Social Media Terms

Social media is a fast-growing, ever-changing industry, and it can be a challenge for those in the know to keep up with the ever-evolving lingo and social media terms. Every industry has its own language, and here are some of the basic terms and definitions of social media:

Social Media Terms

Avatar – An image that represents a user online. Most brands use their company logo as their avatar. See NPR’s Twitter avatar or Dr Pepper’s Facebook avatar.

Bitly – A free service to shorten URLs, making them easier to share on social media platforms. Here’s Whole Foods using a Bitly in their recent tweet.

Blog – This is a “Web Log” that individuals or companies use to share commentary, such as updates, graphics, or videos. Zappos has an active company blog.

Bookmarking – The process of saving a URL in order to access it at a later date. There are different bookmarking platforms, but Google also offers a spot to bookmark sites.

Hashtag – A tag used to categorize and organize comments on Twitter. Always preceded by the pound symbol “#.” Starbucks asks users to tag Instagram photos with the hashtag #starbucks, and they use a lot of different hashtags in their Twitter feed.  Here’s one they use often #ExtraShotOfGood.

Infographic – A graphic with information and data shared easily through social media sites. Here’s an example of How to Create an Infographic from Mashable

Klout – A social media analytics service that gives you a score based on how involved and influential you are in the social media world. Check out these Top social media influencers klout scores.

Like – A way to show approval on Facebook. You actually click a “Like” button. You can “like” a brand, which allows you to receive their status updates in your news feed, or you can just like a specific status update. Here you can choose to “like” Disney World’s page or “like” this status.

Links – A hyperlink, a way to connect directly to another web page, accessible by one easy click. This blog post is full of links to other sites, but here’s a link to the Splash Media YouTube channel, just for emphasis.

Link building – A search engine optimization (SEO) tactic where you strategically link to other sites (usually blogs) to increase your own site’s search engine ranking.

Meme – A thought, idea, joke, or concept that is shared online through social media sites. It’s typically an image with text, but can also be a video. The Grumpy Cat meme won Meme of the Year at the 17th Annual Webby Awards.

Microblogging – Content sharing platforms that restrict the amount of data that you can share. Twitter is considered a microblogging platform, as is Tumblr.

Permalink – The specific URL to a web page or blog post. The links within this blog post are all permalinks to specific pages.

Podcast – An episodic series of audio radio, video, PDF, or ePub files subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device. I get most of the podcasts I listen to from iTunes.

RSS Feed – “Really Simple Syndication” is a format used to easily share frequently updated content, such as news sites, blog posts and videos. Here’s a link to the Splash Media blog feed, where you can subscribe and receive our blog updates through email.

Sentiment – The attitude of user comments related to a brand online. Amy’s Baking Company has recently received extremely negative sentiment from Facebook users for their alleged bad customer service. (read through the comments to see what I’m talking about)

SEO – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a website from search engines via unpaid or organic search traffic. Google defines SEO.

Skype – A service that allows for text, audio, and video chats between users. If you haven’t “skyped” someone, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Tag – Is a term assigned to a piece of information so that you can describe the information and find it again. (Commonly used in blogging) At the bottom of this blog post by The Pioneer Woman, you can see she has used the tags “dogs” and “random critters.”

Traffic – Is the amount of data sent and received by visitors to a web page. Most websites monitor how many visitors they receive and how many pages are viewed. Google Analytics is a good tool to measure your web traffic.

Tweeps – A nickname referring to Twitter Followers.

Tweet – A message sent through Twitter that is no longer than 140-characters. Surprisingly, you can say a lot with very few words. Here’s an award-winning tweet from the Mars Curiosity Team.


This glossary of terms just touches a small portion of social media terms, but they are some of the most critical.  Did we miss any? Are there any social media terms out there that you don’t understand?


Posted on May 24, 2013 in Front Page, Social Media

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