30 Social Media Terms Every Business Should Know

Ben Kalkman posted this in
Social Media
on January 29th, 2013

The internet has forever changed the way we interact with friends, watch movies and purchase products. It has also contributed to the continuing evolution of our vocabulary.

Social media has ushered in the creation of a few new words and changed the definitions of many more. For example, 6 years ago if you were writing on someone’s wall, you were probably committing a crime.

The different terms on each social media site can be confusing for any beginning social media marketer. To make your online life easier, Rocket Media has compiled some of the most common social media terms and grouped them by network.


Profile – When you set up an account on Facebook, the page containing your information is considered your profile. The equivalent of a profile for a business is a page.

Status Update – As a user of Facebook, you can post status updates for your friends to see.

Highlighted Post - Facebook allows you to “highlight” a status update by selecting the star icon on the top right corner of a published post. This update will remain at the top of your feed allowing for higher visibility and is great for promotions or important news.

Subscribe – Facebook recently rolled out the ability of people to subscribe to other’s public updates without “friending” them. This mimics Twitter’s “follow” feature.

Comment – Facebook allows you to comment on other users’ activity. For example, you can comment on status updates, photos, links, videos, etc.

Like – Likes are Facebook’s iconic action. In the beginning, the only way to interact with someone else’s post was to either comment or like.

Wall – The wall was the main page on your profile where people shared links and posted comments, photos and videos. This has been replaced by the Timeline, but the term “wall” is still widely used to mean Timeline.

Timeline – A Facebook user’s main profile page. Timeline chronologically displays all of the user’s or brand’s activity as well as posts, photos, events and videos they’ve been tagged in.

Share – The “share” button on Facebook posts allows you to publish the post to your group of friends.

Friend – You can add other Facebook users as friends to receive their updates in your news feed. The other user must accept your friend request. This term is also used as a verb “please friend me” as well as used in the negative sense “I can’t believe he unfriended me!”

News Feed – The news feed is the feed in the middle of your homepage that showcases your friends’ and pages’ recent activity.

Tag – You can tag friends and pages in photos, videos, status updates and comments as well as places. This is a way of letting other friends know your were both involved in the post.

Applications – Facebook lets pages create custom applications based on their needs. Users can use Facebook Developer or a third-party application to build and install the app. The default apps include “likes” and “photos” but pages can add just about anything they need from an integrated storefront to an email signup form.

Like-gate – A like gate is a custom application that Facebook pages use to display different content to people who have not like the Page. “Like-gating” is a term used to describe this practice of hiding content behind a like-gate.


Handle – Also known as a username, your twitter handle identifies you to others on the social media network. It is preceded by the @ symbol. For example, ours is @RocketMedia

Tweet – Once you have your twitter account set up, you may begin tweeting. A tweet is anything you post to twitter. Tweets are limited to 140 characters.

Re-Tweet (RT) – A retweet is a tweet that has been tweeted by another Twitter user. You can retweet others’ tweets as a way of agreeing with them or adding to the conversation.

Hashtag – You can link your tweet to a specific idea or event using a hashtag or just to emphasize something. The pound sign or number symbol, #, precedes a hashtag. An example: #RocketMediarocks

Trending – Twitter provides a list of what is trending on the network (now also replicated by Google Plus). This lets you know current hot topics on Twitter.

Follower – A follower is the Facebook equivalent of a friend, with a significant difference. While a Facebook friendship requires both parties to agree, you can follow another twitter user without them reciprocating.

Direct Message (DM) – Tweets are available to all your followers (or the public, depending on your settings). For more personal messaging on Twitter, you can use a direct message, which is similar to an email or Facebook message.

Mention – Twitter allows you to tag others in your tweets by typing @ followed by the username. This is called a mention because, well, you are mentioning another user.

Feed – On your Twitter homepage you will see all your followers’ recent tweets. This is called your feed.

Google Plus

Circle – Google Plus’s version of Facebook’s friends is circles. You can circle people to subscribe to their updates. Like Twitter, they do not have to circle you back.

+1 – The “plus one” button on Google is similar to Facebook’s “like” in that it allows you to agree with or promote another post.

Stream – Like Twitter and Facebook’s feeds, Google Plus’s stream shows you the recent activity of those in your circles.

Hangout – A unique feature to Google Plus is the ability to hold a video chat with your friends or the public. While in a hangout, you can also watch YouTube videos together.

A Few Others

Check-in – Foursquare, as well as some other location-based social media applications, allows you to check into physical locations to earn badges and special promotions. (Facebook also has this functionality.)

RSS – It’s irrelevant what RSS stands for. Just know RSS feeds allow others to easily follow updates on social media sites and blogs through an RSS reader.

Crowdsource – This is a term that was coined to refer to content that is created by users for a business. It is a good way to involve your social media community and gain valuable feedback.

Have you run across any other confusing social media terms? Send it over to us and we’ll add it to the list!

Ben Kalkman


Ben Kalkman is the CEO, founder and owner of Rocket Media. When he has down time from running a successful company, being the father to 6 kids, running half marathons and purchasing every new Apple product that comes to market… eh who are we kidding, Ben has no down time.