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SOCIAL MEDIA

My boss has asked me to integrate social media and Web 2.0 tools into our exhibit-marketing program, but I can't tell a wiki from a blog. Can you provide definitions for some of the most widely used Web 2.0 terms?


Social media and Web 2.0 have leapt onto the marketing scene faster than Superman on speed. And with everything else exhibit marketers must do, "learn Web 2.0 terms" probably isn't at the top of the list.

While EXHIBITOR has published a research report and two feature articles about social networking as it relates to trade shows (visit here for more information and to download the report), if you're a total newbie when it comes to Web 2.0, you might want to start by learning the basic definitions of some of the most common social-media terms. Here are 12 terms to bring you up to speed - until Web 3.0 leaps onto the scene.

1. Web 2.0: Coined in 2001 by Dale Dougherty of Sebastopol, CA-based O'Reilly Media Inc., Web 2.0 refers to the current stage of the Web, with its focus on interactivity, user participation, and user-generated content. Popular examples of Web 2.0 tools include blogs, YouTube, Facebook, wikis, and Twitter.

2. Blog: A contraction of the words "Web" and "log," a blog is a Web site (or perhaps an area within a site) where an individual or company publishes entries describing events, products, or services. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order, and usually organized by date, topic, or tags. While many businesses start blogs on their own Web sites, there are numerous, often free services online where you can quickly set up a blog, including Blogger (www.blogger.com), WordPress (www.wordpress.com), TypePad (www.typepad.com), Pitas (www.pitas.com), and Tumblr (www.tumblr.com). Most offer free, advertising-supported basic blogs but charge for ad-free upgraded versions offering additional features.

3. Blogosphere: This term refers to the extensive and kaleidoscopic community of people and institutions who blog. According to data from New York media-services firm Universal McCann, more than 184 million people worldwide have started a blog at some point, and 77 percent of active Internet users read blogs. The 100 most popular blogs, per a listing on Technorati.com, range from the political (The Huffington Post) to the technological (Engadget) to the comical (Funny or Die).

4. Crowdsourcing: Popularized (and possibly originated) by journalist Jeff Howe in a June 2006 Wired magazine article, crowdsourcing is the process of leveraging the power of many to accomplish feats that were once the province of a few. In effect, it is harnessing the collective talents and collaborative efforts of users. Typically, challenges are distributed via the Web to a broad range of volunteers who work on a project as individuals and on teams. For example, crowdsourcing can be used to influence trade show components such as seminar content or panel-discussion topics.

5. Feed: Often done via Really Simple Syndication (RSS), a feed is the most common type of Web-content syndication. By subscribing to a feed, users obtain content from regular Web sites, blogs, wikis, or other frequently updated content through a "feed reader" that sends the information to their PC or mobile device, without having to constantly visit and re-visit the content source online.

6. Microblog: A microblog is any blogging format that lets you send or post brief text or multimedia updates to an open or a restricted audience. Popular examples include Twitter and Tumblr. Generally smaller than regular blogs in overall size, the individual entries can be updated by various means, including e-mail, text messaging, and instant messaging, or through posting on the Web site itself. Several social-networking sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, also have their own microblogging features.

7. Podcast: Sent via the Internet, podcasts are digital media files typically distributed for entertainment, news, marketing, or training. Often sent via syndication feeds, such as RSS feeds, Podcasts are often played back on PCs and portable media players. With the numbers of podcasts growing almost exponentially, directories of them can be found on Web sites such as All Podcasts (www.allpodcasts.com), iTunes (www.apple.com/itunes), and Podcast Directory (www.podcastdirectory.com).

8. Social Media: This umbrella term includes most Web 2.0 tools. It refers to online technologies and practices that people use to share content, opinions, experiences, and media. Examples include everything from Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn and YouTube.

9. Tags: In short, tags are key words used to label photos, videos, blog posts, etc. For example, you might tag a photo with the names of everyone pictured, or tag a video with the names of the products featured. Tags allow users to organize content stored in applications such as Flickr and YouTube. By classifying content with tags, other users can find what they're looking for by performing key-word searches using tag words. Tags are usually chosen and applied by the creator and/or the consumer of the content.

10. User-Generated Content (UGC): This type of media content is created or influenced by end users rather than traditional content publishers. UGC often appears on blogs, podcasts, and wikis in general, and specific sites such as Digg, Urban Dictionary, and Wikipedia. In a trade show context, UGC could include photos or videos of your in-booth presentation taken and posted by attendees, or blog posts recommending or discussing the new products you launched at the show.

11. Viral Marketing: Spread mainly by word of mouth or online, viral marketing represents any promotional content that gets passed around by recipients via e-mail, blogs, or social-networking sites. Generally speaking, something like a promotional video has "gone viral" if it reaches and is viewed by an exponentially larger audience than it was originally broadcast to.

12. Wiki: A Hawaiian word meaning "quick," a wiki is a collaborative Web site that allows users to create and edit content. The best-known example is online encyclopedia Wikipedia, where more than 75,000 contributors work on an estimated 13 million articles.

- EXHIBITOR Staff



BOOTH DESIGN

I've recently downsized my booth, and now I'm wondering if attendees will have enough space to peruse our products. How much space do people need?


If you've read anything by retail-design guru Paco Underhill, you know people like plenty of space to maneuver. In fact, his studies have identified what he calls the "butt-brush" factor. He has concluded that most people are uncomfortable in narrow aisles, especially when there's not enough room for someone to pass behind them without brushing their derriere in the process.

The bottom line, so to speak, is that we don't like being jammed up next to each other when we're shopping - or perusing a booth for that matter. So whenever you downsize your space, make sure to leave enough room between display elements - and to instruct staff to stand clear of narrow passages - so attendees can comfortably maneuver your booth untouched.

- John Tatusko, space and sponsorship strategist, Nth Degree Inc., Duluth, GA


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