ARG – An alternate reality game (ARG) is an interactive narrative that uses the real world as a platform, often involving multiple media and game elements, to tell a story that may be affected by participants' ideas or actions.
Banner – a form of advertising where a visual banner appears across the top or bottom of a site. The term has come to mean any form of graphical display element on a page, including down the side of the page (skyscraper) or in the middle of the page (island), and are often referred to by position (Top Right). (See ‘Text links’.)
Blogs – a shortened form of the term ‘web logs’, which were thought pieces written to be read by a (possibly unknown) audience. Generally, consideration and thought is put into a blog, and blogs are a great place to find out about new concepts, new ideas or new sites. (Video blogs also exist.)
Buzz – generating word or mouth, excitement or interest in a product of service. Things with ‘ buzz’ are talked about, shared with people and forwarded on to others. Buzz is the current zeitgeist – or the hot topic of moment.
Citizen marketing – the idea that people will engage in marketing your product for you. Sometimes people do this of their own accord, but more and more creators are overtly attempting to facilitate this happening, by supplying assets or calling for collective action.
CPA – Cost per Acquisition/Action. Similar model to CPC, where payment is made based on action such as signing up to the site clicked through.
CPC – Cost per Click. Unlike CPM, the revenue is paid based on the number of people who respond to the ad (click on this). The rates are generally higher than for CPM, as few people will respond to an ad – but are more likely to be interested in the offer.
CPM – Cost per Thousand (M) – Online advertising model where the revenue is agree based on the thousands of people to whom the ad is shown. Like other broadcast advertising, response is not relevant and the cost goes up as the ad is shown to more people.
Creative Commons – a form of licensing content which allows the rights holder to define the rights that can be shared/used by other people. Simliar to an ‘open source’ licensing system.
Cross-platform writing – writing that is expressed across different media platforms. It does not refer to digital games with multiple platforms, digital games that are available on different game platforms, or cross-platform distribution of content.
Digital content – content (text, images, video) which is provided through a digital consumption device. Digital content may start life as non-digital but is digitised for delivery to the end user.
Digital Rights Management (DRM) – a form of copy protection which is applied to content to stop it being shared at will or without approval of the original copyright owner. Very contentious subject in all forms of creative content (including music, video, film, etc.) as the owners wish to maximise their return through limiting access to those who have fulfilled the conditions required (normally – paid for the content), but this is at odds with the promotional possibilities and sharing nature of digital content.
Digital Video Recorder (DVR) – also known as a Personal Video Recorder – a device which allows for the recording of television onto a hard disk from where it can be replayed, fast-forwarded, etc.
Discovery – the ability to find new things. This is difficult if filtering is very effective. When we reduce the noise, we are more likely to see what we know/want and less likely to find/discover unusual things.
Downloadable – content which is delivered in the form of a file that can be saved and accessed at a later date. Usually there is a delay in the delivery of the content (while the whole file is delivered) but the user can normally access this at leisure without restriction. Most Digital Rights Management is focussed on ensuring that downloadable content cannot be shared.
e-book – a book provided in an electronic (digital) form. They can be in different formats and can require dedicated readers (e-book readers). Some e-books are provided in PDF (Portable Document Format) which can be read using a free reader (from Adobe Acrobat).
Filtering – applying a screen which limits the responses to a specific action (e.g. a search) by ‘filtering’ out the undesired elements. Also referred to as ‘removing the noise’.
Freemiums – offering a product or service free in the beginning to generate interest and take-up and then a charging model is applied. It is important that consumers know that the service will only be free for a period of time.
Generation (Gen) C – a highly connected group of digital consumers who are actively engaged with their community and use this to filter and discover information in the digital space. They are a more creative generation then any previous, empowered by communications and computers. While they often cross-over with Generation Y, Gen C exhibits highly and hyper-connected behaviours, rather than being born in a specific year range. Approximately 10% of Gen C are over 45.
Heritage media – see Legacy media
HTML – Hypertext Markup Language. The formatting language used to write web pages, which defines how they will look.
Joost – an internet TV service which provides almost 500 TV channels with over 25,000 programs. Joost downloads a player to the computer and can then stream high quality video programs through this to the user. Other Internet TV services include Hulu and Veoh.
Legacy media – content which is developed for consumption through a linear or non-interactive form such as TV, film or publication (book, magazine or newspaper). Legacy content might be created digitally (written on a computer, filmed using digital film), but the consumption is assumed to be through a non-digital device. (Note that a digital TV taking a digital signal from a digitally made piece of content is still regarded as Legacy when the content is consumed in a passive, sit back manner.)
Long Tail – a concept that the Internet has opened up the possibilities of finding a market for all forms of niche (small volume) content. Basically, whereas the top songs are bought by most people, there is usually at least one person who will buy a copy of all the other songs. A theory developed by Chris Anderson, the ‘head’ is normally 50% of the sales, and the ‘tail’ can be very, very long.
Mash-up – taking content and chopping and changing this to deliver something new. Sometimes mash-ups will include content from a variety of sources ‘mashed up’ in a new offer.
Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG) – games where there are massive numbers of players (often in the millions) who all participate and interact with each other in an online environment. The players all share a ‘world’ and create characters who live out their lives in this world (Role Player).
MMS – Multimedia Messaging Service. Similar to SMS or text message, this is a form of mobile messaging which allows the incorporation of rich media content (images, short video, long text).
Native digital content – content which is developed with the specific intent of being consumed in some digital form – usually in an interactive manner (see Legacy Media).
Noise – the general increase in life volumes created as a result of increased connectivity. The volumes increased are in content, information, communication and connectedness. Due to the volume of the ‘noise’ which exists around us, it is important to create ‘buzz’ to get cut-through on the noise.
Off-deck – the opposite of On-deck, where the content provided is made available more like a web model. The consumer enters the address (or clicks on a link in an SMS message) and can access the content regardless of their mobile carrier. See the section on mobile for pros and cons.
On-deck – the name given for services which are provided by a mobile carrier within a dedicated area, often where content is free, subsidised or the data rates waived. The content that is provided in this area is under the control of the carrier – even if they contract with third parties to deliver the sites
Open source – a standard, system or development process which is not controlled or owned by one person or company, but is open to being used by many people.
PoD (Publish on Demand) – the ability to have a publication (book, magazine, newspaper) converted from a digital to a hard copy upon request. There may be some time delays (in terms of printing) but storage of the pre-printed publications is not required as only a single digital form need be held.
Portals – internet sites which aggregate or provide content on a variety of topics or which link through to more content. Ninemsn is a portal site, as it Yahoo!7. News Ltd is also a portal site (to the rest of the News Ltd family) while Fairfax [www.fairfax.com.au] is actually more of an index to the Fairfax suite of sites, rather than a portal (it does not provide information itself).
Prosumers – the amalgamation of ‘producers’ and ‘consumers’. Where as producers make original content (blogs, videos, load up photos, etc.), prosumers interact with this and comment on the content created, rather than just anonymously consuming it.
Prototype – building an example of something so that you can see how it might work as a finished product.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – paying for a preferential presence in search engine results.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – the manner by which websites embed specific information within the site to allow the site to be more easily found by search engines such as Google. SEO is an art as well as a science and includes creating sites within a site to allow the sub-sites to be more easily found; applying rich metadata tags to a site; making arrangements with other sites to reference each other so they are more easily found, etc. SEO is designed to get around the theoretically impersonal nature of search by skewing the results in one’s favour.
Short Message Service (SMS) – a mobile phone text message. Called ‘short’ as the message text is limited to 160 characters in length. The single most prevalent form of digital communication in the world.
Social media – the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio.
Social Marketing Optimization (SMO) – a set of methods for generating interest (buzz) through the use of social media. This includes tactics such as RSS feeds, tagging (allowing people to Digg this), blogging and commenting or ‘feeding’ to create interest
Streamed video – video which is delivered in the form of a digital ‘stream’ – much like radio. It is not delivered as a file (download) but as a right-now form of video. Audio (notably from digital radio) can also be delivered in this format.
Subscription – payment of a regular amount of money to gain/retain access to a service. Subscriptions may include a specific number of accesses, for example, a 20 access subscription would allow you to access a service 20 times in the relevant period. Many subscriptions are for unlimited access during the period.
Tagging – the ability for consumers to mark a piece of content, blog, website, image, photo, story, etc. as something they like. Tagging is similar to bookmarking, but social media tagging sites allow the tags on content to be aggregated (gathered together) to provide a ‘rating’ based on tags.
Text links – a form of advertising where the element to be clicked on appears as a link of text on the page. The line is hyperlinked to either another site or another page. In this way, it performs similar to a banner ad, but is displayed only as a line of text.
Traditional Content – see legacy media
Twitter – a type of short message service (140 characters) where all messages are passed into effectively a ‘stream’ of messages and the stream can viewed as a whole (unfiltered) or through seeing only messages from those one is interested in following. Replies can be made and direct (personal) message sent. The stream can also be viewed by special (hash - #) tags or by searching for a specific word. Often called ‘micro-blogging’, Twitter is more a ‘stream of comment’ than a considered piece of writing. Intensely presence (NOW) based and collaborative.
VoD (Video on Demand) – the delivery of video upon specific request. Commonly used for online and mobile, the content might be short (30 seconds) or long (full length movies) and is typified by being delivered upon request (streamed or downloaded).
WAP – Wireless Application Protocol. One of the ways in which content and ‘web-like’ information can be delivered to mobile phones. It is often used as a shortcut to refer to mobile sites (WAP sites), even when they are provided through other forms of connectivity.
Wiki – from the Hawaiian for ‘fast’ – wiki, as used now, is the name given to information or reference work which is developed collaboratively using online tools. Wikipedia is an example of an encyclopaedia developed online in a collaborative manner.
The writer's guide to making a digital living: choose your own adventure by Fingleton, T. Dena, C. & Wilson, J. for the Australia Council for the Arts is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.5 Australia License.
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