A Glossary of Social Media Terminology

By: Viveka Monday November 22, 2010 comments Tags: Social Media

I want to be very clear - almost none of the following article is my own content - but I have included the links to my sources!

Social Media Terminology

Twitter Terminology:

Source (via Sisley-Blinn’s Blog)

  • TwitterStream:  A collection of tweets; usually refers to the stream of tweets sent by everyone that you follow but may refer to the public timeline of all tweets.

  • Follower: Someone who sees your tweets in their TweetStream.

  • @reply / @name:  A form of conversation on Twitter. @username either directs a Tweet to someone or indicates a reply to a Tweet that person has sent. @replies can be viewed in the “replies” tab on the Twitter website

  • DM: A private (direct) tweet. Direct tweets do not appear in the public tweetstream.

  • RT or Retweet:  Analogous to forwarding an email; re-sending a tweet sent by someone else. Courtesy: include the @username of the person who authored the tweet.

  • # hashtag”:  this is a way to group tweets by keyword. It is particularly useful for events and groups.

  • Favorite:  A “bookmarked” tweet. A great place to store testimonials

LinkedIn Terminology

Source:  http://linkedin.com

  • Connections are people you invite, or people who have invited you. They in turn are connected to other people, and those people to still more.

  • Your network is the group of users you can contact through your connections, and those users who are more than three degrees away from you but are willing to be contacted without referral.  It also includes  members of groups  you share.

  • A request is a request for contact sent by one user to another, describing a possible project or opportunity.

  • Your profile is your “public face” — it's what other users see when they find you through a search.

  • A recommendation is a short comment, written by one connection for another, about work the two shared in a particular position. The recommendation is visible to all users who can see the endorsee’s profile.

Facebook Terminology:

Source: http://www.howdoifacebook.com/glossary.htm

  • Ads:   An advertisement.  Users can create Facebook Ads to market their products and ideas.  Ads are not free.

  • Application:   Users can add applications to their profiles, pages, and groups.  There are dozens upon dozens of applications to choose from.  Some are built by Facebook.  Most are built by external developers.  Visit the Application Directory to learn more

  • Chat:   A feature that lets users talk with friends who are online in Facebook.

  • Event:  A calendar-based resource that users can add to their profiles, pages and groups that lets them share news about upcoming affairs or social gatherings.

  • Filters:  Used to separate friends into different categories. Create your own filters using Friend Lists. You can also filter by applications, like Photos.  Tour the new Facebook homepage to see the where Filters are used on the profile.

  • Friend: A person who has joined a profile, usually by invitation.

  • Friend Finder:  A Facebook utility that helps users find present and former friends, family, coworkers, schoolmates, and other acquaintances.  Visit Friend Finder to learn more.

  • Group:  A group is not a page or profile.  It is a Facebook site created by bands, companies and other organizations to promote their activities.

  • Inbox:   The Facebook mail application.  See Messages and Inbox at the Help Center to learn more.

  • Insights : Facebook's answer to web page analysis.  For each Facebook page, Insights tracks the number of page views, unique views, total interactions, wall posts, discussion topics, fans, new fans, removed fans, reviews, photo views, audio plays, and video plays.

  • Like : A  feature that appears as a link next to something you see on Facebook that allows users to let others know they appreciate that something, whether it be a video, a comment or something else.

  • Member: A person who has joined and participates with a group.

  • Mini Feed:  Similar to a news feed, but different.  A Mini Feed centers around one person. Each person's Mini Feed shows what has changed recently in their profile and what content (notes, photos, etc.) they've added.  Mini Feeds are sent automatically and posted to friends' profiles for all to see.

  • Network : A circle of friends and acquaintances that centers on a city, school, company, or military organization.

  • News Feed:  News Feeds highlight what's happening in your social circles on Facebook.  News Feeds are posted to profiles for all to see.

  • Notes:  Notes are like mini-blogs for your profile.  Visit

  • Page: A page is not a profile.  It may look like one, but it's not.  The features and capabilities are different.  It is a Facebook site intended for and created by artists, musical groups, celebrities, businesses, brands and similar entities (not individuals).  You can add pages to your profile to show your friends what you care about.  Only the official representative of an artist or business can create and make changes to a page.

  • Photos:  A Facebook application that lets users upload albums of photos, tag friends, and comment on photos.

  • Poke:  A poke is a way to interact with your friends on Facebook.  It allows one user to virtually poke another.  Some consider it flirting.

  • Profile:  A profile is not a page.  It may look like one, but it's not.  The features and capabilities are different.  It is a Facebook site intended for and created by people who want to share information about themselves and socialize with others.  A profile displays a user's personal information and their interactions with friends.  Each registered user may have only one profile.  See

  • Publisher:  Use publisher to Publish your status, photos, notes and more into the stream. Posts show up both in your profile, and on your friends' home pages.

