Thursday, April 19, 2018

Technology Terms & Their Meanings - Social Media

Technology often feels like it has a language of its own. It can be challenging to keep up with the latest terms and their meanings. With most people having smart phones and accessing computers and tablets on a daily basis, technology is a big part of our every day. For some, technology is a means to an end, a way to keep up with family members from afar. For others, it is ingrained in their lives in a way that makes it uncomfortable to be without these devices.

Wherever you fall on this spectrum, it is always better to be informed. This post discusses some mainstream technology terms relating to social media and their meanings.

Technology Terms & Their Meanings - Social Media

Blogs, Vlogs and Microblogging

While each of these are different, their purpose is in essence the same:  to communicate information about a general or specific topic on a regular basis to others over the Internet. 

Blogs - a way to present content to an unlimited amount of people at the same time via the Internet. Blogs are most commonly hosted using a blogging site, like Blogger and Tumblr, or using a blog themed WordPress site. Businesses often use blogs to compliment their company's more traditional website. Individuals also create websites that mainly consist of their blogs which surround a hobby or craft. 

This post is part of a technology blog and employs long form blogging, meaning longer more detailed posts. 

Vlogs - provide the same types of information as as blog, but also incorporate videos and may or may not include text.

Microblogging - a more succinct version of the traditional blog. Posts are typically much more frequent and may be limited to images or links.

Snaps, Tweets, Stories & Posts

Snaps - messages created in Snapchat. Snaps can be photos or videos but often include fun filters and effects. They can also be edited to add captions and drawings making them highly customizable and unique.

Tweets - short messages created in Twitter that can include text, links, images and animated GIF's. GIF's are images with animations lasting only a few seconds that are often set to continually repeat. Individual tweets are limited to 280 characters, double what they used to be limited to. Images no longer count towards the character count, but links still do. Because of the strict parameters around tweets, formatting changes are often implemented.

Stories - originally created by Snapchat and later adopted by both Instagram and Facebook. Stories are a way to showcase a series of photos and/or videos together in a sequence rather than individually. User's stories appear at the top of your feed until the end of the day.

Posts - adding content somewhere where users on the Internet can access it. This might be on Facebook, a blog or even adding a video to YouTube. 

Streaming Content

Streaming - a continuous flow of content that is typically both audio and video, but can also be only one or the other. Many cable users have switched to streaming content via Hulu, Netflix and others as it allows them to access the content they want on-demand and a la carte. Many traditional cable companies offer DVR capabilities that allow streaming as well. 

Most people regularly stream data. Some examples of streaming content include:
  • Playing a YouTube video
  • Listening to online music via Spotify, Pandora and others
  • Watching television shows using a provider app like HBO, CBS and others
  • Listening to audio books on Audible as well as any of thousands of podcasts

Live Streaming
- streaming that can be watched in real time. These can include sporting events, Facebook live posts, Senate hearings, channels on sites like Twitch and more.

You have probably heard of many of the technology terms above relating to social media. Hopefully this post helps you understand what these terms mean, how they work, and how you might use them. In summary, blogs are a way to communicate larger pieces of information to unlimited people using the Internet and are posted to regularly. Snaps, posts, etc., are ways to more frequently share smaller amounts of information and can include video content, links and more. Streaming is a way to access continuous information like movies, television shows, podcasts and more whether live or recorded.

As always, there are many ways to relay information to a larger audience. Choosing the way that best fits your personality and need is the key to generating an active audience and having fun while you do it!

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