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Social Media is huge – there’s no doubting that. It’s importance has been stressed to you time and time again. So finally you decide to take the leap and embrace this “new” tool. One problem: Social Media has it’s own language – one that at times sounds completely foreign. How can you possibly use these tools if you don’t speak Social Media? That is why I have put together a Social Media glossary, a starter’s kit of sorts, to help you understand basic Social Media terms.

Social Media Logos

Avatars are graphical representations of a user’s self or alter ego. Avatars can be used in blogs, forums and popular in online gaming.
See also “Blogs“.

Blogs are frequently updated online journals that often appear in chronological order.

The blogosphere is the total “atmosphere” in which all blogs and bloggers are found.
See also “Blogs“.

Digg is a Social Media site where people discover, share and recommend content from anywhere on the web through links and stories. Content is then voted and commented on by other users. Highly voted content is referred to as digging and poorly voted content is known as burying. The most popular (or most Dugg) stories appear on the homepage.

Undoubtedly the most popular Social Media site with over 500 million active users, Facebook allows users to connect with friends, send messages, post videos and pictures, create events and much more.

Flickr is a Social Media site that specializes in photo and video sharing. It is very popular among photographers and is often used as an outlet for bloggers to post their images and videos.
See also “Blogs”.

Most Social Media sites, such as Facebook, allow users to become friends with others. By becoming friends, users can view their friends’ content, profiles, and activity. Other social media sites use different terminology for this feature. LinkedIn for example calls them “Connections” while Twitter refers to them as “Followers”.
See also “Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter”.

Hashtags are used by putting a hashmark(#) in front of a word to tag it as a keyword. Hashtags are often used to search specific topics discussed in Tweets on Twitter.
See also “Tags, Tweets, Twitter”.

LinkedIn is a professional social networking site that basically acts as an online resume allowing users to post past and current work experience, education credentials and even personal recommendations from other LinkedIn users.

A Lurker is someone who reads Social Media content but rarely participates or contributes. It is estimated that lurkers make up over 90% of online groups. Lurking often occurs due to a lack of online trust.


Microblogging are basically really short blog posts. Tweets on Twitter are often used as examples of microblogging.
See also “Blogs, Tweets, Twitter”.


Facebook allows users to join networks. Networks are broad social groupings such as cities, workplaces, schools and regions. For example, I am a member of the Bishop’s University and Ottawa, Ontario networks on Facebook.
See also “Facebook”.

Podcasts are audio or video files that can be downloaded automatically through a subscription to a website so you can view or listen offline. Podcasts were made popular by the iTunes Store which offers a variety of podcasts from radio programs, to stand up comedy to full-length movies.


Most Social Media sites allow users to create their own personal profile. These profiles often provide personal information such as name, age, occupation, education, interests, etc. Profiles also often feature a profile picture that can be posted by the user.


A Retweet occurs when somebody copies a Tweet from someone in their network and shares it with their network. Retweeting causes important and valuable information to be spread into other various networks. This phenomenon represents the most viral aspect of Twitter.
See also “Tweets, Twitter”.

RSS Feeds
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. These feeds allows users to subscribe to content on blogs and other Social Media sites and have it delivered to you through a feed without actually visiting the site.
See also “Blogs”.

Tags can have many meanings in Social Media. Often times they are simply keywords selected by the creator attached to an item such as a blog post to help readers search and sort through the content. On Facebook however, tags are used to indicate individuals in pictures, videos and notes. Twitter often uses Hashtags to identify keywords.
See also “Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Hashtags“.

Tweets are short, 140-character answers to the question “What are you doing” asked by Twitter, a popular Social Media site.. These responses can be viewed on an individual’s home page, as well as by all of their followers. Tweets can be answered via the web, instant messaging or text messaging, making it very easy for subscribers to use.
See also “Twitter”.

Twitter is a free online social networking site that allows users to connect with one another and communicate using real-time short messages, known as Tweets.
See also “Tweets”.

Vimeo is a video-driven Social Media site that allows embedding, sharing, video storage, and user-commenting on each video page. As opposed to YouTube, Vimeo caters to a higher-end, more artistic crowd with a higher bitrate, resolution and HD support and does not allow any obscene videos or commercials
See also “YouTube”.

Viral Video
A viral video is an online video clip that gains widespread popularity through a variety of Social Media outlets such as Facebook, Vimeo, YouTube and blogs. Viral videos are often referred to as word of mouth marketing as their popularity is often determined by the audience spreading the information to others.
See also “Facebook, Vimeo, YouTube, Blogs”.

Vlog is a term used to describe a video blog. Unlike normal blogs which are generally text based, vlogs complete the same goal in video format.
See also “Blogs”.

A Wiki is a website that easily allows creation and editing of content on a series of inter-linked web pages. Wikipedia, a popular online encyclopedia created by tens of thousands of worldwide users, is probably the most well known wiki.

is a free online Social Media site that allows users to upload and share videos with other user.

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