Glossary

Glossary of Terms

atom
a standard protocol for disseminating information via blogs
biography analysis software
software that collects and standardizes biographical Information
blog
Contraction of “Web log.” A journal posted on the Web, usually arranged in reverse chronological order. More generally, a tool that makes Web publishing extremely easy.
blogger
Someone who writes a blog.
blogging
The activity of updating a blog.
blogosphere
The community of all bloggers.
blogroll
The section of a blog which lists the sites that the blogger reads regularly. Doc Searls coined the term as a reference to “logrolling,” defined as the exchange of favors or praise.
CAN-SPAM Act of 2003
U.S. antispam legislation. CAN-SPAM stands for “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing.”
Character
Your integrity, clarity of motives, consistency of behavior, openness, discretion, and trustworthiness.
chat
Real-time text communication, much like instant messaging, except that it usually indicates multiple participants meeting at a common virtual “place”. Each participant’s comments are repeated immediately and simultaneously on the screens of all other participants in the same chat room.
clique
A small group of people who are all tied to one another. Usually used with the implication that this small group is located within a larger group.
closed network
See closure
closure
A network with closure is one “in which everyone is connected such that no one can escape the notice of the others.”
Contact management software
Software that helps you aggregate and analyze data about the people you know: not only name, phone, and email, but also notes on personality, on your progress in selling to them, and so on.
Competence
Your ability to “walk your talk” and do well the job that you claim to be able to do; your demonstrated capability. It includes functional knowledge and skills, interpersonal skills, and judgment.
crawler
A “robot” that searches the Web for new and updated Web pages. As the crawler finds pages, it places them in a central database, usually for the benefit of a search engine.
cross-posting
The act of posting the same message to more than one group or list.
degree
In social network analysis, the number of steps between you and someone else. If you know Zeeshan, then Zeeshan is a first degree relationship. If Zeeshan knows Elizabeth, but you do not know Elizabeth, then Elizabeth is a second-degree relationship to you.
Diversity
Heterogeneity of your network, by profession, age, sex, ethnicity, location, socioeconomic status, political orientation, and every other relevant measure. We use this term as a rough proxy for the number of structural holes in your network.
emoticons
Combination of characters meant to represent a facial expression. People use emoticons in electronic communications to convey meaning, just like people use voice tone in spoken communications. Some examples: “:-)” = smile, “;-)” = wink, “;-/” = wry smile, “!:-)” = imaginative.
enterprise whuffie
The reputation that employees can acquire by becoming known as experts in a given area. The term was possibly invented by Steve Gillmor.
flame
A deliberately hostile and insulting message.
FOAF
A data file format that stores personal profile information and one’s relationships to others. Developers are using it as the basis for early efforts at making this kind of information portable between various systems.
HTML
The code in which Web pages are written.
Information
The data that you have about the people you know.
instant messaging
Real-time textual communication, generally person-to-person.
Internet Service Provider
ISP A company that provides Internet access to people or corporations
IM
See instant messaging
ISP
See Internet Service Provider
latent tie
A tie that is relatively easy to convert into a weak tie
link
1. In the context of social networks, the relationship between two nodes.
2. In the context of the World Wide Web, a piece of text that connects to another document (or section of the current document) or launches an action (such as executing a predefined search or sending an e-mail).
list server
A program that accepts an e-mail from a user and forwards that e-mail to all members of the list server’s mailing list. The list server typically also generates an archive.
Metcalfe’s law
The principle that the value of a communications system grows approximately as the square of the number of users of the system (N2).
multiplex
An adjective indicating that there is more one type of relationship between two nodes.
netiquette
Etiquette of interacting with others virtually
network
In the context of human relationships and this book, a network is the set of relationships that you need to get tasks done, to advance in an organization, and to grow as a person.
Network Valuation FormulaSM
A formula developed by David Teten to analyze and value your social network (see Appendix A of The Virtual Handshake: Opening Doors and Closing Deals Online).
networking
Developing a significant Number of relationships for the purpose of supporting one other in achieving your group and personal goals. The word “networking” has also been widely adopted by the network marketing industry to refer specifically to the practice of network marketing. For example, one of the most popular magazines in the network marketing industry is titled “Networking Times.”
networking groups
Organized groups where people to get to know one another for business purposes. At their best, networking groups foster Strong relationships with Relevant and Diverse people. At their worst, they can be little more than strangers swapping business cards and asking each other for leads simply because they happen to be in the same room at the same time. We do not consider the latter “etworking”, but this is not an uncommon perception of it.
news aggregator
See news reader.
news reader
A Web site or software tool that allows the combination of data feeds from multiple blogs or Web sites into a single feed.
node
In a network, any point (e.g., a person) where two lines meet. If you know both Gilberto and Anthony, you are a node between the two of them.
