The way my college student daughter uses the web to gather information and communicate with friends and friends of friends is amazing. Though disinterested in computers and software and how they work, she and her associates deftly whip about social networking websites at warp speed – YouTube, Myspace, Facebook as well as Yahoo, Hotmail and Google and many others. This behavior coupled with the success of “The Story Of Stuff”, as well as, prompted me to study this some but I found the jargon confusing. So here is glossary of terms I collected from a variety of sources.  Additions and updates welcome.


Oxford English Dictionary, 2003: New means, specifically electronic means of mass communication considered collectively. Examples of new media include Internet, mobile devices, electronic games, blogs and podcasting.

1) The forms of communicating in the digital world, which includes electronic publishing on CD-ROM, DVD, digital television and, most significantly, the Internet. It implies the use of desktop and portable computers as well as wireless, handheld devices. Most every company in the computer industry is involved with new media in some manner.

(2) The concept that new methods of communicating in the digital world allow smaller groups of people to congregate online and share, sell and swap goods and information. It also allows more people to have a voice in their community and in the world in general.


Wikipedia, the biggest multilingual free-content encyclopedia on the Internet. More than 7 million articles in over 200 languages, and still growing,

Ourmedia, a community of individuals dedicated to spreading grassroots creativity: videos, podcasts and other works of personal media,

New Media Expo, by line video, audio and on-line content – podcasters, online video creators and bloggers,

Free Range Studios, creativity with a conscience,


Blog An online journal that’s updated on a regular basis with entries that appear in reverse chronological order. Blogs can be about any subject. They typically contain comments by other readers, links to other sites and permalinks that let others link to a specific entry within the blog.

Citizen Journalism Or Citizen Media When ordinary citizens – without journalism training – help in reporting, commenting on or disseminating the news, it’s known as citizen journalism. It includes people snapping photos on cameraphones at the scene of breaking news, as well as people who start their own blogs or podcasts. PBS Media Shift

Creative Commons A not-for-profit organization and licensing system that offers creators the ability to fine-tune their copyright, spelling out the ways in which others may use their works. See full entry.

Digital Story A a short personal nonfiction narrative that is composed on a computer, often for publishing online or publishing to a DVD. They are told from the narrator’s point of view and the subject is generally about something the maker experienced personally. Digital stories typically range from 2-5 minutes in length (though there are no rules) and can include music, art, photos, voiceover and video clips. They are also typically created by one person with little technical training, rather than by a team of professionals. You can see digital stories at the following sites: Center for Digital Storytelling, Third World Majority, Creative Narrations.

Embedding The act of adding code to a website so that a video or photo can be displayed while it’s being housed at another site. Many users now watch YouTube videos or see Flickr photos on blogs rather than the original site.

Feeds A feed is simply a method that lets you conveniently capture the latest video, podcast, blog entry or news item published via RSS (see below). By subscribing to a feed, you can read the latest posts or watch the newest videos on your computer or portable device on your own schedule.

Mash-up/Remix Mash-ups have several meanings. Music mash-ups are a combination of two or more songs, generally the vocals of one song overlaid on top of the melody of another. Video mash-ups are the result of combining two or more pieces of video, such as news footage with original commentary. Mash-up sites result when a programmer overlays information from a database or another source on top of an existing website, such as homes for sale taken from Craigslist plotted on Google Maps.

Open Source Open source generally refers to software code that is non-proprietary and made available to anyone to improve upon.

Personal Media/User Created Media Grassroots works such as videos and audio. When the works are shared in a social space, the works are more commonly referred to as social media.

Podcast A media file (usually audio but sometimes video) made available for download to a portable device or personal computer. Podcasts use feeds that let you subscribe to them, so that when a new audio clip is published online, it arrives on your digital doorstep right away.

Prosumer A term that combines producer (or professional) with consumer. In general, it refers to an amateur who displays the skills of a trained professional or producer. The term was coined by Alvin Toffler in 1980 when he predicted that the role of producers and consumers would begin to merge.

Public domain A work enters the public domain when it is donated by its creator or when its copyright expires. A work in the public domain can be freely used in any way, including commercial uses.

RSS/ Really Simple Syndication A format that lets readers stay current with blogs and news content using a feed reader, or aggregator. All blogs, podcasts and videoblogs contain an RSS feed, which lets users subscribe to content automatically and read or listen to the material on a computer or a portable device. (For more details, see What is RSS?)

Social media Social media are works of user-created video, audio, text or multimedia that are published and shared in a social environment, such as a blog, wiki or video hosting site.

Streaming media Unlike downloadable podcasts or video, streaming media refers to video or audio that is intended to be listened to online but not stored permanently. Streamed audio is often called Webcasting. Traditional media companies like to stream their programs so that they can’t be distributed freely onto file-sharing networks. RealMedia, QuickTime and Windows Media are the most common streaming formats.

Tags Keywords added to a blog post, photo or video to help users find related topics or media.

Torrents Sof tware that lets users share files between peers, without the use of a central server. With BitTorrent technology, the more peers who host the file on their personal computers, the faster the file can be shared with others. Torrents are small files that contains metadata about media files to be shared as well as about the host computer that coordinates the file’s distribution

Videoblog/ Vlog A blog that includes video entries, and sometimes includes text as well. Videoblogger posts videos to a weblog and encourages an audience response. Some people call it video podcasting, vodcasting or vlogging.

Web 2.0 The second generation of the Web, which enables people with no specialized technical knowledge to create their own websites to self-publish, create and upload audio and video files, share photos and information and complete a variety of other tasks. In this new world, the Internet becomes a platform for self-expression, education and advocacy that “regular people” can use on their own without having to go to an expert to do it for them. Some of the best-known Web 2.0 websites include Wikipedia, MySpace, Digg, Flickr and YouTube. (For more details, see Wikipedia, TechSoup’s What Is Web 2.0 Anyway? and publisher Tim O’Reilly’s essay, What is Web 2.0.)

Wiki A website that allows all its readers to add to and change its content. Some wikis let you track all the edits of a page, and revert to old versions. Small teams often find that they can accomplish a task easier by creating a collaborative online workspace using wiki software such as pbwiki, Socialtext, mediawiki or phpBB.

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