, micro-blogging, posting statuses and pictures or commenting.

Cost per impressions

Creative Commons        

A licensing system by which creators can fine-tune their copyright, spelling out the ways in which others may use their works in their content mix.

Crowd Funding

Soliciting donations or investments from anonymous online users to raise money to support a cause or an investment.

Crowd Sourcing               

Soliciting content, ideas or skills from anonymous online users who collectively help you solve a problem.


Dark Social      *new for 2015

Dark social or #darksocial, is a term coined by Alexis C. Madrigal, a senior editor at The Atlantic, to refer to the social sharing of content that occurs outside of what can be measured by Web analytics programs. This mostly occurs when a link is sent via online chat or email, rather than shared over a social media platform, from which referrals can be measured.


A social bookmarking web service for storing, sharing and discovering web bookmarks using category tags.


Often opposed to Browsing or Searching, Social Discovery is the listing of  information, news, contacts, experiences or products based on the identity of the web user and the social context (ratings, comments, affinities).



Auction site allowing users to sell goods through online auctions. The world’s largest online market place for buyers and sellers, it has defined the trend of “prosumers”.

Econometrics *new for 2015

Advanced measurement of Social Media ROI (Return on Investment) is often termed Econometrics. Simply put, econometric models  aim to quantify the effect of several variables into a metric of interest. The basic assumption of econometric models are that the variance (fluctuations) seen in the output are due to changes in certain input variables. This approach is applied to Social Media activities.


A market place for new hand-made goods and vintage goods. The ebay of original goods and unique gifts.


An online event management and ticketing service which is free if your event is free. The service is making a great using of social sharing to amplify events pre and post booking.



The most popular social networking site in the world, with more than 1 billion members. The social network is quickly becoming the first site consumed on mobile devices and the first referrer of traffic to other news and entertainment sites.

Facebook Edge Rank     

One of the algorithms used by Facebook to optimise social discovery on its news stream. Facebook use complex factors such as affinity between the author and the readers, the popularity expressed through comments, likes and shares,  and the time at which the content was posted and last interacted with.  Edge Rank is not as easily optimised as Google Page Rank since Edge Rank is calculated between each authors/brand page and each readers. Some preferred marketing developers provide Edge Rank Scores for pages based on “average users” methods so that brands can benchmark themselves against competitors.


Someone who manages conversations in forums and social networks. They may help agree a set of rules, highlight topics for discussion, and keep people on topic, and tone.

Fair Use              

U.S. law inspired principle that permits limited use of copyrighted material without obtaining the permission of the copyright holder, such as use for scholarship or review. In Ireland, clauses of Fair Dealing apply in the Copyright Law, setting only a close set of circumstances where fair use is permitted. These rules are currently being revised following a proposal from the Independent Copyright committee.


Data format used to provide users with frequently updated content and new listings. Feeds are used by publishers to syndicate content and by users to subscribe to content using rss readers.


Brand of health and fitness connected and wearable products that let users log and share their health, sleep and exercising data. It uses games principles to help consumers reach health goals.


Originally an online market place for small tasks delivered by micro-entrepreneurs, it is quickly becoming a freelance market for creative and professional services. The best place to get your voicemail greetings recorded professionally. A dark place for “buying” reviews, likes and ratings.


An image and video hosting website used by photographers, advertisers and bloggers to store and share pictures.


“User generated de-centralised and less-structured ways of classifying information – as opposed to libraries taxonomies. Folksonomies are user generated by adding tags”



Automated or user initiated addition of location-based metadata to photos, video, posts or online maps. Geotagging helps users find a wide variety of media, social notes or business and services information based on their location.


Google’s social network. It favours more private ways to share of information and posts with discriminate groups (family, Friends, colleagues, acquaintances). A Google+ identity is becoming the sole doorway to other Google services such as gmail, Google Drive, youtube or Google Hangouts.


General Public License that underpins open source software copyright. It allows re-use of the code as long as the original source is credited. It also requires that derived works should be made available under the same license.


Global Positioning System, a  US global navigation satellite system.  It allows mobile devices — for example mobile handsets or a cars — to precisely pinpoint their location. The European Union alternative positioning system Galileo should be fully operational in 2019.

Groundswell       *new for 2015
A social trend in which people use technologies to get things they need from each other, rather than depending on traditional institutions like corporations.Its sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, where friends share connections, ideas and comment on each other’s opinions, where there is no government body and anyone can contribute.


