Jargon, Buzzwords, and Slang

33 Social Media Buzzwords You Should Know

There are literally thousands of terms, phrases and buzzwords related to the digital marketing and social media industries. With new platforms coming out every day, bringing even more jargon with them, we decided to look into our crystal ball. Do you know what we saw in the future? We saw oceans of eyes glazing over… eyes of business owners… eyes of consumers… eyes of those inflicted with internet addiction… eyes belonging to people who have just discovered the “poke” button on Facebook. Many, many, many eyes.

Naturally, we had to do something… and this is it.

This post contains the definitions for 33 pieces of the jargon that will render your eyes – and your brand’s capacity to effectively reach your leads and customers online – permanently useless should they go on undefined and misunderstood.

General Web Slang 

  • Ron Burgundy ContentContent: Content, a rather popular marketing buzzword these days, is literally anything that you create and distribute publicly on any platform or via any medium, online or offline. Some examples of content are blog posts, pamphlets, social media posts, videos, webinars, workshops, emails and postcards, to name a few.
  • Viral: An interesting about.com article by Elise Moreau explains the term “viral” as, “by definition, viral comes from the word “virus,” which is a medial term used to describe a small infections agent that can infect all types of organisms. In terms of the Internet, a piece of content can spread just like a virus if people become “infected” when they see it. The infection usually comes from evoked emotions that spur the viewer to share it, so they can relate with other people and discuss how they feel.”
  • Lurker: Urban Dictionary’s primary definition of a lurker is “someone that follows the forum but doesn’t post.” On Facebook, we call people lurkers when they use their profile and connections’ profiles to look at everyone else’s photos and updates but never post their own. Every platform’s community has its share of lurkers.
  • lurk moarTroll: Urban Dictionary defines a troll as “one who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.” Like lurkers, every platform has its fair share. If a person is trolling (yes, it can be used as a verb to describe the behavior itself, or as a noun to define the person participating in the behavior) on a social media platform, they usually do so in the comments of someone else’s post.
  • Meme: Cheezburger, a popular website for funny web content (including memes), defines a meme as “piece of content or an idea that’s passed from person to person, changing and evolving along the way.” Like blogger Casey Chan says in this Gizmodo article, you’ve probably seen hundreds of them. Check out his article and the included infographic for examples, the history of the term “meme,” and interesting facts about their popularity.
  • Flaming: We’ve all experienced being the victim of flaming, even if we didn’t know that there was a term for it. Flaming is the act of exhibiting hostility and insulting behavior towards other one or more other users online. Flaming can escalate to and include the use of profanity and other disrespectful or hateful language, as well. Users can be reported to platform administrators on most social networks and reported to moderators in online forums discussions.

Facebook Jargon

  • Friend Request on FacebookFriends: The people with whom a person is connected with on the platform.
  • News Feed: The live stream of posts created by people and pages that the user follows.
  • Pages: A page on Facebook is essentially the professional profile of a business, organization or other entity that is not an individual person. Fan pages representing the fans and current events related to a celebrity or public figure also exist. People can follow a page and see the posts made by the brand or public figure that are most relevant to their interests in their news feeds. You can follow the D. Cohn Communications page here.
  • Offers: According to Facebook, “certain businesses, brands and organizations can share discounts with their customers by posting an offer on their Facebook Page. When someone claims an offer, they’ll receive an email that they can show at the Page’s physical location to get the discount.”
  • Insights: In one of her recent Social Media Marketing Workshop sessions at Purdue University North Central, Darlene defined Insights as “the program that shows you how many people use your Facebook page and how much they do.”
  • Reach: Darlene was asked about “reach,” one of the metrics that Page administrators can use to measure the effectiveness of their posts, in another recent Social Media Marketing Workshop session recently at PNC. She defined reach as “the number of people that Facebook has shown a post to.”
  • Impressions: This is another metric available to Facebook administrators, with regards to specific posts made by their Page. The number of impressions that a post has is the number of times that post has been presented to people, but not unique individuals. For example, if Jack has been presented with (a.k.a. it has shown up in his news feed) a D. Cohn Communications post 5 times and Jill has been presented with it 3 times, that post has 8 total impressions and a total reach of 2.
  • Boosting a Post: As defined by Facebook itself, by boosting a Page’s post, it will “appear higher in News Feed, so there’s a better chance your audience will see” it. While it does cost money to boost a post, there are legitimate benefits to doing so, which Darlene discussed in her April 2014 column for ValpoLife.com.

