Social Media 101 – What is social media?

The term social media refers to the use of an online virtual community (social networking site) used to publish information, interact and share insights, content, experiences, perspectives, opinions, video and images.

Social networking sites host multiple communities comprised of people with profiles. A few of the top social networking sites include:

  • Facebook — An online community for people to connect or re-connect with others. Enables people to share videos, pictures and information about themselves, an individual, a group or a company. 200 million users
  • LinkedIn — A professional online community used to network with fellow professionals; an online resume sharing site and professional networking tool. 42 million users
  • MySpace — A site where people can meet others with similar interests, creating online communities by sharing videos, photos and personal information. 126.9 million users
  • FriendFeed — enables users to keep up-to-date on the web pages, photos, videos and music that friends and family are sharing.
  • Twitter — A micro-blogging community where posts and links are 140 characters or less. Posts can be submitted via text messaging, instant messaging, mobile devices or the web. 10 million users
  • YouTube — An online site for uploading, watching and discussing videos.
  • Flickr — Online site for storing, sharing, commenting and viewing digital images. Owned by Yahoo

With each new social media tool there are new words, phrases or acronyms to describe functions within the technology. Before diving into social media, it is important to learn the lingo.

  • Tweet — what you do when you post information on Twitter
  • Twitter Search — a search engine that filters real-time tweets
  • Facebook Page — the online representation of a business, brand or organization
  • Profile — the online representation of an individual’s identity
  • Followers — people who are reading your tweets in their “feed” or “stream”
  • Following — what you do when you sign up to receive tweets from someone else
  • Friend — the act of adding a person to your social community
  • Tweeple — Twitter people, Twitter members, Twitter users
  • DM or Direct Message — sending a private message to someone in your social media network
  • Retweet: Rt, RT or rtwt — sharing someone else’s tweet
  • Wall — shared discussion board specifically about an individual and displayed on an individual profile or business’ page
  • Share — sharing a piece of content with specific friends or “posting to profile”
  • Network — a broad social grouping such as a city, large company or university, i.e. Lancaster, Yahoo, Franklin & Marshall
  • Tweetup — an organized or impromptu gathering of people who use Twitter
  • Twitterverse — the universe of people who use Twitter and the conversations taking place within that sphere
  • Twittonary — twitter dictionary