Number
How many people you are linked to directly in your network, i.e., the combined number of strong and weak ties.
online community
See virtual community
online social network
Any network of people which is entirely virtual (e.g., an online community which does not hold regular meetings) or partially virtual (e.g., the Bain alumni network). People can build their personal networks online using any of the technologies we discuss in this book. For example, a group of bloggers discussing a common point constitute an online social network.
permalink
A permanent link on a blog which will link to a given post after that post is moved off the front page and into archives. Some blogs use the word “Permalink,” but it is also common to use the time of the post or the “#” symbol.
RDF
standard data format for publishing and syndicating headlines and short content. Usually used for distribution of blog posts.
Reed’s law
The principle that the value of large networks, particularly social networks, can scale exponentially with the size of the network (approximately 2N).
relationship capital management software
Software that helps you to track whom you interact with, and learn to which other people your network can provide you access. In other words, if you want to reach a particular target person who is a few degrees away from you, these tools help you figure out who can introduce you to her and provide background on her. Relationship capital management software typically allow you to analyze all of your relationships automatically by spidering through your emails, IMs, and other digital records.
Relevance
An acquaintance’s value to you, defined as the acquaintance’s ability to contribute to your specific goals, interests, and/or needs.
RSS
Originally “RDF Site Summary,” but also commonly referred to as “Really Simple Syndication,” a standard data format for publishing and syndicating headlines and short content. Usually used for distribution of blog posts.
RSS reader
News reader for RSS feeds.
signature file
Text that is automatically added to every online message you send. It usually includes your name, organization, e-mail, phone number, and frequently a physical address or Web site.
social capital
Social capital refers to the collective value of all “social networks” (who people know) and the inclinations that arise from these networks to do things for each other (“norms of reciprocity”). More formally, “social capital is the sum of the resources, actual or virtual, that accrue to an individual or group by virtue of possessing a durable network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition.”
social network
Any group of people acquainted with one another, ranging from casual acquaintances to close family bonds.
social network analysis
“The mapping and measuring of relationships and flows between people, groups, organizations, computers or other information/knowledge processing entities. The nodes in the network are the people and groups, while the links show relationships or flows between the nodes.”
social software
Websites and software tools which allow you to discover, extend, manage, enable communication in, and/or leverage your social network. Includes blogs, social networking sites, virtual communities, relationship capital management software, biography analysis software, and many more. Some people use this term for the software used to run online communities and online dating sites, but we do not use that term for that purpose in this book and website.
social network software
See social software
social networking site
See social network site
social network site
Virtual communities in which you can see more than one degree away from you (i.e., you can see whom your relationships know). These sites are a subset of virtual communities in general.
social networking services
Services (primarily Web sites) that allow you to see more than one degree away (i.e., to see whom your relationships know).
spam
Unsolicited bulk e-mail (UBE), usually sent to thousands (or millions) of recipients. Also known as unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE), although some spam is used for political advocacy or for chain letters. By definition, spam is sent without the permission of the recipients. In the context of virtual communities, “spam” refers not only to e-mails, but to posting any advertising in a discussion forum that does not expressly allow advertising.
spambot
A program used by spammers to automatically collect e-mail addresses from Web sites and add them to their database. These programs are the reason why we discourage you from placing your e-mail address on a public Web site.
spamming
The act of sending or posting spam.
spider
See crawler.
spoofing
The falsification of an e-mail header (originating address) so that the e-mail appears to have originated from someone or somewhere other than the real source.
Strength
The closeness of the relationship between you and an acquaintance. This reflects the degree of trust and reciprocity in your relationship.
strong tie
Your family, close friends, and close professional colleagues. Typically, you have known these people for a long time, see them regularly, have a high level of emotional attachment, and frequently reciprocate advice, support, and other informal and formal “gifts.”
structural equivalence
Two people are “structurally equivalent” if they have the same relationships to all other people within their organization. For example, two Vice Presidents of Purchasing for Ladies’ Blouses working for Bloomingdale’s are almost perfectly structurally equivalent. They have the same job title, same function, and interact with similar people people almost every day.
structural hole
The weak connections between clusters of densely connected people. People with these connections can become brokers between the clusters.
TrackBack
A system of letting a blog owner know that you have quoted, referenced, or used their post for something in your post. This is called “trackbacking” or “pinging” their post. This is polite to the original source of your post; it expedites discussion; and it drives traffic to your blog.
troll
A person who intentionally posts messages that create controversy or anger, without adding any value to the discussion.
trolling
The act of being a troll.
virtual community
A group of people which congregates and interacts with one another primarily or exclusively virtually.
weak ties
All of the people you know who are not “strong ties.” Your weak ties are usually short term and instrumental, that is, you interact with them for a specific purpose.
Weblog
See blog.
whuffie
Reputation currency, or digital reputation. You earn whuffie as people credit you for your accomplishments.
wiki
A collection of Web pages that are editable by any reader. Wikis use extremely simple linking and formatting commands rather than requiring people to learn HTML.
XML
XML is a text markup language used for interchange of structured data. It is similar to HTML, except that it can be customized (extended) as needed for a variety of applications.