The Top 25 Social Media Terms You Need To Know

Posted on November 29th 2011

New terms, phrases and acronyms are constantly emerging across social networks. Businesses trying to grow (or simply exist) online are drowning in digital jargon. While many glossaries attempt to help overwhelmed social media users, the long lists of vocabulary continue to grow! Take a deep breath and know the basics.  

Here are the top 25 social media terms you need to know:

1. Viral: Anything shared across social networks that get passed along rapidly. YouTube videos are a great example.

2. Platform: A system that manages content. For instance, Wordpress is a platform that manages a community of blogs.

3. Authenticity: Used to describe "real" people behind blog posts and other social profiles.

4. Influence: An individual's importance online is now measured by the Klout Score, a measurement of online influence.

5. B2B: Business to Business.  

6. B2C: Business to Consumer.

7. Hashtag: HubSpot defines a hashtag as a "word or string of characters that starts with a number sign." Identical hashtags are then grouped into a search thread.

8. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): The process of organizing your website to give it the best chance of appearing near the top of search engine rankings.

9. Transparency: Social media users expect to engage in considerate online conversations with individuals and businesses. We all aspire to be transparent, but are we?

10. Web 2.0: Refers to the second generation of the Web which means people now blog and create websites without needing specialized technical knowledge and training.

11. Synergy: Dare we simply say teamwork between companies online?

12. Trending: A word, phrase or topic that is popular on Twitter at a given moment.

13. e-Book: A book published in digital form.

14. Wiki: Simple web pages that can be edited by other users.

15. Blog: A site updated frequently by an individual or group to record opinions or information.

16. User-Generated-Content (UGC): An article describes UGC as being Latin for “crap” which is, quite frankly, well-put. UGC is anything published online by the Average Joe.

17. Tweeps: Twitter + People = Tweople.

18. Microblogging: Short message postings from a social media account. Facebook statuses and Twitter posts are two examples.

19. Algorithm: An "algo" is a system that suggests pages to search engines in response to a search query.

20. Widget: A widget is a small, attractive applications on a website such as a hit counter. Gizmos can make good link bait. Speaking of link bait...

21. Link bait: Designed to attract incoming links. News and widget hooks are good examples.

22. Meme: A means of taking viral concepts and making them everyday lingo. Check out "Know Your Meme."

23. Engage: If you are communicating to other social media users, you are engaging.

24. Traffic: Traffic, traffic, traffic. This refers to the visitors that visit a website and it's all we talk about these days. A bit of advice: You must decide if traffic to your site is really that important to your organization, or if engaging with a loyal customer matters more.

25. Tag: Indicates or labels what content is about.

What social media terms do you find difficult to understand? Do you have other words or acronyms that you think we should add to our list? We want to know.

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Posted on December 1st 2011 at 7:23PM

Don't forget, WOOT!

Posted on December 3rd 2011 at 1:07AM

It's not my intention to be rude, but I can't help wondering just how "self-serving" your Social Media "Dictionary" is meant to be.  Considering the fact that I do an extensive amount of networking, via social media sites, it's obvious to me that there are regional differences, not to mention cultural and national ones in play, on this subject. 

There IS no "American" Social Media "Dictionary", nor an "International" one, either.  What makes any of YOU the "experts" on this subject matter?  As a highly educated teacher, I always cast a skeptical eye at those who describe themselves as "dictionary experts", of ANY sort.

Languages, especially the cryptic, abbreviated versions used on Twitter, are incredibly fluid.  Thus, what the "MUST KNOW" words/symbols on Twitter are, for THIS year, might well be completely forgotten, by NEXT year!  As a teacher, what's troubling, to me, is how much time the younger generations spend "writing" in these rapidly changing, difficult to comprehend, formats.

My concerns are that they won't learn how to EFFECTIVELY communicate, in complete sentences, using traditional concepts of grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.  It takes MUCH more time, thought, effort, and energy, to string together complete sentences, paragraphs, papers, and books.  As humans tend to, generally, take "the path of least resistance", I can't help but wonder if the trade-off of speed, with Twitter, is negated by its many (mostly unexamined) downsides.

Your Social Move
Posted on December 5th 2011 at 3:50PM

We want to be clear that we are not self-proclaimed experts on the ever-changing world of social media dialect. We are, however, social media strategists that felt this list of basic terminology served as a good foundation for those not familiar with social media vocab. We agree with your concerns about the variance in geographical relevance and source credibility, and know that the lack of formality creates room for evolving interpretations. We hope that our promotion of social media vocab serves as a resource to social media beginners, without taking away from the importance of true face-to-face communication or proper grammar when it comes to writing!

Posted on December 5th 2011 at 3:14PM

#23 Engage - If you are actively listening to your customers and communicating relevant content to them, then you are engaging.

Posted on February 7th 2012 at 6:38PM

I would also mention Cloud (Computing). People may come across this in their scoial media activities. A good description can be found here:
Posted on November 30th 2012 at 9:15PM

Hello to all. Really enjoying this forum - wanted to suggest that just as most other major sectors of science both in the universal & virtual tech world tend to name scientific terms with the word SPHERE behind it, such as atmosphere, biosphere, stratosphere, blogosphere, infosphere etc. that social networking/social media should be refered to as the SociaSphere.