Social Media Glossary: Definitions of the Most Popular Terms and Sites

Computer keyboard with social media keys
Image Credit: ©Depositphotos/marphotography

Here you will find an alphabetical list of some of the most important elements in social media with short explanations and a link to the appropriate website or an explanatory web page.  If you feel an important item has been missed you are encouraged to add what is missing in the comments.  Social media grow rapidly or, if not, often die so changes to such a list can be expected.

  1. #FF is a very popular hashtag encouraging others to watch for Follow Friday items.
  2. AddThis – is a social bookmarking service that provides a code users can put on their websites so that when people visit that site, they have the option to share via Facebook, Twitter, etc. Its analytics service can show you which pages are trending, where people are interacting with your brand, and what they’re saying about your content on Twitter.
  3. BackType  – was a social media analytics company that helped companies measure their social engagement. It was acquired by Twitter.
  4. Bitly  –  is a free URL shortening service that provides statistics for the links users share online. Bitly is popularly used to condense long URLs to make them easier to share on social networks such as Twitter.
  5. Blip.TV  – Blip.TV is an online video sharing site that provides a free and paid platform for individuals and companies who host an online video show.
  6. Brightkite: was a location-based social media platform, which is no longer active.
  7. Chat – Chat can refer to any kind of communication over the internet but traditionally refers to one-to-one communication through a text-based chat application commonly referred to as instant messaging applications.
  8. Circles – Circles are clusters of a user’s friends on Google+, meaning you can group certain people you choose to connect with on your Google+ into a certain Circle–such as colleagues, college connections, family, etc. When you want to share content with only these individuals, you include that specific Circle in your post’s sharing options.
  9. Connections – The LinkedIn equivalent of a Facebook ‘friend’ is a ‘connection.’ Because LinkedIn is a social networking site, the people you are connecting with are not necessarily people you are friends with, but rather you met in brief, heard speak, or know through another connection.
  10. content  is information and experiences that may provide value for an end-user/audience in specific contexts
  11. crowdfunding  (alternately crowd financing, equity crowdfunding, crowd-sourced fundraising) is the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their
  12. Crowdsourcing  – a term used to harness knowledge and skills of a group of people to solve a problem or contribute content
  13. Cyberbullying  : willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices
  14. Digg  – Digg is a social news website that allows members to submit and vote for articles. Articles with the most votes appear on the homepage of the site and subsequently are seen by the largest portion of the site’s membership, as well as other visitors.
  15. Facebook  – Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study, and live around them. Facebook is the largest social network in the world with more than 800 million users.
  16. Flash Mob  – A flash mob is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and pointless act for a brief time, then quickly disperse. The term flash mob is generally applied only to gatherings organized via telecommunications, social media, or viral emails.
  17. Flickr  – Flickr is a social network based around online picture sharing. The service allows users to store photos online and then share them with others through profiles, groups, sets, and other methods.
  18. flipboard  Millions of people use Flipboard to read and collect the news they care about, curating their favorite stories into their own magazines on any topic imaginable.
  19. Forums – Also known as a message board, a forum is an online discussion site. It originated as the modern equivalent of a traditional bulletin board, and a technological evolution of the dialup bulletin board system.
  20. Foursquare  – Foursquare is a social network in which friends share their locations and connect with others in close physical proximity to each other. The service uses a system of digital badges to reward players who “check in” to different types of locations.
  21. Friends  – No, not your pals you play poker with on the weekends. We’re talking Facebook friends. These are individuals you consider to be friendly enough with you to see your Facebook profile and engage with you.
  22. Google+  – Google+ is Google’s new social network. It differs in that it promotes social sharing that is more similar to how people share in real life by providing features such as one that limits who you are talking to, creating 1-on-1 conversation.
  23. Gowalla  – Gowalla was a social network in which friends share their locations and connect with others in close psychical proximity to each other. It launched in 2007 and closed in 2012.
  24. Hangout  – A Hangout is a video service on Google+ that allows you to video chat with up to 10 Google+ users are a time. You can name these chats, watch YouTube videos during them, open a Google Doc with colleagues, and much more.
  25. Hashtag  – A hashtag is a tag used on the social network Twitter as a way to annotate a message. A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a “#.” Example: #yourhashtag. Hashtags are commonly used to show that a tweet, a Twitter message, is related to an event or conference, online or offline.
  26. hi5  – hi5 is a social network focused on the youth market. It is a social entertainment destination, with a focus on delivering a fun and entertainment-driven social experience online to users around the world.
  27. HootSuite  – HootSuite is a social media management system that helps brands streamline campaigns across social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ Pages. Teams can collaboratively monitor, engage, and measure the results of social campaigns from one secure, web-based dashboard.
