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2014 Toolkit


New Media Glossary

Download the Word version of the “New Media Glossary” (2,533 KB).

New media, also known as social media or digital media, facilitates online communication and content-sharing.  These user-friendly web tools make it easy for people with similar interests to interact with each other.

Every year, National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) (http://www.samhsa.gov), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (http://www.hhs.gov).  The annual observance engages thousands of individuals within the mental health and substance use recovery community and the prevention, treatment, and recovery support services fields, as well as local organizations.

To help you engage the online community, we have created the following glossary for background information on key online terms:

Blog:  User-generated websites, short for “web log,” which give online users an opportunity to share news or opinions on a particular subject, such as a person’s success in achieving recovery or the hardships of untreated mental and/or substance use disorders.  Many organizations also maintain blogs to provide readers with a more personal perspective of the organization than the website might provide.  Blogs can be hosted on a variety of platforms.  Some of the most popular include Wordpress (http://www.wordpress.com), Tumblr (https://www.tumblr.com), and Blogger (http://www.blogger.com).

Discussion Board (or Forum or Message Board):  Conversations, or “threads,” are made up of multiple posts about specific topics on a discussion board or forum.  Discussion boards for the recovery community include The Sober Recovery Community (http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums), In the Rooms (http://www.intherooms.com), and Mental Health Forum (http://www.mentalhealthforum.net).

Facebook (http://www.facebook.com):  A social networking site where people create an online profile and “Friend” people or “Like” organizations, communities, or campaigns to form an online network, as well as share interests, photos, and other information on a personal profile.  Facebook is also often used by organizations and brands to create a “Page” that shares information about their cause or product.  We encourage you to “Like” Recovery Month’s Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/RecoveryMonth) and join us in engaging with others through ongoing dialogue.  Below are some terms specifically related to Facebook that might help when navigating the site:

  • Event:  Allows individuals to create an event, post information about an event, and send invites to friends or networks.
  • Friend:  An action that allows users to add other individuals to their overall network.
  • Graph Search:  Facebook’s search function, graph search, allows you to find information about your network by typing a query.  For example, you might enter “Friends who follow Recovery Month that live in Washington, D.C.,” as a query, rather than only searching for individual keywords.  The search function allows you to find people, pages, places, events, music, web results, and public posts.
  • Hashtag:  Allows users to tag their posts with relevant keywords (ex. #recovery).  When a user clicks the hashtag, he or she is redirected to a feed that consists of all public posts that mention that specific hashtag.
  • Like:  An action that shows interest in and support of a user and/or organization’s page or post.  “Liking” an organization’s page will allow users to receive the organization’s status updates in their feed.
  • Location tag:  When posting a status update, photo, or album, users have the ability to share their location to either choose an already tagged place or add a new one.
  • News Feed:  A feature that shares status updates from friends and “Liked” pages in real time.  It also shares personal updates with others.  A news feed can be sorted by “Most Recent” or “Top Stories.”  Users can also “comment” or “Like” stories within their News Feed to show support.
  • Pages:  These help businesses, organizations, and brands share their stories and connect with people interested in their activities.  Multiple pages can be created and managed from a personal account.
  • Share:  A feature that allows users to share status updates, photos, and videos posted on their timeline as well as content posted by a friend.  Users also have the option to select which of their friends will see the content they post.
  • Status:  A feature that allows users to display a short message of up to 420 characters.  Statuses can describe a user’s thoughts, whereabouts, and actions, and can also be used to “share” photos, videos, events, news, and links.  Users and organizations also have the opportunity to schedule their status updates in advance to then be published at a specific date and time.
  • Tag:  A designation for status updates and photos to link directly to another Facebook user’s timeline or to an organization’s page.  Include the "@" symbol before another user or page in a status update and, depending on personal privacy settings, those users will be linked to the post or comment automatically.
  • Timeline:  A collection of personal photos, stories, and experiences that help tell your story throughout the years.  Timeline allows users to upload a cover photo, add life events, and view highlights from each month.

Flickr (http://www.flickr.com): A popular site for photo sharing, storage, and searching.  Search for photos of other recovery events to post, gather ideas for visuals, or find members for your coalition.  Also upload and share photos from a Recovery Month event.  You can also follow the SAMHSA Flickr account (http://www.flickr.com/photos/samhsa), which shares photos from recent SAMHSA- and HHS-sponsored events.

