AIM – “America Online Instant Messenger” program allows for instantaneous, primarily text-based conversation with other users, called “Buddies.”
BBS – “Bulletin Board Systems” were one of the first interfaces to support computer-mediated communication, allowing individuals to discuss topics of mutual interest with disparate others. BBS’ were usually run by local hobbyists (called “sysops”), and anyone with a telephone line and a computer modem could dial in and exchange text messages in bulletin board forums.
Blog – Defined by Wikipedia, “A blog (an abridgment of the term web log) is a website, usually maintained by an individual, with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order. ‘Blog’ can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.“
Blogosphere – The collection of blogs in their entirety is often referred to as the “blogosphere,” a highly interconnected system enhanced by reciprocity in the form of comments, trackbacks (links), and posted responses. Bloggers also effectively “tag” their individual posts, creating an ever-evolving collective database indexed by keywords (for example “Web 2.0,” “Social Media,” “Webnography,” etc;)
Comment – With regard to online social networking, one may post a Comment, or message, underneath a member’s uploaded photograph, video, or blog post. On MySpace, the term is more popularly used in reference to messages posted publicly on members’ Profiles.
Defriend – Colloquial term used by Facebook members to refer to the act of removing someone intentionally from one’s “Friend” list.
Friend – On most social networking sites, members actively search for and request the “Friendship” of others, which then virtually connects two members of the site. However, it is not necessary that two users know of each other prior to becoming “Friends,” thus blurring the definition of the word.
IRC – “Internet Relay Chat,” created in 1988, was one of the first popular forms of computer-mediated communication, allowing for instantaneous conversation either in group formats (called “channels”) or through private one-to-one messaging.
LiveJournal – Created in 1999 by Brad Fitzpatrick, LiveJournal was an early popular website that combined features of a private virtual space made up of blogs/online diaries wherein members connected through shared interests.
MUD – Multi-User Dungeons are defined by Howard Rheingold (1993) as: “imaginary worlds in computer databases where people use words and programming languages to improvise melodramas, build worlds and all the objects in them, solve puzzles, invent amusements and tools, compete for prestige and power, gain wisdom, seek revenge, indulge greed and lust and violent impulses. You can find disembodied sex in some MUDs. In the right kind of MUD, you can even kill--or die.”
Podcast – Defined by Wikipedia as: “a series of digital-media files which are distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds for playback on portable media players and computers. The term podcast, like broadcast, can refer either to the series of content itself or to the method by which it is syndicated; the latter is also called podcasting. The host or author of a podcast is often called a podcaster.”
Profile – One of the defining features of social networking sites in particular (and increasingly Web 2.0 sites in general) a member creates an individual Profile and may update it at any time. Typical components of Profiles include name, age, location, interests, favorite music and visual media, an open-ended “About Me” section, a personal photograph, a public Wall of messages posted by Friends, and Groups one is a member of.
RSS Feed – A live Web feed through which one may publish frequently-updated content, such as blogs, podcasts, and news headlines. Internet users may subscribe to RSS feeds, which are actively downloaded and aggregated by software programs.
Second Life – Online 3D virtual world launched in 2003, where users can design their personal avatars, interact with other players, explore, as well as create and trade objects and services for real world currency.
Social Bookmarking – A “Web 2.0” technology that allows web surfers to store, organize, and share their website bookmarks publicly or within specified networks.
Spam – Unsolicited online junk mail advertised through direct messages.
Tag – On Facebook and MySpace, an individual may Tag the names of others in photographs and Notes/blog posts, whereupon a notification is typically sent to the “tagged” by e-mail.
Usenet – One of the first forms of computer-mediated group communication were the open e-mail listservs, or newsgroups, that connected individuals with shared interests on a global scale.
Web – While the Internet refers to the hardware connections between computer networks, the “Web” refers to the “World Wide Web,” or the collection of web documents connected through links and searchable databases.
Web 2.0 – Recent social and technological developments of the World Wide Web are often collectively referred to as “Web 2.0,” marked by a turn toward increased website interactivity and user participation. Some examples of “Web 2.0” include wikis, social networking sites, and the blogosphere.
This appendix contains links to my publicly accessible MySpace and Tribe Profiles, as well as snapshots of my Facebook, Profiles taken on April 4th, 2008. Additionally, I have included snapshots of the customized homepages that are displayed to me when I first enter the sites.
/Websites and Blogs/
¬ All Facebook – O’Neill, Nick. – Unofficial, highly active blog of events and news directly related to Facebook by an insider in the industry.
¬ The Facebook Project – Ginger, Jeff. – Currently completing a Master’s thesis in Sociology on Facebook, Jeff has recently decided to shift the focus of his quite substantive website toward a more collaborative project, including myself and several other graduate students studying Facebook.
¬ Unit Structures – Stutzman, Fred. – A Ph.D student at UNC’s School of Information and Library Science, Fred describes his blog as “thoughts about information, social networks, identity and technology.”
© Jenny Ryan 2008