  • RSS:   Really Simple Syndication.  Wikipedia defines it as a family of Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format.

  • Static FBM:   A Facebook application that lets users customize their pages using Facebook Markup Language (FBML).  See the Static FBML page for more information.

  • Status: A micro-blogging feature called which allows users to inform their friends of their current whereabouts, actions, or thoughts.

  • Stream :  The stream shows you posts from your friends in real-time.  This keeps you up to date on everything that's happening. You can control who appears here.

  • Tabs:  Tabs mark the different sections of a profile.  The Info tab displays basic information like Birthday and Hometown, as well as interests and activities. The Info tab also lists all Groups the user is a member of, and all the Pages the user is a Fan of.

  • Tag:   Marking a photo or video with text that identifies the image or the person in the image.  See

  • Updates:  News feeds sent to you from pages that you have joined.

  • Video: A Facebook application that lets users share videos on Facebook. Users can add their videos with the service by uploading video, adding video through Facebook Mobile, and using a web cam recording feature. Additionally, users can "tag" their friends in videos they add much like the way users can tag their friends in photos.

  • Wall:  A featured section inside a Facebook profile.   It's a space on every user's profile page that allows friends and users themselves to post messages for all to see.

Social Media Terms

Source:  http://socialmedia.wikispaces.com/ShortAZ

Authenticity is the sense that something or someone is “real”.

Blogs are websites with dated items of content in reverse chronological order, self-published by bloggers. Items – sometimes called posts - may have keyword tags associated with them, are usually available as feeds, and often allow commenting.

Bookmarking is saving the address of a website or item of content, either in your brower, or on a social bookmarking site like del.icio.us. If you add tags, others can easily use your research too

A browser is the tool used to view websites, and access all the content available there onscreen or by downloading. Browsers may also be used to upload or otherwise contribute content to a blog or other website.

Chat is interaction on a web site, with a number of people adding text items one after the other into the same space at (almost) the same time. A place for chat – chat room – differs from a forum because conversations happen in “real time”, rather as they do face to face.

Collaboration: social media tools from email lists to virtual worlds offer enormous scope for collaboration. Low-risk activities like commenting, social bookmarking, chatting and blogging help develop the trust necessary for collaboration.

Commitment: the “social” aspect of social media means that tools are most useful when other people commit to using them too. Commitment will depend on people’s degree of interest in a subject, capability online, preparedness to share with others, degree of comfort in a new place, as well as the usability of the site or tool.

Online communities are groups of people communicating mainly through the Internet. They may simply have a shared interest to talk about ... or more formally learn from each other and find solutions as a Community of Practice. Online communities may use email lists or forums, where content is centralised. Communities may also emerge from conversations around or between bloggers.

Content is used here to describe text, pictures, video and any other meaningful material that is on the Internet.

Conversation through blogging, commenting or contributing to forums is the currency of social networking.

Copyright: sharing through social media is enhanced by attaching a Creative Commons license specifying, for example, that content may be re-used with attribution, provided that a similar license is then attached by the new author.

Crowdsourcing refers to harnessing the skills and enthusiasm of those outside an organization who are prepared to volunteer their time contributing content and solving problems.

Culture: social media only works well in a culture of openness, where people are prepared to share. For that reason, commitment and attitude are as important as tools.

To download is to retrieve a file or other content from an Internet site to your computer or other device. See Upload.

Email lists, or groups, are important networking tools offering the facility to “starburst” a message from a central postbox to any number of subscribers, and for them to respond. Lists usually also offer a facility for reading and replying through a web page - so they can also operate like forums.

Face-to-face (f2f) is used to describe people meeting offline. While social media may reduce the need to meet, direct contact gives far more clues, quickly, about a person than you can get online. Online interaction is likely to be richer after f2f meetings.

Feeds are the means by which you can read, view or listen to items from blogs and other RSS-enabled sites without visiting the site, by subscribing and using an aggregator or newsreader. Feeds contain the content of an item and any associated tags without the design or structure of a web page.

Forums are discussion areas on websites, where people can post messages or comment on existing messages asynchronously – that is, independently of time or place time. Chat is the synchronous equivalent.

Groups are collections of individuals with some sense of unity through their activities, interests or values. They are bounded: you are in a group, or not. They differ in this from networks, which are dispersed, and defined by nodes and connections.
Instant messaging (IM) is chat with one other person.

Links are the highlighted text or images that, when clicked, jump you from one web page or item of content to another. Bloggers use links a lot when writing, to reference their own or other content.

Lurkers are people who read but don't contribute or add comments to forums. The one per cent rule-of-thumb suggests about one per cent of people contribute new content to an online community, another nine percent comment, and the rest lurk. However, this may not be a passive role because content read on forums may spark interaction elsewhere.