Foursquare (https://www.foursquare.com): A location-based social application that allows users to “check-in” from locations using applications on smart phones or using mobile Internet.  “Checking in” allows location-based information to be available to other Foursquare users, permits a user to read others’ “tips” or reviews of businesses or events, and helps a user earn badges for different social experiences.

Google+ (https://www.plus.google.com):  A social networking site where people can create a profile and organize connections through “Circles.”  In a Google+ profile, users can share personal information, photos, videos, links, and events.  Below are some terms specifically related to Google+ that might help when navigating the platform:

  • +1:  Users have the option to “+1” another user’s status update to show that they like that status, photo, or video.
  • Circles:  A feature that allows users to select and organize people into groups or “Circles” for optimal sharing, as well as the option to view content streams by “Circles.”  The default “Circles” include friends, family, acquaintances, and followers.  “Circles” also gather posts from people Google+ recommends based on a user’s interests.
  • Hangouts:  Virtual rooms that allow a maximum of 10 people to participate in a single group-facilitated video chat.  There are also live Hangouts that allow users to watch and ask questions, even if they are not participating via video chat.
  • Hashtag:  Allows users to tag their posts with relevant keywords (ex. #recovery).  When a user clicks the hashtag, he or she is redirected to a feed that consists of all public posts that mention the keyword, with or without the hashtag symbol.
  • Share:  A feature that allows users to share status updates, photos, and videos posted by people in their circles.  Users can also choose which circles they would like to share the content with.
  • Sparks:  A search box that allows users to enter an interest, and Google+ will locate relevant posts, videos, or books that closely mirror the interest.

Google Blog Search (http://www.blogsearch.google.com):  A tool that continuously collects and updates blog posts, which can be viewed and filtered by relevance or date.

Instagram (http://www.instagram.com):  A mobile application that allows users to filter and/or upload photos and 15-second videos and share them with friends and followers on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.  Instagram users can tag the location of their photo or people in a photo, comment on other people’s photos, or click the heart button to like or show support for a person’s photo.  Consider using Instagram to upload photos from a Recovery Month event in real time.

Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com):  A virtual pinboard that allows users to organize and share items, such as recipes, crafts, decorations, and other ideas with other users.  Users can browse other users’ pinboards for inspiration and new ideas.  The following are some specifically related to Pinterest that might help when navigating the site:

  • Board:  A set of pins that a user wants to group together.  Users can create a board on any topic with as many pins as desired.  Users can also create secret boards that only they can see.
  • Following All:  Shows all of a user’s pins on all of their boards in real time, as well as any new boards the user creates.
  • Like:  Adds an image to a Pinterest profile’s “Likes” section, but it does not add the image to a personal board.
  • Pin:  An image that a user uploads to Pinterest or adds from a website using the “Pin It” button.
  • Repin:  When a user adds another person’s image to their own board.

Podcast:  A digital media file that can be downloaded through web syndication and played back on a mobile device or computer.  Recovery Month offers a large selection of audio and video podcasts (http://www.recoverymonth.gov/Multimedia/Audio-and-Video-Podcasts.aspx) to promote on personal websites.  A video podcast, or online delivery of a video clip, also can be referred to as a vodcast.

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) or Web Syndication:  A feature that enables users to avoid constantly refreshing their favorite websites to check for updates.  A RSS reader collects individual posts from blogs and news sites, and presents them as they arrive.  Set up a feed to receive the latest news and blog posts from the recovery community directly to an inbox.

Twitter (http://www.twitter.com):  A social media platform that allows its users to send text-based posts of a maximum of 140 characters to their profiles.  These posts then appear on other Twitter members’ home pages, who have subscribed to a user’s feed.  Follow Recovery Month’s Twitter page (http://twitter.com/recoverymonth) and engage others in the ongoing dialogue.  Search Twitter for other people who “tweet” about their Recovery Month events or treatment or recovery resources, or talk about their personal recovery experience. 