Individuals with some sense of unity through their activities, shared interests or values. Bounded, they differ from networks, which are simply defined by nodes and connections.



Video service on Google+ that allows you users to video chat  and share youtube resources with up to 10 Google+ users are a time.


Convention used on Twitter to add context or aggregation metadata to your post. Clicking on a Hashtag allows users to discover other users  posting within the same context. #wellsaid


“Popular social media management system that helps teams collaboratively streamline campaigns and measure results across  multiple social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ Pages “



If This Then That. An automated web services that allows marketeers to build “recipes” that automate their social media presence. For example: “If I upload a photo to Facebook then also upload that photo to Picasa”. Or in dire circumstances “Send customers a SMS when the Irish Times RSS feed reports a large Earth Quake”.

Inbound Marketing       

Permission based marketing tactics that focus on the conversion of segmented users with intent through non-interruptive messaging such as blog posts, organic search results, emails, on-site targeted messages and re-targeting.

Influencer     *new for 2015

The voice of the consumer has always been the most powerful concept in advertising and marketing. An influencer is a person who has a lot of knowledge on a certain topic, who is vocal in an online community and respected for his or her opinion, and therefore has the capacity to shape the opinions of others.


Photo sharing mobile-first social network that lets users upload photos to their stream while discovering other photos that their friends are sharing. Users can also discover Instagram community most popular photos or photos based on their location.

Instant Messaging          

Online chat with another person or a group through a web service or a mobile app. Instant messaging is available from many app providers, mostly for free. Some services also offer voice over IP (Skype) , others allow asynchronous group conversations (Whatsapp).



Services that measures social media influence by connecting to someone’s social accounts such as facebook, Facebook pages, google+, twitter, instagram or linkedin. Users or brands monitoring their Klout score (1 to 100) can follow the Klout services advices to increase their influence.



Broadcasting events in a person’s life around-the-clock through digital media.


Making all available disjointed online presence (photos, videos, bookmarks, posts) of one person available through one single source online (RSS feed, Tumblr)


Instead of writing a comment for a message, a web page or a post, action of acknowledging one’s approval by clicking a Facebook like button.  Likes are aggregated and displayed to the entire social network – they are therefore a short-cut for sharing content. Similar social ticks are used by Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Linked In.


Strategies to generates links to one’s website from third party websites. The result is to increase the site Google PageRank and therefore the position of the website in organic search results. Blogs are the most popular strategy for link building.


Professional social networks that let users share their professional curriculum while connecting with colleagues, clients, and industry peers and experts. Its service LinkedIn Pulse is also fast becoming a professional news and opinion discovery platform.


Software automated and manual inventory and review of brand and topics mentions on social networks, blogs, boards, news publishers and other online content sources. Listening key objectives are: reputation management, trends and influencers spotting, customer feed-back and community management.


Users who read but do not contribute, rate or share content. Often said to be 90% of the web audience, with 9% commenting and 1 % creating- the 90-9-1 rule. However this participation inequality has shifted greatly with the emergence of social networks and more democratic creative platforms that allow users to rate, remix and curate content more easily.



In the social context, an automated mix of various social network sources and tools to create a new organised view of information. For example plotting the customer reviews of tripadvisor on a google map.


Short-hand for the greek word mimeme – imitation. Many visual iterations of the same thought, idea or joke shared by many authors on social networks (tumblr, facebook, twitter). Popular memes can be short animated gifs, short video sketches or publicly available pictures superimposed with text.


Broadcasting short posts to followers on a social network. Also referred to as micro-sharing.


Native Advertising         

In the social media context, rich brand-controlled content that is displayed organically – as any other content- in any given platform, although the insertion might be paid. Sponsored tweets, an editorial section of an online publisher, a company post on LinkedIn news stream or long form videos in a youtube brand channel are good examples. Native advertising might be paid, owned or earned, it performs because of its affinity with the intended recipients and its insertion in the content experience without friction.  In a digital advertising context, the term describes the display inventory that is targeted using solely first party data to target visitors.

News Reader    

Software, application or web service that allow users to automatically gather up-to-date news from multiple sources of information. Users subscribe to multiple web sites information feeds and can browse all articles from one place. Also known as RSS reader – for Really Simple Syndication.


