Social media terms you should know

Skip to:

It seems like everyone is on social media nowadays. Some are on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or WhatsApp. Others, especially the younger set, may prefer YouTube, Tiktok, Snapchat, Twitch or Reddit, and others.

Apart from entertainment, social media has become a great way to make friends, stay updated with happenings, and keep in touch with friends and family. It has even become a business platform for many: online entrepreneurs sell items and services; social media influencers and social-media-famous personalities entertain their followers with their day to day lives while promoting brands; other content creators teach anything from cooking to flipping (renovating) a house to earn money from views.

There’s so much useful content, no wonder everyone’s on it!

For us newcomers, social media is an important tool to develop online presence. And why is building a good online presence important for us? We start from scratch in our careers when we move to Canada. A good online presence makes us visible to employers because it helps us develop a good reputation and show our expertise (read 5 ways LinkedIn can help your career to know more).

If you’re a newbie to social media, here are a few terms you should know:

Basic social media terms and what they mean:


This can be text, photos or images, videos, audio, and links to other content that a user shares on social media.


This function allows users to make a post visible to their friends (or network) and groups on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Twitter users “retweet” a post to share.


Any kind of interaction (comment, like, share, etc.) a piece of content or post receives.


This is a way of showing that social media users agree or have read your post. You do this by clicking on the thumbs up symbol on Facebook or the heart symbol on Instagram and Twitter.


The connections you make on Facebook. These are also the people you follow.


This is equivalent to Facebook friends on LinkedIn. They may not be actual friends, but professional contacts or businesses.


Your connections on Twitter are called followers. You have the option to Follow people without them Following you back (and vice versa). You can also do this on LinkedIn. You can follow certain people by clicking on “+Follow” beside their name on a post. This does not make them your Connection.

Feed/newsfeed, timeline, or For You Page (FYP)

The place or page you see posts or content shared by people or groups you follow. It can also include ads from organizations you don’t follow. FYP is for Tiktok and Snapchat.

Profile pic

This is the photo you use for your social media account/s.


This refers to your name on social media platforms usually preceded by an @ symbol. You can use your real name or an alias.


This the # symbol. This symbol together with keywords and topics will make your post part of a larger discussion. When someone searches for your specific hashtag, they will see all the other posts that use the same hashtag.


Using keywords, hashtags or social media names (handles) to let a person, subject, or idea know that you’re talking about them or to them. If you want your post to show up on another user’s feed, write their social media name with the @ symbol ahead of it so that user is “tagged.” If they’re using hashtags, incorporate the hashtag in your post.


This describes an instance when a post or content receives plenty of attention. This can be measured by way of engagement (likes, comments, shares, or downloads), or views for video content.

Blow up

(Connected to viral) When a post becomes viral, netizens say that it is “blowing up” or is getting popular.


A series of comments and replies related to an individual post.


This is a popular way or style of storytelling. It can also be a dance, or a challenge done by various content creators (usually on Tiktok).

Trending topic

Most talked about topics and hashtags on Twitter and Facebook.

DM/PM (Direct/Personal Message)

Private conversations that occur on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. For some platforms, both parties must be following one another to send a DM/PM.

Reactions (emojis)

These are symbols, objects and smileys you can use to convey emotion when you comment on a post or send a message.


This an image with text that describes a thought, idea, joke, or concept that is widely shared online. It is usually humorous.


These are accounts or users that are popular on social media. Influencers leverage their popularity by promoting products and services to their followers, which are usually in the hundred thousands or millions.

Are there social media terms or features that confuse you or you’d like to know more about? Let us know!
Sources: Social Media definitions: The ultimate glossary of terms you should know, Carly Stec, Hubspot; and Definitions of common social media terms, Constant Contact Knowledge Base. Accessed October 20, 2022.

Back to top

Community Resources

For more information about social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, read Social media basics.

Back to top

We'd love to hear from you!

Please login to tell us what you think.

Related Learning Activities

Digital Skills at Work- Week 3

Article thumbnail fallback

Course Description Digital Skills at Work (DSW) is a four-week course focusing on essential digital skills required to succeed in one’s career…. Read more »

Week 1 – Digital Citizenship

Laptop on desk for distance learning from home

Week 1 focuses on the key concepts of the digital world. Think about your daily life and the technology you… Read more »

WorkCom_Week 4

A woman giving a presentation at work

This is our last week of Workplace Communications. This time you are in the driver’s seat. We look forward to your presentation… Read more »

WorkCom_Week 3

A woman giving a presentation at work

We have now reached week 3 of Workplace Communications! This week, we are engaging in a number of activities that allow… Read more »

Back to top

CC BY-NC-SAText of this page is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA, unless otherwise marked. Please attribute to English Online Inc. and link back to this page where possible. For images and videos, check the source for licensing information.