A Social Media Glossary


The Internet is a melting pot for new tools and trends, i.e. Social Media. For every new tool, new words or phrases are created. As more and more organizations struggle to embrace social media, we ended up cobbling together a quick glossary of terms for them. This is just a starter’s list based on things we’ve been asked. Please feel free to add to the list! (img from digitalheretix.com)

Additional resources for social media terms include Mike Sansone’s Glossary of Blogging and Social Media Terms and Social media’s A-Z of social media.


Badge – An image, usually squared and displayed on a blog, which signifies the blogger’s participation in an event, contest, or social movement

Blog Post/Entry – Content published on a blog. Entries may include pictures or embedded videos and links URLs for online sources used.


Blogroll – An assembly of blog URLs – blogs that the blogger reads regularly – displayed at the sidebar of the blog


Blogs – A website where individual(s) provide entries of any type of content from video and podcasts to traditional text and photos in order to inform or create discussions; presented in reverse chronological order

Boardreader – An aggregator of message boards and forum discussions

Comments – Replies or opinions in reference to the topic at hand; usually left on blog posts

Compete – Provides web analytics (i.e. unique monthly visitors to the site) and enables people to compare and contrast up to 5 different sites at a time

“Do-good” networks – Online communities aimed at making the world a better place

Groundswell – A social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations. (Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, Groundswell, pg. 9)


Hyper-local community – A group of people from a specific location who interact in online communities and use social media tools


Influencer – A person specialized in a specific subject matter and highly recognized in an online community that has the ability to sway others’ thoughts; key influencers are seen as references or for assistance on specific subject matters

Message Boards/Forums – An online discussion site; people looking to discuss particular issues or needing support post threads (a message) on the forum or message board in hopes to gain more information or start a conversation


Micro-blogging – A form of blogging where the entries/posts are limited to a certain amount of characters or words, i.e. Twitter.

Micro-philanthropy – Donating in small amounts ($1, $5, $10, $20)


Multimedia – Media and content in different forms such as videos, pictures, etc. Examples include YouTube and Flickr

Online community – a group of people using social media tools and sites on the Internet

Platform – the framework or system within which tools work; That platform may be as broad as mobile telephony, or as narrow as a piece of software that has different modules like blogs, forums, and wikis in a suite of tools. As more and more tools operate “out there” on the web, rather than on your desktop, people refer to “the Internet as the platform”. That has advantages, but presents challenges in learning lots of different tools, and getting them to join up. (socialmedia, A-Z of social media)

Podcasts – Online audio or visual recordings syndicated on the Internet and available to download to portable media players such as an iPod

Quantcast – Used to measure the amount of traffic a URL receives, as well as data about the readership (demographics, psychographics, etc.)

RSS Feed – Really Simple Syndication; a system that generates frequently updated information from a site (i.e. blog posts, online articles)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – Is a form of Internet marketing that seeks to promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages (SERPs). According to the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization, SEM methods include: search engine optimization (or SEO), paid placement, contextual advertising, and paid inclusion (Wikipedia, Search Engine Marketing)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results. (Wikipedia, Search Engine Optimization)

Sentiment – A level of assessment that determines the tone of an article, blog post, a company, etc.; usually positive, negative, or neutral

Social Bookmarking – A method for people to search, organize, store and share items (i.e. blog posts, online articles, pictures, etc.) of interest using the item’s URL

Social Media – A term used to describe tools and platforms people use to produce, publish and share online content and to interact with one another. Social media tools include blogs, podcasts, videos, microblogs, wikis, etc.


Social Networking Sites – Large sites that host multiple communities comprised of people with profiles who have with similar interests. These sites offer a place where people engage with one another online and share content. Example communities include:

Tags – a keyword or term associated and assigned to an item of content (i.e. blog post, video, photo, etc.). Usually added to an item of content to enhance search engine optimization and make it content easier to organize and find

Technorati Authority – Used to determine the number of times a keyword or URL are mentioned and linked in blogs

Webinar – An online seminar

Web 2.0 – Is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the Internet as a platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform – Tim O’Reilly

Widget – A mini application that performs a specific function and connects to the Internet


Wiki –Webpage(s) used to collect content about a topic. Anyone with access to the page(s) can edit or modify the information

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