Savvy Computing
Learning the Lingo of the Electronic Age

July 2003
by Reid Goldsborough

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As if the world of computers and the Internet isn’t difficult enough, it also comes with its own vocabulary. Just as with any other field, you can’t walk the walk unless you talk the talk.
Acronyms, jargon, and buzzwords serve several purposes. They condense complicated concepts into shorthand words and phrases, saving time. They help separate the insiders from the outsiders. And they can confuse the heck out of you!
If you’re a “newbie” and want to become a “digerati,” you’ve got to learn the lingo. Fortunately, help can be either a click or an arm’s length away.

The Most Important Tech Terms

NetLingo is both a website ( and a just-published 528-page book. Created by Erin Jansen and Vincent James, both resources provide definitions of more than 3,000 modern technology terms, including 1,200 SMS (“short message service”) acronyms.
Jansen has been around the cyberblock a few times. She’s been an Internet consultant since 1994, building and promoting websites for clients in the U.S., Great Britain, Germany, and France. Among the sites she’s worked with are CNET,, and
I asked Jansen what she regards as the most important terms to know in the Information Age. Here’s what she came up with:
E-mail is the “killer app” of the Internet, the single most widely used and indispensable tool. Its nemesis is “spam&quo…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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