Social media terminology

Linda Barclay Isles
Monday 8 January 2024

Social media is full of unique terminology that can be confusing to those unfamiliar with them. The list below outlines the key terms you will come to know through using Twitter in particular.

Bio: short for biography, is the small portion of your online profile that explains to new or potential followers who you are.

DM (direct message): A private message sent to one of your followers. Direct messages can only be sent to a Twitter user who is already following you, and you can only receive direct messages from users you follow.

Handle: Another way of saying your account name – @joebloggs is an example.

Hashtag: The hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by the “#” sign. #Hashtags are a simple way to mark the topic (or topics) of social media messages and make them discoverable to people with shared interests.

Filter: A photographic effect that can be applied to enhance images on social media, such as offering a vintage look, black and white, sepia, altering saturation levels, or countless other visual modifications.

Follower: A Twitter user who has subscribed to your Twitter account so they can receive your Tweets in their Home feed. If you want to send them a direct message, you need to follow them back.

Geofilter: Special overlays for Snapchat users that reflect the geographic location they are in. Geofilters have also been created by branded partners as well as Snapchat users themselves.

Gif: Acronym for Graphics Interchange Format, which refers to a file format that supports both static and animated images.

Like: to like something on social media is a Facebook invention that’s evolved into an understood expression of support for content.

Meme: An idea, fashion, or behavior that is transmitted from person to person through media, speech, gestures, and other forms of communication.

Mention: The act of tagging another user’s handle or account name in a social media message.

Pinned tweet: A Tweet that has been pinned to the top a Twitter profile page. Pinning a Tweet is a great way to feature an important announcement or one of your greatest hits.

Retweet (RT): A Tweet that is re-shared to the followers of another user’s Twitter account.

Share: When content is reposted on a social media site through another user’s channel.

Story: A feature on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat that allows users to post a replayable image/video  for up to 24 hours in the “Our Story” section

Tag: the act of tagging someone in a post, which creates a link to their social media profile and associates them with the content.

Thread: A strand of messages which represent a conversation or part of a conversation. Threads are essential to most forms of online communication, including social media, web forums, and email.

Throwback Thursday (TBT): A weekly social media tradition in which people post either a really old photograph of themselves or a saved photo they took more recently but want to share

Trending: A topic or hashtag that is popular on social media at a given moment. Trends are highlighted by social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to encourage discussion and engagement among their users.

Troll: A social media user who makes a deliberately offensive or annoying postings with the sole aim of provoking another user or group of users

Verified account: An account is verified authentic, at the discretion of the social media provider. This is usually reserved for brands and public figures as a way of preventing fraud and protecting the integrity of the person or company behind the account.

Check out Hootsuite’s full glossary of social media terms.

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