Social Media

Georgia State University refers to the Associated Press Stylebook as our guide for common social media terms.


A website or feed that amasses content from other sources and assembles it in a form digestible to its users.


Abbreviation for application programming interface.


Short for application, especially for mobile and tablet operating systems.


A version of a person that someone puts forward in an online or video game setting. It sometimes bears a strong resemblance to the user; at other times, it is used to act out fantasies of a desired identity.


A website where short entries are usually (but not always) presented in reverse chronological order, with the newest entry first.


A standard for short-range wireless transmissions, such as in headsets, that enable hands-free use of cellphones.


Normal conventions of capitalization are often ignored in IM and text messages because the use of the shift key slows down letter entry.

check in

(v.), check-in (n. and adj.) When using a location-based social networking tool, such as Foursquare, the act of sharing a location via a mobile device.


A way of measuring how many people click a link online to see its destination site. Click-thrus are often used to set advertising rates.


The collection of data and use of related computing services via remote servers accessed through the Internet.


The practice of asking a large collection of individuals online to help gather information or produce ideas.


The practice of selecting, packaging and presenting content to the public online in a more personal and hand-picked way, as opposed to automated news feeds. Often used in conjunction with social media.

direct message (DM)

A personal message sent via Twitter to one of your followers. DMs differ from mentions and @ replies in that they can only be seen by the sender and recipient.


To retrieve information from another server or computer.


The electronic, non-paper version of a book or publication, sold digitally and commonly consumed on an e-book reader or e-reader, such as Amazon’s Kindle.


A small digital picture or pictorial symbol that represents a thing, feeling, concept and so on used in text messages and other electronic communications.


A typographical cartoon or symbol generally used to indicate mood or appearance, as :-) and often looked at sideways. Also known as smileys.

end user

(n.), end-user (adj.) A phrase commonly referred to by technology developers when imagining the audience for an application, software or hardware. End-user experience.


Or e-book reader.


The world’s most popular social media service. Users communicate with friends and other users via private and public messages. Posted profiles, photos, lists of personal interests and privacy settings are key elements.


A stream of constantly updated material.


A location-based service. Users check in at certain places or businesses, collect rewards for visits and track friends who use the service.

friend, follow, like

Acceptable as both nouns and verbs. Actions by which users connect to other users on social networks. “Friend” and “like” (formerly fan) are typically used on Facebook, while Twitter users “follow” and have “followers”.


The association of your virtual location with your physical location.


The act of adding geographical metadata to pieces of media or social media updates.

Google, Googling, Googled

Google is a trademark for a Web search engine.

Google Plus

A social network owned by Google in which users can share text updates, videos, photos or other content, and organize fellow users into circles based on relationships or other factors.


A self-selected, public-facing username on a social network, particularly Twitter. May be used interchangeably with username.


The use of a pound sign (#) in a tweet to convey the subject a user is writing about so that it can be indexed and accessed in other users’ feeds.


Abbreviation for instant message; sometimes used as a verb: IMing, IMed.

Internet TV

A television set that can be connected directly to the Internet and displays Web content without going through a computer.


A trademark for a brand of tablet. Use IPad when the word starts a sentence or headline. See tablet.


Apple Inc.’s smartphone. Use IPhone when the word starts a sentence or headline.


Terms used to define an online search or embed in a file so that it becomes searchable.


A social media site used mainly for professional networking. Users create contact networks for information exchanges, job searches and business opportunities.

link shortener

A tool that allows users to shorten a longer URL to make it easier to share. and TinyURL are two link shorteners.


Snippets of information about a particular event that are posted online in real time, usually in reverse chronological order, with the newest entry first. Used as a noun or verb.


A combination of two or more pieces of content, such as photos or video, used to create something new. For example, a video that blends audio from a song with footage from several movies to build a new storyline.


On Twitter, an @ mention tags an account in a tweet someone else is publishing. It often appears in place of the actual name. Example: I refer to the @APStylebook as I edit stories.


