Your Essential Guide to Social Media Terminology

Last modified:
Stephanie Williams

Content Team Manager


(image: Elias Bizannes under CC BY-SA 2.0)

Do you find yourself frequently looking up social media definitions and Googling what the experts say? Not to worry. If you’re a social media novice or just looking to beef up your knowledge of the latest terminology, we have you covered. Here is your essential guide to social media terminology:


AddThis – AddThis is a social tool that allows you to guide traffic to your social media pages from your website through social media shares. It can help you to grow, track and optimise your social pages with analytics data. This is a great tool if you want to know when people are using your pages and how often.

Avatar – An avatar is an image, or an icon, which represents an individual online. This is usually paired with a username.


Bitly – Some social media sites will restrict the length of a post, so to keep your character count down use Bitly to condense and shorten your URLs.

BoardReader – If you want to know what your target audience really want to read about, why not look at forums and noticeboards? And don’t worry you won’t have to trawl through them for hours. Search for mentioned keywords using BoardReader!



Call to Action (CTA) – Tells your readers where to go – literally. All call to actions should tell a reader where they can find out more and provide vital information, such as a link or contact details.

Chat – This can refer to any online communication, but is usually used to refer to private instant messaging.

Circles – Circles are a component of Google+, that group together other users that you have connected with. You can choose to categorise these in a number of different ways, such as by colleagues, customers, or friends. You can then share your posts with a specific group if you wish.


(image: Jeffrey Lapin)

Comments – A comment is a message posted in reply to a post on Facebook or other social media sites.

Connections – A connection is the term given to a person a user has befriended on LinkedIn. These are called connections rather than ‘friends’ as this is a professional networking platform.

Creative Commons – Looking for that perfect picture to accompany your latest blog post or tweet? Then search through Creative Commons. This provides free licensed images to be shared and/or edited by the general public.




Facebook – The most popular social media network in the world. Facebook has 1.23billion monthly users, 945million mobile users, and 757million daily users. It connects people with ‘friends’ allowing them to share messages both publically and privately, post photos and videos, as well as play games.


(image: Simon under CC0 1.0)

Flash Mob – A flash mob is a group of people who perform an unexpected yet pre-planned dance number in a public space. The participants then disperse quickly and go on their way. Flash mobs are often filmed and posted on social media for advertising or marketing purposes.

Flickr – Is a social media community that inspires the sharing of photography. It allows users to store and view photos, as well as discuss the images.

Forums – A forum is an online message board, which creates discussion. Someone will post a question and then any other user can reply with an answer.

Followers – This is Twitter’s version of friends. A follower is a person who subscribes to and follows your tweets.

Follow Friday #FF – This is a hashtag that is only used on a Friday. This hashtag is a way of recommending another twitter user, whether this be a friend, colleague or company.

Friends – Like in real, everyday life, friends are people you connect with – on Facebook.


Google+ – This is Google’s answer to social networking. Google+ is described as a social layer that is not only a networking site, but combines a number of different Google features under one umbrella. It can also provide online authorship for web content posted on blogs.


Hangouts – This is a video service provided by Google+. It allows a user to video chat with a number of different people at the same time, and share documents while chatting.

Hashtags – A hashtag is this symbol ‘#’. When placed in front of a term or phrase it providers users the ability to group and track its usage. Hashtags are a handy way of finding what topics are most spoken about on Twitter.

HootSuite – This is a social media management system. HootSuite allows users to control what they post across a number of social media sites from one page. Interaction is then reported through HootSuite and results can be tracked.


Instagram – Instagram is a popular photo sharing application for mobile users. Photos can be taken, edited and then shared among users on the network. Instagram can also be linked to Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms. It is however only available on Apple devices.


(image: Zenspa1 under CC BY 2.0 and Mackey Saturday)

Instant Messaging – Instant messaging, or IM, is an online way of conversing privately in real-time.




Klout – Klout measures a user’s social influences and scores it with a numerical value between 1 and 100. The higher your score, the more influential you are on social media networks.



Like – This is a quick action on Facebook which allows a user to show their interest or approval without having to write a comment.

LinkedIn – Social networking isn’t only for your social life, LinkedIn is used professionally to help network and maybe even find you a job.



Meme – A meme is an image overlaid with text to show humour or a thought.



News Feed – This can also be known as a ‘timeline’. A news feed is used as a homepage on Facebook. It combines all of the latest updates from friends in one place for easy viewing.




Pinterest – Pinterest is an online pin board where users can group together, select or ‘pin’ pictures to boards. Pinterest is used by millions as a place to find inspiration or aesthetically pleasing imagery.




Reddit – Reddit is an entertainment based social networking platform that allows users to upload and share content to a registered community. This is usually funny images, videos or memes.

Retweet – This is a re-share of another person’s tweet. Retweeting will share the message with your followers and attribute it to the original Twitter user.



Sendible – Sendible is a powerful social networking tool used by businesses. Like HootSuite it collates all your user accounts, allowing you to post and track from one place.

SlideShare – An online network which enables the sharing of presentations and documents virtually.

Social Media Monitoring – This refers to the checking and responding to messages received on social media accounts.



Tag Cloud – A visual depiction of the keywords used within written content.


Throwback Thursday – A hashtag used on a Thursday, alongside a nostalgic photo or message that looks back on past events.

Timeline – This can refer to two things.

(1) See ‘News Feed’

(2) The latest style of personal Facebook page, which displays posts chronologically.

Trending – This is the term given to the terms or topics which are most spoken about on Twitter. These ‘trending’ items can be looked at globally or nationally to see what users are interested in.

Tweet – A 140 character message posted on Twitter. This may also contain photos, videos or links to web content.

Twitter – Twitter is the second most popular social media networking site, and uses microblogging for users to send ‘tweets’ to other followers.



Username – This is a pseudonym or screen name that users are required to create when setting up a social media account. It is the name by which you will be referred to while online.

Did we miss any terms out? Then tweet us your terms or phrases, and we’ll define them for you!

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Stephanie Williams

Content Team Manager

After impressing Liberty on a work experience placement during her final year of university back in 2013, Steph was offered a role as a Junior Copywriter and joined the team after graduation. Since then, her hard work has seen her promoted multiple times to her current position leading the content team. She has a degree…

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