56 Social Media Terms Writers Need to Know

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Social Media Terms to Know by Frances CaballoI haven’t ever written a blog post that was merely a list of terms even though I find these types of posts useful. So I thought it would be helpful to create this list of 56 commonly used social media terms that you can copy and keep on hand whenever you run into a term that you don’t recognize. Feel free to share this post with others.

5-19-14 TwitterTwitter

@Reply – Use this symbol followed by a Twitter user’s handle (username) to send the user a tweet. The tweet will appear on your and the other user’s profiles.

[email protected] – When a period is added before another user’s handle, the tweet will appear on both the sender (the person sending the tweet) and the recipient’s profiles.

Blocking – You can block users whose tweets you find offensive, whose tweets are purely spam, or whose tweets are bothersome. When you block another user on Twitter, that user can no longer follow you and you can’t follow that user.

Direct Message, aka “DM” – A message that Twitter users can send each other that aren’t visible on your timelines. Too often, direct messages are used to spam another user (“See my website/blog.” “Download my short stories.”), which is why they are seldom read.

Favorite – This is a feature on Twitter that allows you to mark a tweet as one you like. Once a tweet is identified as a “Fave,” Twitter will automatically pin the message to your account for reference later.

Follow – To agree to receive tweets from another Twitter user.

Follower – This term is used for users who receive your tweets.

Handle – On Twitter, this is another word for username. It’s best to keep your handle to fewer than twelve characters.

Mention/Retweet or RT – On Twitter, repeating information in another user’s tweet and crediting the original author.

Timeline, Twitter – The feed of incoming tweets from people you follow.

Tweeps – This term is used to describe friends or followers with whom you are in frequent contact.

Tweet – A post that a Twitter user writes that adheres to the 140-character limit.

Twitter Chat – An active discussion occurring on Twitter at a specific time. As long as you know the hashtag and time of the Twitter chat, you can join one.

Twitterati – Similar to glitterati, the Twitterati are the stars of Twitter. Users who are in this category include @GuyKawasaki, @mashable and @smexaminer.

Twitterer/Tweeter – Someone who uses Twitter.

Twittosphere – This term refers to a collective group of people who tweet.

Twoosh – A tweet that is exactly 140 characters.

Unfollow – You have the option to unfollow—no longer receive—tweets your followers send you.

Username – An identifier, such as a user’s first name, so the user can access computers and programs

(when used in combination with a password).

Via – This term has gained a lot of traction. Use it in place of RT (retweet).


5-19-14 FBFacebook

Facebook Lists – Categories of Facebook friends and pages that can be used to target messaging on Facebook profiles or keep track of pages you follow.

Facebook Tabs – Specially designed Web pages often used with a call to action. Facebook tabs have their own URLs.

Insights – A free application for Facebook fan pages that provides metrics, trends, user growth, and demographics on fan engagement.

Timeline, Facebook –The timeline is where users post their status updates. You can allow others to post on your timeline or you can adjust your privacy settings so that other uses aren’t allowed to add posts and images directly on your timeline.


5-19-14 LinkedInLinkedIn

Connection – Connections on LinkedIn are similar to Twitter users who mutually follow each other; when you accept a connection, you agree to accept their updates in your news feed, which is located on the Home page.

Group – Groups on LinkedIn provide opportunities to further your education – and to share your expertise – in writing and publishing.

LinkedIn First-Degree Connections – LinkedIn users with whom you’ve worked or shared information with in one of LinkedIn’s groups, or colleagues whose email addresses you have.

LinkedIn Second-Degree Connection – LinkedIn users who are connected to your first-degree connections but aren’t directly connected to you yet.

LinkedIn Third-Degree Connection – People who are connected to your second-degree connections. You will be unable to connect with this category of user on your own; you’ll need to ask another connection to introduce you to third-degree connections.



+1 – Google’s +1 button is similar to Facebook’s Like. When you like a blog post or photo and click on Google’s +1 icon, your status box on Google+ will appear so that you can share the post or photo you liked, write a comment, and share your comments on Google+. You can learn more about the +1 and find the html code to include on your website here: http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/+1/

Center Stage – This is the main video window during a Hangout that shows which person is currently speaking.

Chat – Similar to Facebook’s chat feature, you can send short, instant messages to other Google+ users.