Data about data.


A tightly focused group of Web pages typically dedicated to a single topic, product or service.

modified tweet (MT)

A tweet amended before forwarding uses the abbreviation “MT”.


A social network site similar to Facebook.

personal message (PM)

Similar to a direct message, a personal message, often abbreviated as “PM,” is a private form of communication between different members on a social media platform.

removal of punctuation, characters

It is acceptable in instant messages and texting to remove punctuation and characters, most often vowels, to save time.


On Twitter, an @ reply is a common technique used to speak to other people directly.

retweet (RT)

The practice, on Twitter, of forwarding a message or link from someone else to your followers. Users can either formally retweet to make the forwarded message appear exactly as written by the original user or use the informal convention of “RT @username:” to share the tweet and edit or add comment. Spelled out in all references, though common use on Twitter abbreviates to RT. If you amend the tweet before forwarding, use the abbreviation “MT” for “modified tweet.”


An abbreviation for Really Simple Syndication.

scraping, mirroring

The method of copying video, photo or audio content from an account and reposting it to a different one.

search engine optimization

Any of a number of methods, both informal and algorithmic, used to ensure that online content shows up in search engines such as Google, thus increasing traffic to the content. SEO is acceptable on second reference.


An advanced mobile device, such as an iPhone, that can be used to check email, browse the Web and download applications.

social media

Online tools that people use to connect with one another, including social networks.

social media optimization

Any of a number of methods, mostly informal, used to ensure that online content is shared on social networks, increasing click-thru traffic to the originating website. “SMO” is acceptable on second reference.

social networks

Online networks such as Facebook or Twitter where people share personal and professional information and content, and connect with friends and colleagues.


A short string of words used on social networks to alert followers to a user’s recent activities or point them to something of interest.


A method of processing and delivering media in real time over the Internet. Videos on YouTube are an example of streaming content, as are many on-demand services like Netflix and Hulu.


A method of keeping track of public updates from Facebook users without necessarily adding them as a friend. The feature must be enabled by a user to allow users to subscribe to his or her updates.


A touch-screen device, such as an iPad or Kindle Fire, that can be connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi or cellular data networks.


The action of identifying someone or something in a post or piece of content. Photos are often tagged to identify people and objects in them.

text messaging, instant messaging

Terms and symbols used in text and instant messaging are increasingly showing up in quotations and regular written exchanges. Many are also used in social media updates. In one example, the numeral 2 is shorthand for to or too, as in “I have something 4 U 2”.


Used to indicate that a particular topic is getting a lot of attention on a social network, search engine or website.


A blogging platform.


A message-distribution system that allows users to post continual updates of up to 140 characters detailing their activities for followers or providing links to other content. The verb is “to tweet, tweeted”. A Twitter message is known as a “tweet”.


To remove an account from the list of accounts that populate a feed, usually on Twitter. Note that unfollowing on Twitter is a one-way action: I may unfollow you, but you may continue to follow me.


To remove someone from a list of friends, usually on Facebook.

user interface (UI)

The features of a device, program or website that enable control by a human. “UI” is acceptable on second reference. Also called user experience or “UX”.


Voice over Internet Protocol. A method of transmitting sound as data over the Internet, allowing for inexpensive phone conversations. “VoIP” is acceptable on second reference.


Wireless Application Protocol. A standard that allows users to access information on mobile devices.


A location on the World Wide Web that maintains one or more pages at a specific address. See World Wide Web Addresses (URLs and URIs) and Web Words for more information.


A small module with a specific purpose that appears on a website, desktop or other interface and allows access to content or functions.


Software that allows a group of users to add, delete, edit and share information on an intranet or Internet website.


An online encyclopedia whose entries are created and edited by its users,regardless of a person’s expertise. May contain useful links but should not be used as a primary source of information.


A video-serving network owned by Google that allows users to upload their own videos for access by anyone with a network connection.