Membership involves belonging to a group. Networking can offer some of the benefits of group membership, without the need for as much central co-ordination. A rise in networking may present challenges for organizations who depend on membership for funds or to demonstrate their credibility.

Networks are structures defined by nodes and the connections between them. In social networks the nodes are people, and the connections are the relationships that they have. Networking is the process by which you develop and strengthen those relationships.

Online means being connected to the Internet, and also being there in the sense of reading or producing content.

Offline means not online, that is, not connected to the Internet. It may refer to an unconnected computer, or activities taking place without the benefit (or perhaps distraction) of a connection.

Openness is being prepared to share and collaborate – something aided by social media. Open source software - developed collaboratively with few constraints on its use - is a technical example. In order to be open online you may offer share-alike copyright licenses, and you may tag content and link generously to other people's content. This demonstrates open source thinking.

Peer to peer refers to direct interaction between two people in a network. In that network, each peer will be connected to other peers, opening the opportunity for further sharing and learning.

A platform is the framework or system within which tools work. That platform may be as broad as mobile telephony, or as narrow as a piece of software that has different modules like blogs, forums, and wikis in a suite of tools. As more and more tools operate "out there" on the web, rather than on your desktop, people refer to "the Internet as the platform.

A podcast is audio or video content that can be downloaded automatically through a subscription to a website so you can view or listen offline.

Profiles are the information that you provide about yourself when signing up for a social networking site. As well as a picture and basic information, this may include your personal and business interests, a "blurb" about yourself, and tags to help people search for like-minded people.

RSS is short for Really Simple Syndication. This allows you to subscribe to content on blogs and other social media and have it delivered to you through a feed.

Searching for information on the Net is done using a search engine, of which Google is the best known. Specialist search engines like Technorati concentrate on blogs. As well as searching by word or phrase you can search on tags, and so find content others have keyworded.

Sharing is offering other people the use of your text, images, video, bookmarks or other content by adding tags, and applying copyright licenses that encourage use of content.

Social media is a terms for the tools and platforms people use to publish, converse and share content online. The tools include blogs, wikis, podcasts, and sites to share photos and bookmarks.

Social networking sites are online places where users can create a profile for themselves, and then socialize with others using a range of social media tools including blogs, video, images, tagging, lists of friends, forums and messaging.

Stories, as well as conversations, are a strong theme in blogging. Anecdotes, bits of gossip and longer narratives work particularly well on blogs if they have a personal angle. It helps others get to know the blogger - and helps the blogger find and extend their voice.

Subscribing is the process of adding an RSS feed to your aggregator or newsreader. It's the online equivalent of signing up for a magazine, but usually free.

Tags are keywords attached to a blog post, bookmark, photo or other item of content so you and others can find them easily through searches and aggregation.

Terms of services are the basis on which you agree to use a forum or other web-based place for creating or sharing content. Check before agreeing what rights the site owners may claim over your content.

Threads are strands of conversation. On an email list or web forum they will be defined by messages that use the use the same subject. On blogs they are less clearly defined, but emerge through comments and trackbacks.

Tool is used here as shorthand for a software applications on your computer, and also for applications that are Web-based.

Trackback: some blogs provide a facility for other bloggers to leave a calling card automatically, instead of commenting. Blogger A may write on blog A about an item on blogger B's site, and through the trackback facility leave a link on B's site back to A. The collection of comments and trackbacks on a site facilitates conversations.

Transparency: Enhancing searching, sharing, self-publish and commenting across networks makes it easier to find out what's going on in any situation where there is online activity.

To upload is to transfer a file or other content from your computer to an Internet site.

User generated content is text, photos and other material produced by people who previously just consumed. See content.

Virtual worlds are online places like Second Life, where you can create a representation of yourself (an avatar) and socialize with other residents. Basic activity is free, but you can buy currency (using real money) in order to purchase land and trade with other residents. Second Life is being used by some voluntary organizations to run discussions, virtual events and fundraising.

Web 2.0 is a term coined by O'Reilly Media in 2004 to describe blogs, wikis, social networking sites and other Internet-based services that emphasize collaboration and sharing, rather than less interactive publishing (Web 1.0). It is associated with the idea of the Internet as platform.

A wiki is a web page - or set of pages - that can be edited collaboratively. The best known example is wikipedia, an encyclopedia created by thousands of contributors across the world. Once people have appropriate permissions - set by the wiki owner - they can create pages and/or add to and alter existing pages.

About the Author: Viveka

Viveka is author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day and is known internationally as the “LinkedIn Expert”.
CEO of Linked Into Business, she also hosts the biggest LinkedIn chat on Twitter.  Forbes has listed her as a top social media influencer for three years running, and she has been cited in Ragan, CNN, Forbes, Mashable, Simple Living, Bloomberg, LinkedIn's Small Business Site and "The Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to LinkedIn, The Miami Herald, Social Media Today and The Social Media Examiner!

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