Terminology online communication

Algorithm: An algorithm is based on data from a combination of priorities, classifications, filters and associations of content. Platforms use algorithms to affect the characteristics, behavior and nature of the content that is posted. Search results, timelines and even advertisements are influenced by these algorithms so we all are presented with a personalized timeline. 

Brain-heart-hands: A model that defines three aspects of a scientist’s personality. The brain shapes your knowledge and expertise. The heart shapes your beliefs, ideals, philosophical thought and friendships; and the hands give you an insight into how to transfer from your heart and hands to others. 

Comment: Messages that people leave in response to a post made on social media. Twitter refers to comments as “replies.”

Connections:  People that follow a profile on a platform.

Content: Written text, photo, animations, video or storytelling (often in combination with another medium).

Content houses: A visual way of translating your communication message into content. 

Engaging (content): Content that invites readers to interact. Your content can create awareness, start new debates or tap into existing conversations or societal issues that are concerned with your research field.

Emoji: A standard set of pictorial representations of objects, emotions, and actions, that everyone can universally understand. The name “emoji” literally means “a picture character.” These are used in posts on social media to add humour or give a better idea of the tone of a post.

Handle: The username used on a platform, usually preceded by an @ symbol. It makes it easy for people to tag you or an organisation in a post without having to visit your specific social media profile.

Hashtag (#): A hashtag is used to add keywords or topics to a post on a platform and helps you relate your post to a larger discussion. Anyone who searches for a specific hashtag sees a list of all the posts that include the hashtag – usually the most popular posts appear at the top of the list. 

Communication message: In a communication message you express your opinion or position in relation to a subject in your field. Your communication message contains the unique combination of your knowledge in a field and you as a scientist.

Network: A group of people with a shared topic(s). The topic(s) could for instance be any shared area of interest or specific research area.

Online impact as a scientist: The potential impact of an online network, listening, interaction and content creation, in a way that matches your scientific profile and adds value to society. 

(Social media) Platform: An online application (website or app) where communication between people, groups, companies or institutions takes place. A platform has a (brand) name and usually a specific group of users and niche. The communication aspect is to be ‘social’. Examples of platforms could be LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram. To interact and create content on a platform, you need a profile. Usually, a platform matches the content you see on your timeline.

Post / Tweet: Content shared on a platform through a user’s profile. It can be as simple as a piece of text, but can also include images, videos, and links to other content. Other users of a platform can like, comment, and share the post.

(online) Profile: A description of you and your social characteristics that identify you as a scientist on platforms.

Online profiling: It is important to remember that as a user of a platform you are not the customer; you are the product. Our payment for being part of these networks for free is the so-called profiling mechanism. Profiling is a term that is used in combination with algorithms. It is mainly meant for the providers of the platforms to target paid content (advertisement) on our timelines. 

Share / Retweet: Users on a platform can share posts with people in their network. Twitter users can retweet an existing post to share it with followers.

Search Query: A query that a user enters into a search engine or platform search box to match information needs. A search query can contain combinations of keywords to improve the results of the query. 

Timeline/Feed: Usually the starting point of a platform. You can scroll through your timeline to see what has been posted since your last visit. It presents you with content from people in your network as well as paid content in a structured yet not necessarily chronological way. The timeline is often referred to as ‘feed’ and is influenced by the platform’s algorithms. 

Troll: A person who posts inflammatory, insincere, digressive, extraneous, or off-topic messages on a platform with the intent of provoking readers into displaying emotional responses.

View/impression: The amount that a post is shown to a user in his/her timeline. It doesn´t necessarily mean that the user has read the post.