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The other day, I had to look up a social media term I had seen floating around in my cyber-travels, but had never fully understood.  It's hard to admit, but no, I don't know everything yet.  Yes you can quote me on that.  Since I'm pretty sure no-one knows everything yet, I thought I'd periodically share some jargon that might need de-mystifying. 


Here's the first batch:



It's an acronym, which makes it way more intimidating than it should be.  It stands for "Really Simple Syndication." Essentially, RSS is a way to get updates of new content from a source you choose.  When you click the RSS symbol, you will normally get a choice of where to send the feed.  Google Reader is the big gorilla for this, but here's a rundown of other options from Lifehacker:!390619/best-rss-newsreaders.



"nofollow" is an HTML attribute that can be added by a site owner who doesn't want to give link authority to external URLs.  In plain English, if you comment on a site that includes "nofollow," your website link will not gain any search engine authority or "juice" because the search engines will not follow the link to your site. The flipside, of course, is the "dofollow" attribute, which some sites include as a courtesy to commenters. Personally, I pay no attention to this, because I think you should comment on other folks' sites because you have something of value to contribute, not because you want to coattail on their search engine authority.



A hashtag is a word or phrase that begins with #, used to keep track of specific topics within Twitter.  There's no magic to it; you can put # in front of any word or phrase in order to be more easily discoverable by others with the same interest. When I use a new hashtag, I like to do a quick Google search for it first, to make sure that no-one is using it for an unrelated purpose.  A great example is the #cmgr hashtag, which many community managers are using to share tips and information.



A simplified form of HTML, originated by Social Strata in the Ultimate Bulletin Board (UBB), that is often used in forums for post formatting. The idea was to allow a narrow range of HTML-like formatting without opening up the forum to full HTML coding, which could allow malicious code to be posted.  Often erroneously referred to as "BBCode."


QR CodeScreen shot 2011-01-11 at 12.39.11 PM

A coded image that, when photographed using a certain application, takes you to a website. They can be used to draw attention to your online presence in the offline world; for example, they are showing up in print magazines as a fun way to reach web content. We like to include ours on brochures or business cards.  Here's a great roundup of QR tools from Entrepreneur.


If you have run across social media jargon you'd like explained, please post here and I'll do the sleuthing for you!


I'd love to hear your thoughts here in the comments, or connect with me on Twitter.


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  • Screen shot 2011-01-11 at 12.39.11 PM: QR Code

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