  28. Instagram  – Instagram is a photo sharing application that lets users take photos, apply filters to their images, and share the photos instantly on the Instagram network and other social networks like Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and Foursquare. The app is targeted toward mobile social sharing, and in just over one year, it has gained almost 15 million users.
  29. kickstarter  Kickstarter is the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects.
  30. Klout  – Klout is a measure of social influence. The service allows users to connect various social accounts such as Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, etc., and then provides every user with his or her Klout score. The score is out of 100–the higher the score, the more inlfuence you have on the social world.
  31. Like  – A “Like” is an action that can be made by a Facebook user. Instead of writing a comment for a message or a status update, a Facebook user can click the “Like” button as a quick way to show approval and share the message.
  32. LinkedIn  – LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site. Founded in December 2002 and launched in May 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking. As of June 2010, LinkedIn had more than 70 million registered users, spanning more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.
  33. mahalo  the knowledge sharing service; helping people quickly find the best information on topics, how to’s and coupons.
  34. Meme  – (rhymes with “team”) a term coined by Richard Dawkins to originally mean self replicating unit, an internet meme refers to something such as an idea or concept that has gone viral for no apparent reason being spread from person to person through social, email, or other technologies.
  35. MySpace  – MySpace is a social networking website owned by News Corporation. MySpace became the most popular social networking site in the United States in June 2006 and was overtaken internationally by its main competitor, Facebook, in April 2008.
  36. nimble provides social CRM simplified so that you can connect your contacts across all social media.
  37. OpenID  – OpenID is a safe, faster and easier way to log in to web sites.
  38. Orkut  – Orkut is a social networking website that is owned and operated by Google. The website is named after its creator, Google employee Orkut Büyükkökten. Although Orkut is less popular in the United States than competitors Facebook and MySpace, it is one of the most visited websites in India and Brazil.
  39. Phishing: is the fraudulent practice of sending electronic messages claiming to be a legitimate company in order to induce individuals to reveal sensitive data such as user names, passwords, and credit card details.
  40. Pin : an image or video on Pinterest. Images/videos can be added, or pinned, from a website or from a computer file
  41. Pinterest  is a tool for collecting and organizing things you love.
  42. PostRank  – was a social media analytics service now owned by Google that used a proprietary ranking algorithm to measure “social engagement”
  43. Quantcast  – Quantcast provides website traffic and demographics for websites. The tool is primarily used by online advertisers looking to target specific demographics.
  44. Reddit  – Reddit is similar to Digg. It is a social news site that is built upon a community of users who share and comment on stories.
  45. Retweet – A retweet is when someone on Twitter sees your message and decides to re-share it with his/her followers. A retweet button allows them to quickly resend the message with attribution to the original sharer’s name.
  46. Second Life  – Second Life is an online virtual world developed by Linden Lab that was launched on June 23, 2003. Users are called “residents,” and they interact with each other through avatars. Residents can explore, meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, create and trade virtual property and services with one another, and travel throughout the world.
  47. Seesmic  – Seesmic was a popular desktop and mobile social application and was acquired by Hootsuite
  48. Skype:  a voiceover Internet Protocol Service and software program that allows users to communicate by placing calls to telephones as within the computer network; there is also the capability for video calling and conferencing, instant messaging, and file sharing.
  49. StumbleUpon  – StumbleUpon is a free web-browser extension that acts as an intelligent browsing tool for discovering and sharing web sites.
  50. sock puppet    A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception or that poses as an independent third-party unaffiliated with the puppeteer.
  51. Technorati  – Technorati is a popular blog search engine that also provides categories and authority rankings for blogs.
  52. Timeline  – Timeline is the new Facebook form for displaying your status and other messages
  53. tumblr  is a very simple blogging system now being acquired by Yahoo!
  54. tweet  is a message sent using Twitter
  55. Tweetchat  – tweetchats are chats that occur on Twitter around a specific hashtag and occur at a rapid pace. They occur on a regular frequency, same time, every week.
  56. TweetDeck:  a social media dashboard that allows users to connect their Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, and other social media accounts.
  57. Twitter  allows you to instantly connect to what’s most important to you. Follow your friends, experts, favorite celebrities, and breaking news.
  58. Vimeo  : is a video-sharing site.
  59. waze  is a free mobile navigation application for your iphone or android that allows drivers to build and use live maps, real-time traffic updates and turn-by-turn.  It is now being acquired by Google.
  60. Youtube  is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005 and owned by Google since late 2006.

Acknowledgement: This is based on the most important elements from The Ultimate Glossary: 120 Social Media Marketing Terms Explained by Kipp Bodnar written in 2011, which have been revised where necessary. Other terms that have come on the scene since then are here included.

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