The Stratton Craig social media jargon buster: Part One (A to C)

by Stratton Craig

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Social media is often described as a minefield, and navigating your way through content littered with some of the more unusual new words and phrases can be tough. We’re all aware of blogs, tweets and feeds, but if you were part of the ‘thumbtribe’, would you know about it – and would you really want to be?
Writing for social media is exactly like SEO copywriting – you’re speaking to a certain audience, and need to use their words and language to get the best levels of response – so having some slang on hand will keep you one step ahead. Our series of jargon-busting blog posts covers some of the newest and most unusual buzzwords in content creation.
Always-on: People who are constantly connected to the internet and online media, whether that’s by never turning their computer off or having automatic updates sent to their phone. The internet never sleeps, and now neither do we – checking emails and status updates just before bed does very little to calm our minds.
Autocasting: Generating an audio blog from text captured from your RSS feed, so that it can be downloaded as a podcast. The advancement of text-to-speech software has made autocasting more popular, as the accuracy is typically very good.
Autoresponder: An automatic reply system for emails, blog comments and tweets. Some of the more sophisticated autoresponders on Twitter trawl for keywords, send personalised messages to users and start following them at the same time.
Backchannel: A real-time conversation online about an identical one taking place offline. A great example of this is Twitter users starting trends and hashtags about breaking news developing in their country. Many backchannel conversations are started by ‘dual screen’ web users, who will happily multitask by viewing content on one device and commenting on it with the other.
Blogosphere: The blog community as a whole, and the connections between bloggers across the world. The more people that set up blogs – whether for personal or company use – the larger the blogosphere gets, and right now it’s growing at a rate of knots.
Bulletin board: An online forum for discussions and updates. Replacing the traditional ‘cork and push pins’ bulletin board, the web version allows users to start and join discussions in a dedicated area. As the majority focus on a single topic, it’s easier to find a large chunk of your audience in one place.
-centric: A suffix that can be applied to almost any group or topic, describing content that revolves entirely around said group or topic. People who work primarily in sales could describe themselves as ‘customer-centric’, and ‘user-centric’ has bafflingly replaced ‘simple’ as a description of something that’s easy to use.
Crowdsourcing: Finding a solution to a problem, or a piece of information you’re looking for, by enlisting the help of your social network. The online equivalent of asking all of your friends for advice, crowdsourcing also helps you to delegate tasks you’re not so hot at to other people – if you’re friends with someone who has specialist knowledge, asking them to help you find information when you need it can save valuable time.
Curation: Making use of content that someone else has already posted. This includes sharing Facebook updates, retweeting a link you love, or forwarding a hilarious email to your entire address book. Not only is curation a great idea if you don’t have anything new to share, it’s also the first step in a video or blog post going viral.
Cybrary: An online ‘cyber library’ of documents and resources, including both writing and images. Many colleges and universities use a cybrary, but it’s not limited to internal education – independently-compiled cybraries also exist to help other web users find out more about important topics.
We’ll be covering D to F very soon, so check back for the next instalment or follow us on Twitter to be the first to know when it goes live.
If there are any words or phrases you’d like us to cover specifically, drop us a note via our ‘contact us’ page or send a tweet to @strattoncraig

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