Web Words You Need to Know

(Or, just ask your kids)

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If you're finally using the Web to boost your career, it will help to understand these important terms:

Instant messaging (IM-ing) is a real-time conversational alternative to E-mail that uses IM-ing software on your PC.

Text messaging is a version of instant messaging that's been scaled down for cellphones and other hand-held devices. To make the most of the small screens, users employ a lot of shorthand ("BRB," instead of "be right back," for example). Ask your kids.

Podcasts are audio files that run from 30 seconds to 30 minutes or more and can be downloaded from Web services like Apple's iTunes. You can then listen to them on your computer or a portable device like an iPod (hence the name). Podcasts might feature a daily program from NPR, a yoga class, or a recent speech by your CEO.

Blogs are Web-based journals in which people voice their opinions, expert and otherwise, on a particular subject (like real-estate law in California or marketing to baby boomers). Bloggers usually link to other blogs, websites, and news stories of interest to readers.

Social networking happens on websites like Facebook or LinkedIn. It allows people to keep in touch with friends and colleagues, get advice on work-related issues, or hunt for a job.

Hyperlinks are highlighted words or phrases on a website or in a text document. A hyperlink has a Web address (URL) "attached" to it so that clicking on the word with your mouse takes you to that website. Inserting hyperlinks in documents is usually a simple trick: In Microsoft Word, highlight the word or phrase where you want the hyperlink, go to the Insert menu, select "hyperlink," then type in the URL.

RSS (really simple syndication) is usually used to aggregate newsfeeds, which are essentially headlines and summaries from news websites, blogs, and other forms of online media. People subscribe to newsfeeds to see all the latest information on their favorite websites in one place. Google and My Yahoo! both offer RSS readers that open in a Web browser (like Internet Explorer) and allow you to start collecting newsfeeds.