your guide to the language and terms of social media


blog, /noun

A place (Tumblr, Facebook, etc.) which houses all of the user’s blog posts.

blog post, /noun

A written post that discusses and explores anything the creator wants to talk about. 
Example: Mommy Bloggers – mom’s with blogs discussing and addressing issues associated with being a parent. They often review products, movies, television.

default settings, /noun

The automatic controls or settings that have been preset by the creator/developer. If users want to change their settings away from the default, they must physically and consciously research and then change their settings. Some social media sites are notorious for their confusing settings and controls (ie. Facebook), and thus, users often choose to simply keep the default settings.

followers, /noun

The number of people who are following you on various social media platforms (whether they subscribe to your feed, or you add them as a friend).

GIF, /noun

Graphics Interchange Format. GIFs are image files that are compressed to reduce transfer time. GIFs are basically moving pictures, generally with captions, that represent a part of a video. 
GIFs are commonly used as visual abbreviations of viral videos, favourite television or movie scenes, etc. Now, instead of watching a 5 minute YouTube video, you can watch a 5 second GIF. Essentially GIFs act as a highlight reel or a ‘best of’ segment .
Ex: “Did you see the youtube video of the raccoon stealing the cat’s food?” “Yeah, they made it into a GIF!”

hashtag,  /noun

Most commonly used on Twitter and Instagram, a hashtag is typically used as a way for people to search for tweets that have a common topic and to begin a conversation. Once you create a tweet or post, you ‘tag’ it, using words that are relevant to your tweet/post. 
For example, a photo of a cat on Instagram could have the following tags: #catsofinstagram #kitten #crazycatlady #cutecat 
Ex #2:  should someone tweet “Studying for finals” they might use the hashtag #goodbyesociallife  or #needmorecoffee

instafame, /noun

Immediate fame/popularity gained extremely fast as a result of posting a photo on Instagram or other photo sharing platforms.

instagram, /noun

A photo sharing application available for iOS (iPhone’s) and Android platforms, allowing users to apply colourful filters on their photographs/videos and share them instantly with their followers. Instagram also allows private messaging and sharing. 

likes, /noun

Are the accumulated number of times a user of social media has liked something you shared.
A clickable/ touchable button a user can press to show their approval.
On Facebook it could be a status update, photograph, comment you or someone has left, check-in point, etc
Twitter has a ‘favourite’ option, which is essentially the same as a like. Users are given the option to favourite another users tweet.

location services, /noun

A technological service/tool that can provide the location of any device (ie. Smartphone, Tablet, etc).

meme, /noun

An aspect/social commentary of current culture that is passed from one individual to another. A meme is usually a humorous image, video, GIF, etc and then spread by other Internet users. 

notes, /noun

(Unique to Tumblr) the accumulated number of likes and reblogs of one post (photo, video, text, GIF, etc) 

retweet, /verb

Retweet (Twitter): to copy a tweet from someone else and send it again on Twitter
Reblog (Tumblr):  to share (called a ‘reblog’) another person’s image/post/video on your own Tumblr blog.
Share (Facebook): to share another person’s image/post/video on your own Facebook profile

selfie,  /noun

A photo self portrait posted on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or other social network. Occasionally you can see the person's arm holding the camera. Selfies are shorthand for "look at me!" Many describe them as the epitome of narcissism. 

shoutout, /noun

To acknowledge someone via social media – typically used for the purpose of gaining notoriety/popularity/attention. At the end of a post/tweet the user will typically ‘shout-out’ by stating: “Check out @kaylamcnally!” This shout out will send followers to @kaylamcnally and will help this user gain more followers.  Users ask one another for a shout-out in order to promote themselves, and – while it sounds like grovelling -  this has become a socially acceptable practice. 
Note: For perspective, this is akin to asking “can I come to your house after school.” Boomers are horrified; gen z not so much

snapchat, /noun

Similar to Vine in length, however, Snapchat’s (videos or pictures that last for 1-10 seconds) are personally sent to specific people and can only be viewed once. Once played, Snapchat’s are “deleted forever”. Snapchat also allows private messaging and ‘stories’ (links together numerous pictures/videos that can then be sent to friends and are available for unlimited viewing for up to 24 hours).

trending, /verb

What is currently popular on a specific social media site. Trending is typically determined by popular hashtags. It’s comparable to a typical “what’s hot” list, composed of things or events everyone is talking about.

tumblr, /noun

Essentially a mini blog, utilized to quickly share photos, links, videos, GIFs, opinions. 
A 24 Hour self updating highlight reel of world events accompanied by social commentary

twitter, /noun

Allows users to ‘tweet’ (write) no more than 140 characters per post. While Twitter was dismissed as trite and self-indulgent, crystallizing one’s thoughts and lauding and acknowledging thought leadership has become fundamental to the twitter thought process. i.e. @naheednenshi

vine, /noun

social media application, created by Twitter, allowing users to create and upload videos no longer than 6 seconds each. Vines can only be shared on Twitter or directly on the Vine site. 

vlog, /noun

A video blog made popular by YouTube. Commonly the person creating the video simply discusses an issue; much like writing about an issue on a traditional blog, however a Vlog is in video form.