Twitter Jargon

  • twitter is over capacityMicroblogging: Platforms on which users are able to share content with one another but are limited to keeping such interactions brief. Twitter is the most popular of these platforms, limiting users to posts containing 140 characters or less.
  • Twitter Handle: A person’s chosen username, preceded by an @ symbol, followed by the chosen username. D. Cohn Communication’s Twitter handle is @dcohncomm.
  • Bio: On Twitter, a user’s bio is part of his or her profile and can contain up to 160 characters of information about the person. This information is public and can be seen by anyone, regardless of whether your tweets are made private or whether you and the person follow one another.
  • Tweet: A post made on Twitter, containing 140 characters or less. To tweet is to make such a post, which is also called a tweet.
  • Retweet: To retweet a tweet made on Twitter, a person is choosing to share that tweet with his or her followers.
  • Timeline on Twitter: A user’s timeline on Twitter is the live stream of all tweets and retweets created by those that the user follows.
  • Trending: A subject that is popular, as determined by what people are talking about online, usually deemed so by an algorithm.
  • Follow: On Twitter, following another user mean subscribing to their posts, otherwise known as tweets. These will appear in your Timeline.
  • Mention: By including an @ symbol and another person’s Twitter handle in your tweet, you are “mentioning” them. The other person will receive a notification and will be able to see the tweet they are mentioned in.
  • i don't always use a hashtagHashtag: Phrases, keywords or topics marked with a # symbol, which allows all users of a platform to see that content when searching for posts related to that given phrase, keyword or topic.
  • Tweetup: A tweetup is a face-to-face gathering organized on Twitter by individuals who are connected as followers of one another or as users that have similar interests and have decided to get together in person.
  • Favorite: Users can “favorite” a tweet by clicking on the star below it, sending a notification to its author that you have favorited it. Think of the Favorite button on Twitter the way you do about the Like button on Facebook. Other Twitter users can see all of the tweets that a given user has Favorited in a section on their Twitter profile. As discussed in this blog post, Favoriting a tweet can be interpreted as offering your approval of or agreement with the content of the tweet, although this manner of feedback is more vague and less enthusiastic than if you were to retweet the post to your followers.
  • Lists: On Twitter, lists are made up of groups of users that are all associated with a consistent theme. Lists can be used to more easily navigate a user’s timeline and to ensure that the user doesn’t miss important posts in the stream of all of the posts made by those the user is following. For example, I have a list of my friends, colleagues and heroes in the digital marketing world. When I access the stream of posts created by people on that list, I am able to see all of it in one place, in an organized, curated fashion, without having to scroll through my entire Timeline or go to each of their profiles individually.
  • Direct Message: On Twitter, a Direct Message (also known as a DM) is a private message sent from one user directly to another. Other users cannot see these messages. A user can disable others’ ability to send Direct Messages to them if they so choose.
  • Twitterverse: Everything taking place within the platform of Twitter, including all tweets made, referred to collectively.

Pinterest Jargon

pin all the things

  • Pin: Pinterest describes pins as “visual bookmarks” which you can save to boards that you create within your profile. A user can create pins themselves or save, or “pin,” ones that he or she finds on other users’ boards onto his or her own.
  • Repin: A user “repins” a pin made by another user when he or she chooses to pin it to one of his or her own boards. By “repinning” something, the pin becomes visible in the home feeds of all users following the user who repined it, as well as all of the users that are following the particular board to which it was repinned.
  • Board: On Pinterest, boards are sections that a user creates within his or her profile to organize his or her pins. Boards are usually organized in terms of subjects of interest to the user.
  • Home Feed: On Pinterest, a user’s home feed is what he or she sees when first logging in on the platform, made up of a stream of all of the pins made by other users and boards that he or she follows.


 one does not simply pinterest

Of course, D. Cohn Communications is on Pinterest as well!

So are your eyes glazed over or gleaming with enlightenment and excitement? If your craving for all things digital marketing hasn’t quite been sated, head on over to ValpoLife.com and check out Darlene’s brand spankin’ new column about figuring out what to post about through your business’ social media profiles!