A Guide to the Blogosphere Jargon.

A primer from Business Week on geek speak and the language of the blogosphere.

Blogging: A Primer

This 15th-century German devised technology to manufacture books. Gutenberg failed as a businessman and died poor. Yet his printing press, involving movable type, gave birth to mass media — a world in which a handful of publishers can reach audiences of millions. That model is under threat today.

Posting to a blog on the go, from a camera phone or handheld device. These postings can be random or tied to news, such as pictures of the iPod Shuffle when it was launched at Apple Computer’s MacWorld, or the birth of a baby.

Video blogging, where individuals and companies post video diaries online, began to take off last year. The trend is spurring the revival of online video distribution, the use of vlogs to sell ads, and the designing of corporate blog sites. Microsoft’s Channel 9 video blog, set up in April, helps the company communicate directly with its all-important developer community.

The nascent technology allows individuals to create their own radio shows and deliver them automatically over the Web. They can be played on computers or any mobile devices, such as the iPod (hence the name). Although they were created by bloggers and propagated by the blogosphere, the Establishment is jumping in. In April, Paris Hilton announced she would do podcasts promoting her new movie, House of Wax.

Really Simple Syndication is a snappy way to track blogs. Individuals sign up to have updates sent automatically to their computers, making it convenient to follow blogs. Around 6 million people, or 5% of the U.S. online audience, use RSS, according to a Pew survey. Companies such as Yahoo! and Associated Press are adopting RSS to keep audiences loyal and to attract new users.

An expression used when someone loses a job because of blogging. This happened to flight attendant Ellen Simonetti at Delta Air Lines. Firings can occur when a company finds an employee’s post questionable or too revealing about sensitive data. Where does the name come from? Heather Armstrong, who lost her job because her Web site, dooce.com, included stinging satire of her former employer.

Eyewitness or investigative reporting by a blogger adds new insight to events not covered by traditional media. Examples: Early personal accounts of the tsunami in December or digging into the authenticity of memos used by CBS’s Dan Rather in his report on President Bush’s National Guard duty.

Any publication, radio station, or TV news channel that doesn’t recognize the power shift created by the blogosphere and doesn’t adopt blogging. The MSM are derided by bloggers for lecturing and adhering to what they call false objectivity.

Fake blogs created by corporate marketing departments to promote a service, product, or brand. The flog’s writer often uses a fake name. Derided by bloggers, fake blogs are an increasing trend. McDonald’s created a flog to accompany its Super Bowl ad about the mock discovery of a french fry shaped like Lincoln, while Captain Morgan created a fake blog in March for its Rum drinks.

This nonprofit has devised a copyright system that allows creators to be more flexible in allowing others to use their works. This is important in the grassroots blogging world, since it encourages people to publish video, podcasts, and photos online that others can add to their blogs. Online photo service Flickr, co-founded by Caterina Fake, encourages subscribers to share photos using the Creative Commons licenses.

Unlike bloggers who simply put a banner ad on their site, paid bloggers write about a product or issue. This has created controversy about whether bloggers need to disclose that they are being paid and whether the practice damages their credibility. Upstart Marqui paid 20 bloggers $800 a month for three months to promote its Web marketing services, while Republicans and Democrats paid three bloggers during the recent elections.

Blogs devoted to extremely niche topics. When Lockhart Steele started a blog chronicling restaurant openings and new building construction in his rapidly changing neighborhood on New York’s Lower East Side, he quickly found an audience — and advertisers, including the New York Times real estate section.