Understanding the dynamic nature of social media and it’s communication patterns

Social Media has now become the norm when it comes to social interaction. Along with this trend to interact via a social channel came the shift in shortening words, creating trending topics and talking with cartoon faces. Social Media Marketing as a professional discipline has had to embrace this change and get the older generation of business owners to understand and get behind digital strategies that embrace not only the platforms and the people that use them, but also their communication patterns.

In an attempt to help put some of the social media terms and abbreviations into perspective we have put together our own list of what we have come across to help you better understand the dynamic nature of social media. If you feel we have left out any important social media terms and abbreviations then please let us know and we will gladly add them to our growing list.

Social Media Terms and Abbreviations

Bio – A short bit of text that explains who the user is, ie. A summary of yourself or the business.


Blog – comes from the words “web log”. Usually done by individuals or businesses that write content on specific topics and report on events. Can also include videos.


Boosted Post – Specific to Facebook and Instagram, boosted content is where you pay to target your content to a predefined target audience. You pay per click and interaction on the content.


Brand Ambassabor – A person or customer who is hired or paid to endorse a product/services and provide positive feedback about his/her experiences with the brand.


Chat – personal, text-based communication done over the internet usually through instant messaging platforms.


Circles – Google+ allows you to cluster connections into different groups. From there, you can choose what content to share with what group.


Clickthrough Rate – popular metric on social media which measures the number of times that someone clicked through to a piece of content divided by the number of impressions that the content receives.


Comment – A response in reaction to a post or message on a social network.


Connections – Linkedin equivalent to a “friend” on Facebook. A connection might not necessarily be a friend, but it could also be a business connection – someone that you have met, done business with, wanting to do business with in the future or want to hire.


Conversion Rate – popular metric used to measure the percentage of people who completed a desired action. Could be a form, following a social account or sending a direct message.


Crowdsourcing – a process of posing a question on a particular query or topic on social media and soliciting information or advice from the audience.


Direct Messages – private conversations between two people on Twitter. Also referred to as DM’s.


Emoji – This one speaks for itself and should not require an explanation, but none-the-less they are animated figures used for expression. Here is a full list from Emojipedia.


Employee Advocacy – Enlisting the help of employees to spread awareness and increase the reach of the content posted by the company.


Endorsement – When another Linkedin user has recognised one of the skills you have listed on your profile.


Engagement Rate –  amount of interaction that a piece of content gets in the form of likes, comments and shares


Fans – people who like your Facebook page.


Favourite – Shows that you like a piece on content that is shared on Twitter. Represented by a small star icon.


FOMO – A very well known abbreviation that stands for the Fear Of Missing Out.

Follower – person that has subscribed to your account so that they can receive your post updates.


Friends – a term that indicates the number of people that you follow and connections that you have made on Facebook.  They are able to see your Facebook profile and engage with you.


Geotag – location or geographical coordinates that gets attached to a piece of content. For example, you can check in to certain locations on Facebook and Instagram.


GIF – stands for Graphics Interchange Format. Small little animations or clips


Handle – A term used to describe someone’s online name on Twitter. For example, Bill Gates ‘s handle is @BillGates


Header Image – Large cover photo at the top of your profile on Twitter. On Facebook, it is known as a cover image and on Linkedin, it is known as the banner image.


Hashtag – Used on a variety of social networks as a way to annotate messages and categorise posts  so that people can easily access them. The word is pre-described by a “#” symbol.


Social Media Influencer – A persona, person, brand or icon that has the ability to reach a very wide and/or specific audience to create awareness about a brand, product, service, topic of trend.


Impressions – Each time an advert is fetched from its source and countable.


Instant Messaging – Text-based conversation that is conducted in real-time, directly between two or more people. More advanced messaging applications include video and live voice calling.


Like – An action on Facebook and Twitter that shows approval. Instead of commenting on a post, people can choose to “like” posts instead by clicking the button.


Linkedin Publishing – a platform on Linkedin that enables you to publish articles  to your personal profile that relate to your expertise and interests.


Linkedin Slideshare – a social network platform on Linkedin that allows users to share presentations. People can favourite and embed presentations, as well as share them on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter.


Listed – It involves curating a list of profiles that you want to follow so that you can see their tweets easily.


Live-streaming – Sharing video content in real-time.


Meme – a joke, image, GIF, thought or concept that has gained popularity and is shared all over social media.

Mention – used in Twitter, when someone includes someone else’s @username in their tweet. Generally used to attribute content to, or start a conversation.


Native advertising – Ad copy and Image adheres to the social network’s regular post layout, so that the advert doesn’t come across as obvious. It’s intention is to make adverts feel less like ads.


Podcast – series of digital media files (usually audio files), that are released intermittently.


Recommendation – A written note from another Linkedin member that has reinforced your credibility or expertise.


Reply – A separate tweet that is in response to a someone’s tweet on Twitter.


Retweet – When someone shares your exact tweet to their followers.


Social Selling – a concept that sales people can leverage off of comments, likes and the engagement from posts in answering people’s questions, providing further information and providing further content.


Sponsored Content – a term more often used in LinkedIn, this is similar to boosted content in that you pay to target your content to a specific target audience and pay for each click and interaction made.


Tag – Used in Facebook and LinkedIn. The user is able to link back to other users or products in the photo.


Thread – These are comments in response to published content with replies involving various levels of interaction.


Trending – Trends are compiled through the use of hashtags. The more a # is used the more it trends. To become a trending topic you need hundreds of thousands of interactions with a specific hashtag.


Troll – A person that loves to create controversy in an online setting by either commenting on posts or engaging in forum discussions. Their aim is to stimulate a reaction by providing commentary.


User-generated content – Content created by consumers. Could be in the form of blogs, tweets, images and reviews. Marketers can tap into this content, and use it to support campaigns.


Viral – A term that describes when a piece of content achieves a huge amount of awareness and engagement.


Vlogging – Content in the form of a video that tells a story.


Webinar – Online seminar or presentation, whereby people are given a URL link to join the presentation room. Used to present a particular topic or educate users.

What are the most popular social media channels available?









Some of the other social media channels that are available to users:





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