Social Media Glossary


Social media is taking over the world. Millions of people use it every day, and the list of terms used to describe social media activity is growing…and growing.

If you want to understand what it means to ‘like’ something and why a ‘retweet’ is so good (it is), have a look at our social media glossary.
We’ve included as many social media terms as we can think of that would be relevant to the everyday user – nothing too technical! If you think it’s missing anything be sure to let us know and we’ll add it to the glossary.
We hope it helps!
# Hashtag Used on Twitter alongside a word or phrase, a hashtag acts like a ‘tag’ or a ‘label’. Users can click on it or search for a hashtag to instantly see all the tweets that are using it, in real time. It’s often used to tag an event or tv programme that is happening ‘live’, for example searching for #bbcqt will show all Tweets about BBC’s Question Time.


Avatar The image or username that represents you, online.


Bitly A free URL shortening service – used to make long URLs easier to share on social networks such as Twitter (where there is a limit on post length). Bitly provides statistics so that you can see how many people have clicked on the link.
Blog Short for ‘web-log’, a blog is a website that is updated regularly by one or more users. It’s effectively an online diary – and there are millions of them. Blogs cover a whole host of subjects, from news to fashion, humour to art, even therapy!


Circles Used on Google+, circles are ‘groups’ of connections. A user can group their connections (eg friends, colleagues, family) into different circles and share info with just one or more circles.
Cloud The ‘cloud’, essentially, is the internet. Cloud computing describes activities such as accounting or document storage carried out online – read more about cloud computing on the Private Practice Hub.


Facebook The largest social network in the world. Facebook is used to connect with friends, and is also used widely by businesses and groups to connect with customers using ‘pages’. Facebook pages can be as important as a company’s own website!
Fan Used on Facebook, a ‘fan’ is someone who has indicated that they ‘like’ a particular company page. They then receive updates from that page in their Facebook feed.
Feed Information shown on your Facebook, Twitter or Google+ page. Your feed gathers together all the updates from your connections, or people and pages that you follow or ‘like’. Also known as a ‘stream’ or ‘timeline’.
FF Used on Twitter, short for ‘Follow Friday’. Every Friday people recommend other Twitter users by adding #FF alongside their Twitter name.
Follow Another word for ‘connect’ – when you ‘follow’ someone on Twitter you are effectively ‘signing up’ to receive their updates. It’s similar to ‘liking’ a page or becoming a ‘fan’.
Follower A connection on Twitter. A follower is someone who has indicated that they wish to see your updates in their Twitter feed (timeline).
Friend Used on Facebook to denote a connection. A friend is associated with a personal Facebook account, not a company page.


Google+ Google’s answer to Facebook. It’s very similar to Facebook, but not (yet) as popular.


Hashtag See # at the top of this glossary.
HootSuite A social media management system that helps you to streamline activity across social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. For example, you can post an update to Twitter and Facebook at the same time. Unfortunately it’s not yet integrated with Google+ or Linkedin company pages.


Klout A measure of social influence i.e. how ‘important’ you are. Scored out of 100, it takes into account factors such as your number of followers and how often your content is shared or ‘liked’.


Like You can ‘like’ an update on Facebook as a quick way to show approval. When you ‘like’ a company page, you become a ‘fan’ of that page and see its updates in your feed.
LinkedIn A business-oriented social network. Used to connect with colleagues and business clients. You can have a personal profile and a company page.


Mention A reference to somebody within a Tweet or Facebook update. You can see how often you are mentioned and ‘reply’ to those mentions.


Post A message or update put on a social network eg Facebook or Twitter.


Retweet Also known as ‘RT’, this indicates that you are sharing someone else’s update on Twitter. It demonstrates approval of that update and distributes it to a wider audience. You can retweet by clicking a button, or you can copy and paste the update with ‘RT @(twitter name)’ in front of it. Also known as a ‘share’. A retweet of one of your own updates is a very good thing because the more people who see it, the more people who will know about you.


Share When one of your updates, articles or blog posts is copied and pasted by someone on another site such as Facebook, Google etc. On Twitter it is also known as a Retweet.
Stream The same as ‘feed’, see above.


Tag A short word or phrase to indicate what content is about. For example, blog posts will usually have a series of tags as will news items.
Trend A popular topic or subject. Constantly changing, the trends usually relate to tv programmes or news events. On Twitter, you can see which words or phrases are trending at any time.
Tweet A tweet is a Twitter post (or message) and can be up to 140 characters long.
Twitter A fast moving social network that allows users to share 140 character messages.


Viral When something is shared rapidly and widely across social networks, it goes ‘viral’. Popular YouTube videos are an excellent example, as are jokes or controversial photographs. Depending on the content, going viral can be great (or dire) for marketing.
Has this glossary helped you? Is there anything we’ve missed? Let us know here.