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Social Media Language: How to Speak and Understand It

Decode the Lingo and Learn How to Use It


There is a long list of social media sites out there that cater to a wide variety of people with common interests. While some are less known, others are known to millions of users, such as the ever-popular Facebook. If you wish to generate a strong Internet presence and following, Clicc Media Inc highly recommends becoming well versed in the top 5 most popular social media sites.

social media language across different platforms

Source: Sprinklr.com

How Do I Do That?

Well, for starters, you need to familiarize yourself with their primary functions, uses, and, most importantly, the lingo. Each social media site has its own language. Many terms have become interchangeable within the sites, but it is important to know what means what on the top 5 social media sites.

By now, you are probably familiar with the ever-popular acronyms such as “LOL” or “OMG”, which mean laughing out loud and oh my gosh, respectively. You may even be familiar with more recent terms like “SMH” (shake my head) or “hashtag”.

But in order to make the most of your social media experience, especially for individuals who are using social media to market their business, you should be familiar with all the relevant terms. Below we’ll touch over the 5 most popular social media sites, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn, and tell you a little bit about how each one is beneficial and familiarize you with some of the more commonly used lingo.

social media jargon styles
  1. Facebook

    This one is pretty easy, as most are familiar with the general Facebook lingo, such as “Like”, “Friend”, or “Share”. Very recently, Facebook evolved their simple “like” button into a slew of reactions, ranging from WOW to Angry and even included a purple flower to signify Thankful during the Mother’s Day holiday. These are super easy to use – just hover over the button until the desired reaction appears – and are a great way to truly express how you feel about a post.

    Facebook does not really employ the use of acronyms or hashtags as often as other sites, but they are still used in some instances. You’ll also find plenty of new “millennial” terms such as “on fleek” or “YAASS”. If you are attempting to market your site towards this age group, we recommend you pad your vocabulary with some popular youthful jargon. Some words you should absolutely know include meme, viral, and hashtag.

     You May Also Like: “How Attorney Hashtags Will Help Boost Your Firm’s Exposure 
  2. Twitter

    Here’s a site that utilizes a whole bunch of acronyms and site-specific terms in order for users to communicate. The Twittersphere (or Twitterverse), as it is referred to by its most loyal users, has a plethora of different terms and jargon that can be utilized to help make your posts more engaging. Plus, it will help you market yourself more effectively to its users.

    On Twitter, you will have followers (whereas Facebook you have friends) who will post tweets, or even retweet your posts (which is the goal, ultimately). Twitter limits all tweets to 140 characters, so acronyms have become a widely used occurrence on Twitter. You’ll see lots of words like “b4”, “b/c”, or “idk” which are highly popular within other forms of digital communication, including text messages. But you’ll also run into newer acronyms, such as ICYMI (In Case You Missed It) or TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read). Twitter also birthed the ever-popular term, hashtag, which has become interchangeable through most social media sites.

    As mentioned, Twitter users often favor acronyms over full words due to Twitter’s character limit. This means learning lots of new lingo and jargon in order to express your thoughts properly. While it can seem like a lot to take in, slowly but surely you’ll find yourself reading through tweets full of them without missing a beat. Here are some words you definitely should know before diving into the wild world of Twitterese: RT (retweet), handle (username), and DM (direct message). Try finding trending tags and working them into your posts to boost the interactions you’ll get on your tweet!

  3. Instagram

    Instagram, unlike Facebook and Twitter, is a social media site dedicated entirely to sharing photos and, more recently, short videos. While you can absolutely do either on both Facebook and Twitter, Instagram offers filters and borders to accentuate images.

    Here, you will find a combination of abbreviations and hashtags, such as #WCW, which stands for Women Crush Wednesday. Instagram originally began as a mobile-only app, meaning it was only available on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Shortly after it was acquired by Facebook in 2012, Instagram developed a website that was accessible to users from computers and similar devices.

    Instagram offers users the option to showcase certain aspects of their business or life using attractive photos and popular hashtags. Photos that generate a large amount of attention can even be found on Instagram’s featured photo tab. You even have the option to search hashtags, which will provide you with a number of posts that have used that tag and a selection of some of the photos. Even if Instagram isn’t your primary social media service, it is definitely a great way to market yourself and direct people to other sites of yours. Some terms you should definitely utilize in your posts include #POTD (or #PictureoftheDay), Regram, and #ThrowbackThursday, sometimes just abbreviated to #TBT.

  4. LinkedIn

    LinkedIn differs from the other social media sites on this list because of its intended nature. Unlike the others, which are most commonly used for entertainment and social purposes, LinkedIn is directed toward a more business-oriented group. This site is primarily used for professional networking, and will often be utilized by business professionals to connect with other business professionals.

    For example, where a Facebook profile may showcase your personal interests and experiences, a LinkedIn profile will focus more on your employment and education. Oftentimes, users use LinkedIn to connect with others in a similar line of work or to verify a potential employee’s professionalism and work history. Having a LinkedIn profile can often be more beneficial to some, due to its straightforwardness.

    Because of its intended level of professionalism, LinkedIn is not exactly designed for socializing or sharing personal thoughts with others. It is more a method of keeping in touch with colleagues, old classmates, or potential work relationships. Additionally, while basic membership is free, more involved connections require a paid subscription. This helps the site verify the authenticity of its users. While LinkedIn doesn’t exactly have its own specific jargon that should be observed, some terms you should know include connections (users you have accepted invitations from) and InMail.

  5. YouTube

    This site is oftentimes overlooked for its social media ability, as YouTube is more commonly recognized as a video-sharing site. This is not entirely true. YouTube can absolutely be used to connect with others socially. Additionally, YouTube videos can be created to showcase content and then shared within other social media sites to boost your YouTube views and subscriptions as well as your following on sites like Facebook and Twitter.

    Remember that if a YouTube video goes viral on Facebook, it also goes viral on YouTube! This site is definitely best used when in conjunction with another site – unless you are in the business of creating full-length skits or videos.

     You May Also Like: “Straight Outta Youtube! 

    Like LinkedIn, YouTube does not have a particular language or jargon that needs to be understood in order to really take advantage of the site. Within video descriptions, some users choose to take advantage of popular hashtags. Users oftentimes offer links to other social sites within the descriptions so interested parties can discover them. Additionally, the comments section allows for fellow YouTube users to express their opinions on the video including offering a thumbs-up or down, depending on how they choose to react.

  6. How Has Social Media Benefited You?

    How do you use social media? We believe a combination of social media is the most beneficial way to generate an online following for your business. Tell us what your favorite 3 social media sites are and how they have helped boost your business in the comments below!

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