Social Media Lingo – Talking the talk!

Social Media Lingo – Talking the talk!


An effective communicator knows that to convey the right message, using the appropriate vocabulary is crucial.  The revolutionary Web 2.0 platforms have introduced new expressions and understanding the new buzz words is of paramount importance. Here are a few definitions that can help you sound like you’re in the know:

Avatars are graphical images representing people. They are what you are in virtual worlds. You can build a visual character with the body, clothes, behaviours, gender and name of your choice.

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.

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.

Friends/Followers/Fan, on social networking sites, are contacts whose profile you link to in your profile. On some sites people have to accept the link, in others, not. 

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. Email lists and forums sit easily with bounded groups, blogs with networks – although the match with tools is not entirely clear-cut. A group may use a blog, and an email list may serve a network. 

Invite friends or potential clients. An invitation is sent via email to contacts encouraging them to follow you on a social platform.

Like icon is often found on social media platforms which people click on to show that they “like” an article, a comment or post. When the icon is clicked, an avatar of the commenter is often displayed.

Netiquette: The virtual dos and don’ts on social media mediums.

Plugins (features or links) are applications that are added to websites, blogs etc. with the goal to expand and reach new friends/followers.

Post is an item (picture or video) or a comment on a blog or forum.

Profile is 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.

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of building a website and creating content in such a way that search engines will rank the web page(s) higher in their listings.

Social Bookmarking is similar to web browser bookmarks, social bookmarking stores individual pages online and allows you to ‘tag’ them. For people who like to frequently bookmark web pages, this can provide an easier way to organize the bookmarks.

Social media is a term 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 socialise with others using a range of social media tools including blogs, video, images, tagging, lists of friends, forums and messaging.

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.

Twitter / Tweet. Twitter is a micro-blogging service that allows people to type in short messages of 140 characters or status updates that can be read by people following them. An individual message or status update is often referred to as a ‘tweet’.

Wall is a feature found on everyone’s profile page, fan page or group page. This is where visitors can leave a message for everyone to see.

Web 2.0. generally refers to the use of the web as a more social platform where users participate by generating their own content alongside the content provided by the websites.

Widgets* are stand-alone applications you can embed in other applications, like a website or a desktop, or view on its own on a PDA. These may help you to do things like subscribe to a feed, do a specialist search, or even make a donation.

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