Social Computing refers to the use of software and technology as a device to strengthen and support social interaction. By name, the growing popularity and importance of social computing in society has been dubbed "Web 2.0". Which roughly makes note that since the advent of websites like MySpace and Facebook, the amount of people using computers for social purposes has increased dramatically. (Facebook and Myspace are websites that use database technologies to create social networks which allow for an easy informal 'connection' between users) As of 12am, February 22, 2007, there were close to 158 million MySpace members.

Yet it should be noted that social computing refers to much more than just social networking sites. eMail, Instant Messenging, Weblogs, and Wikis are all considered to be a part of this exploding trend. eMail, the front-runner in the age of social computing, actually predates the internet. It refers to electronic mail whereby messages can be composed, sent, recieved, and read using electronic systems (such as Webmail applications) Instant Messenging refers to software which enables users to participate in real-time textual conversations. Weblogs are actually online diaries which allow for public announcements regarding anything a particular user would like to share with the world. Since its inception, weblogs have taken many forms including video logs (vlog), link logs, sketchblogs, photoblogs, and tumblelogs (which is a mixture of the others). Wikis are websites that allow their users to edit the available content. In concept, the longer a wiki exists the more likely the content represents the collaborative thoughts of all its editors.

Instant Messaging may be done in a Friend-to-friend network, in which each node connects to the friends on the friendslist. This allows communication among friends and build chatrooms for instant messages with all friends on that network.

Applications and Web Resources

The List of Social Computing Applications is vast. A number of applications have been categorized and listed below as an example of the variety of concepts associated with Social Computing and Web 2.0.

Email Applicationsexternal image logo_gmail.gif

Yahoo Mail
Microsoft Outlook
Mozilla Thunderbird
AOL Mail

Instant Messaging

AOL Instant Messenger (AIM)external image aim-download.jpg
Yahoo Messenger
MSN Messenger
MySpace IM


Cute Overload
Boing Boing

Wikisexternal image Nohat-logo-nowords-bgwhite-200px.jpg


Social Networking Sites

trUeexternal image LogoDotcom.gif


Blog - A web log. These are used for people to post online journals about whatever they want. Some people post personal information while others use blogs to inform others about politics, current events, etc. As far as social computing is concerned, blogs can help friends stay current on happenings in their friends' lives.

Audioblog - A blog where the posts consist mainly of voice recordings sent by mobile phone, sometimes with some short text message added for metadata purposes.

Comment spam - Like e-mail spam. Robot “spambots” flood a blog with advertising in the form of bogus comments. A serious problem that requires bloggers and blog platforms to have tools to exclude some users or ban some addresses in comments.

Ping - the alert in the TrackBack system that notifies the original poster of a blog post when someone else writes an entry concerning the original post.

Podcasting - Contraction of “iPod” and “broadcasting” (but not for iPods only). Posting audio and video material on a blog and its RSS feed, for digital players.

Vlog - A video blog; a vlogger is a video blogger (e.g. someone who records himself interviewing people of a certain field).

Instant Messenger - A program which allows users to send messages instantly to another user that is signed on to the same network.

Messageboard - An Internet forum that allows users to post topics and get replies from other users. These can be very useful tools in finding information on the 'Net.

Bulletin - A message you can post on MySpace that all of your friends can see.

Friend Request - A request sent to another user on Facebook or MySpace to become one of your "friends". If he or she accepts your request you have special privileges on his/her page.

Marketing bots - This is an automated marketing method that is being used on sites like MySpace. Users get messages or friend requests from someone who wants you to go to their "other" site, or someone who can show you how to make thousands of dollars from home.


Due to the limitations of text, certain emotions or actions cannot be expressed properly. Some of these emotions have found their way on to the internet as 'slang' terms. Other long phrases have been converted into acronyms for ease of use, as today's fast-paced society on the internet requires quick decisions and actions. Some acronyms also express emotions are actions, and are used in most of today's Blogs, eMails, instant messaging, and social networking sites. However, these terms are usually left out of professional websites or Wikis.

Instant messaging was one of the pioneers of this new wave of slang. Some of the more popular slang and acronyms include:

LOL - Laughing out loud. One of the harder actions to express, 'lol' indicates that the poster is laughing (usually in reaction to something that was just read or seen).
AFK - Away from keyboard. This denotes the user is not at the computer after the message is posted.
JK - Just kidding. This remark is usually made after making a false statement.
BTW - By the way. This is the 'FYI' of Web 2.0.
TTYL - Talk to you later. A remark of this nature is usually said at the end of a conversation.
CUl8ER, L8ER, and other variants - See you later, or later. These terms use the phonetics of the number '8' to abbreviate (i.e. l"eight"er sounds phonetically like "later").
BRB - Be right back. Indicates that the user is away, and will return soon.

To see more acronyms and new terms, AimLingo and Urban Dictionary are excellent resources.