Jargon busting-the a to z of new media

E: For some it is a harmless recreational pastime; for some it is a mind-expanding experience; for some it is a dangerous hallucinogenic that has swept the country dulling minds, creating obsessions and undermining traditional hierarchies; for some it is a costly craze, and for others a goldmine. Undoubtedly, E or e has become a fact of life in the UK, Europe and across the world. The common wisdom is that no one raising a fledgling business can ignore its impact or the fact that their prodigy will be experimenting with it. The depth of the obsession is shown by the growing tribe of e-counsellors and e-consultants willing to advise on dealing with its pervasive influence.

Environment: A term like “community” that is attached to websites in an effort to convince users, or more usually backers, that the site has built a relationship with its audience. A continuation of the dominant spatial metaphors used to describe networks.

Epoc: The operating system of the Psion computing platform and increasingly on mobile devices.

Electronic Frontier Foundation: An organisation seeking to keep the internet, in its increasingly disparate forms, free of national and international regulation.

Email: Still the “killer ap” as far as the internet is concerned. Further proof, if any is needed, that the networked e-conomy is built on relationships and communication, not on broadcasting or even narrowcasting.

Emoticon: Ascii characters used to add feeling or emotion to a plain text email message. Eg “; )” – try turning the page on its side.

Ethernet: Local area network (Lan) technology used to connect computers and servers within an organisation.

Euro: Potentially a universal currency that could spell the end of complicated systems designed to enable transactional sites to function in multiple currencies. Then again, maybe not.

Expert system: Computer-based system designed to capture particular (usually low-level) expertise and automate access to it. Increasingly used by firms for initial stages of casework. As artificial intelligence (AI) systems become more flexible and capable of evolution, expert systems could take on more of the work plotting various options similar to the way a chess programme works through permutations.

Extranet: A private network that uses internet protocols and the telecommunications systems to allow communication. Can be seen as part of a company’s intranet in that it is only accessible to company staff.

Eye candy: Visual elements intended to enhance the basic content of a presentation or a website. Often used as a term of abuse.