PDF (Portable Document Format): A “frozen” version of a document that will display in the same way on any computer. If it is a PDF of a journal article, it usually looks exactly like the text version (it may have been scanned).

Plug-In: A feature(s) that can be added to a program to enhance its capability.

Podcasting: An audio program (sometimes with video as well) that can be downloaded to a portable MP3 player. Types of podcasts may include language lessons, news broadcasts, speeches, or even class lectures. 

Pwned: A play off of the phrase “being owned”; used in chatting and gaming to mean that the recipient has been defeated in some way, perhaps in a game or a discussion; synonymous with “you’ve just been humiliated.” 


QFT (Quoted for Truth): An acronym used in forums, amended to replies made using the quote function, to reinforce the opinion of the quoted post.


Retweet – To broadcast someone else’s Tweet to all of your Twitter followers, along with the acknowledgment to the original user.

Rickrolling: The deceptive use of a contextual link to redirect a user to an unrelated music video. Rickrolling is named after 80s pop singer Rick Astley, whose music videos “Never Gonna Give You Up” and “Together Forever” remain popular examples. Alternately, posting text of lyrics to Rick Astley songs is also considered rickrolling.

ROFL: Rolling On the Floor Laughing–an acronym often used in instant messaging or other chatting. Variation: ROTFLMAO.

RSS Readers: An RSS (Real Simple Syndication) Reader delivers syndicated content from various feeds, including news updates, blog and website activity, and events. Essentially, the RSS Reader summarizes and organizes what can often seem like an overwhelming amount of information available on the Web, into a manageable stream of information in one location. With the use of a Reader, users no longer need to check each blog, profile, or favorite news source to discover the latest status. Most importantly, the Reader updates new content automatically as soon as it is available.


Screenshot: A picture of what is currently on one’s computer screen; obtained by using the “print screen” key on one’s keyboard or (for Mac users) by using Snag It.

Skype: A communication software that allows users to message one another via instant messenger, or speak on the phone as well as chat via webcam. It allows for easy sharing of files and allows to share computer screens.

Slashdot Effect/Slashdotting: The phenomenon of a site with a large following linking to a small site, causing an upsurge in the traffic to that small site that triggers automatic shutdown due to exceeding of bandwidth limitations. It is named after Slashdot, a popular online technical discussion community.

Social Bookmarking: The act of saving multiple bookmarked links to a main web page that can be accessed by public users for the purpose of sharing and saving these links.

Social Software: Networking that allows people to share data such as pictures, blogs, or information; e.g., MySpace and Facebook.

Software: The data and material that direct a computer’s hardware to perform certain functions.

Spyware: Software that affects a computer by secretly acquiring information about the computer and the computer’s users, thereby invading privacy and obtaining and conveying personal information.

Spam: Unrequested email that is sent to multiple users. Also known as “junk mail” because they are usually advertisements, these emails can overload mailboxes and files. Similarly, “spamming” is sending unrequested commercial emails to multiple users.

Start Menu: Opened by using the “Start” button on the bottom left of a Windows interface–helps users access a list of programs to open.

Streaming: A term used to describe a method used to deliver content (usually video) over the web that is faster than preloading the entire file. It loads and plays at the same time, thus “streaming.”

Synchronous: Synchronous communication takes place literally at the same time; it might include internet chatting or telephone conversations.