Open Media     

Video, audio, text and other media that are freely distributed and shared, often by using Creative Commons or GPL licenses.

Open Source     

The free sharing of information, media, code and Intellectual Property to advance the public good.

Open Video      

The distribution of video through universal non-proprietary players that allows video producers to broadcast their work freely. The HTML5 video players frees video producers from using You tube, Real Audio or Vimeo players.


A Single Sign-On platform that allows users to use one single digital identity to sign-up to different services (facebook, yahoo, flickr, corporate services…), and therefore only requires one username and password.  Created as an open source service, the service faces the commercial pressures of the economics of identity. For some, such a single-sign-on principle also creates a centralised risk to privacy.



The original algorithm created by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to rank web pages based on the number of authoritative links to the page on the world wide web. While there are now many more algorithms governing Google search results, PageRank is still a good benchmark of a page content relevance on the web.

Participation Culture    

Using social media and creative platforms to create, share, collaborate and contribute content and services. Participation is enabled by the development of affinities in wide networks, collaboration tools, intuitive creative authoring platforms, feed-back mechanisms and open distribution platforms such as blogger, tumblr or youtube.

Pinterest                *new for 2015

A pinboard-style photo sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme based image collections such as interests and hobbies. Users can browse other pinboards for images, “re-pin” images to their own pinboards, “like” photos and interact with other members. It’s a great social media platform that lets users personalise their experience and create content based on their interest.


The open interaction of two users in a network, without the moderation or control of a moderator or brand. As the connection remains open, it is contributing to further sharing and learning for the community or a brand owner.


A unique web address that allows user to share the exact location of a particular piece of content in a blog or a social network. As blogs and social networks operate a news stream, pointing to a particular comment or blog post requires a permalink that will display the comment or post directly, out-of-stream.

Podcast             *new for 2015

A podcast is a series of digital media files, that consists of either audio or video, which are released episodically. Podcasts are often downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device.

Public domain  

Work donated by its creator or of which the copyright has expired and that can therefore be used freely, even commercially. Publishing any work, post or comment online does not lead to copyright expiration in anyway. Irish work copyright expire 70 years after the death of its author. See countries copyright expiration date here: Wikipedia List of Countries Copyright Lengths. Also check Fair Use.



Crowd sourced invention service. Users can submit or vote for  invention ideas and then cooperate online with Quirky teams of innovators, product designers and marketeers until actual products actually emerge and get sold in quirky online store. Proceeds are shared between the inventor and the community.


Reddit  *new for 2015

Is an entertainment, social networking, and news website where registered community members can submit content, such as text posts or direct links, making it essentially an online bulletin board system.

Remarketing    *new for 2015

Remarketing allows you to segment your audience of past site visitors anddeliver relevant ads to those who have taken action or visited your website before. For example, when people take some action and then leave your website without buying anything, remarketing helps you reconnect with them by showing relevant ads as they browse the web. More importantly, this connection can influence the users buying decision.

Retweet       *new for 2015

Retweet is a re-posting of someone else’s Tweet, which is then shared with other person’s followers.  A retweet button allows them to quickly resend the message with attribution to the original sharer’s name.

RT (Retweet)    *new for 2015

This is the Twitter equivalent of forward to a friend. For example when someone posts something you find interesting or you think people in your network will find it interesting, you then can retweet it and share it with all the people who follow you. RT will also indicate that you are re-posting someone else’s content.

RSS feed (Really Simple Syndication) *new for 2015

The RSS feed uses a family of standard web feed formats, which allows to publish frequently updated information in a standardised format. Essentially, RSS is a technology that is being used by millions of users on the web around the world to keep track of their favourite websites and blogs. Instead of bookmarking the sites, like in good old days, after you subscribe to the content you can read the new updates whenever you please.

RSS Reader *new for 2015

The RSS reader simply allows users to collect articles from multiple websites and puts them into one place using the RSS feed. The purpose of this is that it allows for a much faster and efficient way to consume information.



Search engine marketing            

Online tactics to attract customers and generate awareness through search engines referencing. Search engine marketing tactics include  pay-per-click search listings and search engine optimisation. Search engine optimisation includes content editing, keywords targeting, community and link building and code based referencing.