Circle – The Circle is equivalent to a Facebook list. Use this feature to target your messaging to your readers, editors, designers, and critique group members, and to maintain privacy on the very wide open Web.

Hangout – This is a group video chat feature used to lead a Web-based discussion on Google+.

Home – Your home page is your news feed where you see updates from people you follow.

Notifications – These are the short updates Gmail users receive about their Google+ profiles. They occur whenever a user has a new connection or shares a comment. They will fly into your Gmail inbox, which makes replies convenient, efficient, and easy.

Profile – This is where you can see all of your updates and edit your information.

Share – On Facebook, you click on the blue and white Post button to send your Status Update onto your friends’ homepages. On Google+, you click on the green and white Share button to activate an update.

Stream – This is the term used for the display of posts by your connections on Google+.


5-19-14 PinterestPinterest

Pinboard – On Pinterest, a collection of related images.

Pin – Navigate to this page to add the Pin It Button to your browser so that you can add pins to your pinboard directly from your website on elsewhere on the Web. You can add the Pin It Button from here: http://help.pinterest.com/en/articles/add-pin-it-button-your-browser#Web

Repin – This Pinterest term signifies adding images to a pinboard, especially images uploaded by other users.



Channels – This is an interchangeable word for network, as in social media network or social media channel.

Google Adwords – A free tool from Google that helps users determine the best keywords for their blogs, websites, and other platforms.

Google Analytics – A free tool from Google that helps users analyze traffic to their website or blog.

Gravatar – A Gravatar is an abbreviation for globally recognized avatar. Once you register your email address at  http://en.gravatar.com, whenever you leave a comment on someone’s blog and enter your email address, your image will appear next to your remarks. If you register your Gmail email, your image will load whenever you send a message.

Hashtags – Words with the number sign (#) in front of them used on Twitter to enhance search results and track buzz. Hashtags are also used on Google+ and Facebook.

Keywords – A component of search engine optimization. Simply put, keywords are the terms someone would type into a Google (or Firefox or Safari) search bar to find your book, services they want, or a restaurant in a new town.

Lists – On Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, lists are used to group certain connections together. On Google+, lists are referred to as circles.

QR Codes – First developed in 1994 by a Japanese automotive company, Quick Response codes are square-shaped matrix barcodes that can be scanned with a smart phone and take a potential buyer directly from a product on the shelf to a website (or event on a flyer) and information. There are numerous QR Code generators, including this one: http://www.qr-code-generator.com

RSS – This is an abbreviation for Rich Site Summary, but it’s better known as Really Simple Syndication. Once you elect to receive updated posts from a blog using an RSS feed, posts will automatically update and you won’t need to revisit the original website.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization is a combination of actions to bring your book to Page One of a search engine’s first page of results.

Social Media Dashboard – An application, such as Hootsuite, that enables users to read in one spot incoming updates, tweets, and posts from their social media networks. Dashboards can also be used to schedule tweets and updates.

Tag – Tags occur in Google+ whenever you type + before a user’s name, similar to the @ that precedes a Twitter handle or username.

Vanity URL – A Web address that the users create to include their names or book titles.


photo credit: giulia.forsythe via photopin cc

photo credit: mkhmarketing via photopin cc photo credit: opensourceway via photopin cc

photo credit: FindYourSearch via photopin cc

photo credit: Coletivo Mambembe via photopin cc

About the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers and author of  Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write, Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter, the San Francisco Writers Conference, and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. You can find her on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+.

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web

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  1. Thank you for this list. I’m sure there are even more terms. I wish I had seen this a few years ago. It took me a long time to begin to understand the acronyms (like the army). I have tweeted your site and will keep watching for more great content.

  2. How have I only just found this list? This is really useful and will be a massive help. Thank you! I mean, a lot of these I already knew, but some of them are real Gems, like this “[email protected] – When a period is added before another user’s handle, the tweet will appear on both the sender (the person sending the tweet) and the recipient’s profiles. ” … Great!

  3. Thanks for this awesome article Frances Caballo,
    This post contains very detail facts for social media marketing. These tricks will definitely improve social visibility as well as reputation. Thanks and keep writing…

  4. Very insightful information. New to the social media platform and need all the help I can get.

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