Below are some terms related to Twitter to help navigate the site:

  • @:  A symbol that when placed directly before a Twitter user’s name directs retweets to a specific person.
  • Direct messages:  Private tweets that can be sent between Twitter users.  Both accounts must be following each other to send or receive a direct message.  This is sometimes referred to as a “DM.”  Direct messages cannot be longer than 140 characters.
  • Followers:  Twitter users who follow another user’s tweets.  Settings can be adjusted to only allow approved followers to see your updates.
  • Following:  A feature that allows you to subscribe to other Twitter user’s updates, which will appear on the Twitter home page.
  • Hashtag (#):  A feature that enables you to use the hashtag (#) symbol in front of a phrase or word so it can be easily grouped and found through a search of that keyword.
  • Live Tweeting:  Posting real-time updates so that those who cannot attend, or watch live from their computers, can feel connected to the event, despite not having a physical presence.  Live tweeting also encourages in-person attendees to take part in an online discussion, spreading the reach of the event to their networks.
  • Reply:  A feature that allows you to click “Reply” at the bottom of the tweet to connect a post with an original tweet.  By replying this way, others will be able to open the details of the tweet to view both the original tweet and any subsequent replies.
  • Retweet:  The act of re-posting another user’s tweet on a personal account to share someone else’s tweet with “followers,” or add commentary on what was posted.  “RT” is usually in front of the text if it is a retweet.
  • Trends:  The most common phrases appearing in tweets and a list of trending topics can be found on the sidebar.  Trends can be filtered by location.
  • Twitter Chat:  Often Twitter users will host Twitter chats to discuss and explore specific topics.  Twitter chats can be hosted by one or more users who often pose questions and moderate conversation.  All users participating in the chat follow a specific hashtag and engage with one another by including that hashtag in the tweets they post.

Vine (https://www.vine.co):  A mobile application that allows users to cut and edit up to 6 seconds of looping video and share it with friends and followers on Vine, Facebook, or Twitter.  The videos can consist of one clip or multiple short clips that add up to 6 seconds.  Users who follow one another can click the smile icon to show support, comment on posts, or “re-vine” videos that show up in their feed.

Widget:  An online tool added to websites that displays or shares information from various sources.  Instructions for adding the Recovery Month events widget (http://www.recoverymonth.gov/Community-Events/Events-Widget.aspx) or inspirational quotes widget (http://www.recoverymonth.gov/multimedia/quote-widget.aspx) to a blog or site are available on the Recovery Month website.

Webcast:  A file that streams over the Internet to allow people to view a meeting or event.  Recovery Month presents the Road to Recovery Television and Radio Series (http://recoverymonth.gov/Multimedia.aspx) that features panels of nationwide experts in the field of treatment and recovery available for online viewing.  Recovery Month hosted a webcast of its September 2013 Recovery Month kick-off luncheon, available at http://www.eicnetwork.tv/Events/RecoveryMonthLuncheon2013/TabId/945/VideoId/148/Live-Webcasts-EIC-And-NACoA-Present-The-National-Recovery-Month-Luncheon.aspx.

Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia.org):  A community-researched encyclopedia with more than 22 million entries and an estimated 365 million readers worldwide.  Because the site is community-managed, anyone can update entries.  Organizations are discouraged from editing their own entries, as it is considered a conflict of interest.

YouTube (http://www.youtube.com):  A site that promotes online video-sharing and allows users to create their own channel, post videos they have created, and subscribe to other channels.  In 2013, YouTube rolled out a redesign, called “One Channel,” which allows users to upload a banner image and choose a trailer, and provides a similar experience across devices, such as computers, tablets, and smartphones.  You can visit and subscribe to Recovery Month’s channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/recoverymonth) and SAMHSA’s channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/SAMHSA) for regular updates.  All Recovery Month videos are freely available for public use without permission from, or charge by, HHS and SAMHSA. Below are some terms related to YouTube to help navigate the site:

  • Discussion:  The discussion tab allows users to start various conversations with their subscribers.
  • Featured Channels:  An optional section of the channel that allows users to feature other channels that are similar or have a shared cause.
  • Feed:  The feed allows users to view either “My Subscriptions,” which includes videos only from channels the user has subscribed to or  “What to Watch,” which includes videos recently posted by the channels they are subscribed to as well as YouTube suggestions for interesting and relevant video content based on the users’ recent searches or interests.
  • Playlists:  An organized collection of a Channel’s uploaded videos and videos from other YouTube users.  Playlists can be used to organize related videos, put together a sequence of videos, or to share lists with others.
  • Subscription:  YouTube encourages users to subscribe to other channels that they enjoy.  Channels run by organizations often follow other organizations or individuals that promote a similar cause.
  • Tabs:  Tabs include home, videos, discussion, and about. Users have the option to create additional custom tabs.
  • Tag:  A word used to describe a video to help other users find a video when they search the site.
  • Videos:  The place where viewers can watch all of a channel’s uploaded videos.  Choose to sort the videos by date or popularity.

Inclusion of websites and other resources mentioned in this document and on the Recovery Month website does not constitute official endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.



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