Snapchat      *new for 2015

A photo messaging mobile app that allows user to take photos and record videos and send them to selected friends. Each piece of content sent has a time limit of 1 to 10 seconds per viewing. After the photo or video has been viewed users can either repeat it one more time, however after that it is not available to be seen again unless it’s part of a Snapchat story.

Social bookmarking       

User generated shared lists of bookmarks of website links to articles, goods, reviews, or places.

Social Listening    *new for 2015

Social listening tool, also known as social media monitoring, that enables users to monitor and measure what is being said about a brand, product or an individual on various social networks.

Social media     

Tools and platforms used to publish, converse and share content online. By extension the communities using these tools.

SoMo       *new for 2015

Social Media & Mobile

Social media optimisation          

Tactics to boost content affinity and surfacing in social networks. The same way search engine use algorithms to rank web pages, social networks use algorithms to surface the most relevant content. Social media optimisation uses the algorithm rules to shape the content for popularity. See Edge Rank.


Blogs created through automated content scraping and link building and aimed at attracting readership from search engines and social networks. Unscrupulous splog authors aim is to gain maximum reach to sell low value inventories to unscrupulous display advertising networks.

Sponsored Post               

Paid for brand-controlled native content inserted in social media streams. Paid post can be targeted to particular demographics or depending on the social context. They might use text, images, videos or engagement devices such as surveys or newsletter sign-ups. See Native Advertising


Used to qualify real time conversation and exchanges. Synchronous platforms allow users to talk to each other, video-call or chat instantly.


Tag Cloud           

A visual representation of the most popular topics (Tags or Words) used in social network conversations. Cloud tags are a useful aggregation of themes and feelings in online conversations. They are used by many brand owners to read the brand sentiment online.

Touchpoints      *new for 2015

A touchpoint in general, is defined as, all of the communication, human and physical interactions your customers experience.Whether an ad, Web site, sales person, store or office, Touchpoints are important because customers form perceptions of your organization and brand based on their cumulative experiences.
In the context of Social Media, touchpoints are all of  the times customers interact with your Social Media channels in some way.


A user that disrupts social media network conversations through repeated, targeted, provocative and abusive posts. A troll might be targeting someone they know (cyber-bullying) or may use a news publisher commenting platform to vent off their hatred. Moderation of news platforms is key to avoid trolls disrupting the balance of opinions.


Creative visual blogging platform that allows users and brands to easilly post text, images, quotes, videos and animated gifs. The perfect place to post or discover memes, it is used as a self-expression channel by many creative teens and post-teens.


Twitter is a micro-blogging social network that enables users to send and share  140-characters messages with their followers. Users also choose to follow their own influencers. While many users post and share opinion-pieces on subject maters, the service has also become a live public casual conversation platform for groups of friends and followers. It is now widely used by broadcast media and brands to help get their content discovered in topical network based live online conversations (such as  conversations while watching live TV programs or sport).


UGC (User Generated Content)      *new for 2015

Any form of content (images, video, tweets, posts, blogs etc.)that has been created and published online by social media users. Marketers have embraced and encouraged user generated content as a means of increasing brand awareness, engagement and customer loyalty.


A conference created and managed by its participants without the help of an external commercial party. is an example of these open knowledge sharing events.


War Room         

Connected brand room allowing marketeers to observe users engagement and brand mentions live, across the world wide web. War room use live listening technology, and provide live quantitative and qualitative analysis of the brand sentiment on large sets of screens. War room controllers choose to focus some screens on particular engagement platforms, reputation issues or influencers set. War rooms allow marketing teams to read brand sentiment directly.

Web analytics  

The measurement and collection of web journeys and e-commerce data. Web analytics serve to optimise online products design and the online communication mix to increase sales conversions.


WIFI stands for wireless fidelity. The technology that enables devices to connect to the internet without cables or adaptors, though public or semi-private access points.


A collaborative knowledge software used to gather and collaboratively curate contributions from a group of subject-matter experts. A Wiki software might be used internally to serve as an enterprise knowledge bank or it might be open to external contributions and become a crowd-sourced knowledge base.

Word of Mouth Advertising      

Set of engagement and content tactics that concentrate on targeting and energising the brand loyalists and the influencers in any given social network.



The world’s most popular video hosting website. Originally established as a user generated content platform where users can upload, share and view videos, the service has evolved also into an essential distribution platform for national television broadcasters, brand owners and music Labels.