The Web 2.0 Glossary

A List of Web 2.0 Terms Defined

Much like any hot trend, Web 2.0 has brought with it a whole host of buzzwords and jargon that people 'in the know' freely allow to drip from their lips while people not in the know think, "Huh?".

After all, if I geotagged my tweet, what the heck did I just do? Read on and find out.

The Web 2.0 Glossary

AJAX / XML. These are terms describing the methodology and technology used to create Web 2.0 pages. AJAX means Asynchronous Java and XML and is used to make web pages more responsive while avoiding the need to load the page each time new information is needed. XML, which stands for Extensible Markup Language, is used to make the website more interactive.

"Anything" 2.0. Since Web 2.0 became a buzzword, it has become popular to add "2.0" to the end of common terms when describing a website. For example, the makeover of is termed "Government 2.0" because it puts a Web 2.0 face on a government website.

Avatar. The visual (oftentimes cartoonish) representation of a person in a virtual world or virtual chat room.

Blog / Blog Network / Blogosphere. A blog, which is short for web log, is series of articles usually written in a slightly informal tone. While many blogs are online personal journals, blogs cover the full range from personal to news to business with subject matter that ranges from personal to serious to humorous to creative. A blog network is a series of blogs hosted by the same website or company, while the blogosphere refers to all blogs across the Internet regardless of whether they are an individual blog or part of a blog network.

CAPTCHA. This refers to those crazy letters and numbers you have to decipher and type in when filling out a form on the web. It is a mechanism used to check whether or not you are human and is used to prevent spam. Read more about CAPTCHA.

Cloud / Cloud Computing. The Internet is sometimes referred to as the "Cloud". Cloud Computing refers to the recent trend of using the internet as an application platform, such as using an online version of a word processor as opposed to using a word processor that is installed on your computer's hard drive. It also refers to using the Internet as a service, like storing all of your pictures online at Flickr rather than keeping them on your hard drive. Read more about Cloud Computing.

Enterprise 2.0. This refers to the process of taking Web 2.0 tools and ideas and introducing them to the workplace, such as creating a business wiki in order to hold online meetings or using an internal blog as opposed to sending out email memos. Read more about Enterprise 2.0

Geotagging. The process of including location information, such as providing the location a photo was taken or using the GPS of a cell phone to 'geotag' where you were when making an update to your blog or a social networking site.

Linkbait. The process of creating potentially viral content with hopes of obtaining a large number of incoming links. For example, writing a satirical article about a current event in hopes of attracting a lot of attention. A negative aspect of link baiting is intentionally saying something unpopular in hopes of creating a stir or creating a hyper-provocative title to an article.

Link Farm. Many search engines give weight to the number of incoming links to a webpage in order to determine the quality of a page. Link farms are webpages filled with links with hopes of raising the search engine ranking of destination pages. Most modern search engines like Google tend to recognize link farms and ignore the links produced.

Mobile 2.0. This refers to the trend of websites recognizing mobile devices and utilizing their special features, such as Facebook knowing that you have signed on with your smartphone and using the GPS to tell where you are located. Read more about Mobile 2.0.

Office 2.0. An early term that has lost ground to 'cloud computing', Office 2.0 refers to the trend of taking office applications and turning them into web applications, such as online versions of a word processor or spreadsheet. Check out a list of Office 2.0 applications.

Personalized Start Pages/Custom Home Pages. A web page that is highly customizable, often featuring a news reader and the ability to add widgets and is designed to become your web browser's "home" page. Excellent examples of personalized start pages are iGoogle and MyYahoo.

Podcast. The distribution of audio and video "shows" across the Internet, such as a video blog or an Internet radio show. Like blogs, they can range in subject matter from personal to business and serious to entertaining.

RSS/Web Feeds. Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a system of transporting articles across the internet. An RSS feed (sometimes simply called a 'web feed') contains either full or summarized articles without all the fluff contained on the website. These feeds can be read by other websites or by RSS readers.

RSS Reader / News Reader. The program used to read an RSS feed. RSS readers allow you to aggregate multiple web feeds and read them from a singular place on the web. There are both online and offline RSS readers. A Guide to RSS Readers.

Semantic Web. This refers to the idea of a web capable of gleaning the subject matter of web pages without relying on keyword phrases within the content. In essence, it is the process of teach a computer to 'read' the page. Read more about the Semantic Web.

SEO. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of building a website and creating content in such a way that search engines will rank the web page(s) higher in their listings.

Social Bookmarking. Similar to web browser bookmarks, social bookmarking stores individual pages online and allows you to 'tag' them. For people who like to frequently bookmark web pages, this can provide an easier way to organize the bookmarks.

Social Networking. The process of building online communities, often accomplished both through 'groups' and 'friends lists' that allow greater interaction on websites. Find out more about social networking.

Social Media. Any website or web service that utilizes a 'social' or 'Web 2.0' philosophy. This includes blogs, social networks, social news, wikis, etc.

Social News. A subset of social bookmarking that concentrates on news articles and blog posts and utilizes a voting mechanism to rank the content.

Tag / Tag Cloud. A 'tag' is a descriptive keyword or phrase often used to categorize a piece of content. For example, an article about World of Warcraft might have the tags "World of Warcraft" and "MMORPG" because those tags accurately categorize the article's subject matter. A tag cloud is a visual representation of tags, usually with the more popular tags being shown in a larger font.

Trackback. A system used for a blog to automatically recognize when another blog links to an article, usually creating a list of 'trackback' links at the bottom of the article. Read more about how trackbacks fuel the social web.

Twitter / Tweet. Twitter is a micro-blogging service that allows people to type in short messages or status updates that can be read by people following them. An individual message or status update is often referred to as a 'tweet'. Find out more about Twitter.

Viral. The digital version of grassroots, 'viral' refers the process of an article, video or podcast becoming popular by being passed from person to person or rising to the top of popularity lists on social media websites.

Web 2.0. While there is no set definition of Web 2.0, it generally refers to the use of the web as a more social platform where users participate by generating their own content alongside the content provided by the websites. Read more about Web 2.0.

Web Mashup. The most recent trend of the web is the 'opening up' of websites whereby they allow other websites access to their information. This allows information from multiple websites to be combined for creative effect, like the information from Twitter and Google Maps being combined to create a visual representation of 'tweets' coming in from all across the map. Check out the best mashups on the web.

Webcast. A broadcast that takes place over the web and uses both audio and visual effects. For example, a web-based conference call that sends a presentation with charts and graphs to go alongside the speech. Webcasts are often interactive.

Widgets / Gadgets. A widget is a small piece of transportable code, for example, a calculator or a countdown to a movie's release. Widgets can be placed on websites like a social networking profile, a custom home page or a blog. The word 'gadget' is often used to refer to a widget that is designed for a specific website, like iGoogle gadgets.

Wiki / Wiki Farm. A wiki is a website designed for multiple people to collaborate by adding and editing content. Wikipedia is an example of a wiki. A wiki farm is a collection of individual wikis, usually hosted by the same website. Browse through a list of wikis by category.