“After you read my blog, just ping me on chat.”
Though many PR professionals speak fluent social media, some of our clients, executives, or audience members may not. Their experience with social media may not go beyond Facebook, so it may seem like everyone else is speaking a foreign language.
Here is a quick guide to some common terms, which you can use a universal translator for social media.
Blog — combine the words “Web” and “log,” and you get “blog.” A blog is a site published on the Internet consisting of discrete entries (called posts).
Creative Commons — a nonprofit corporation that makes it easier to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. It provides free licenses and other legal tools so others can share, remix, or use works (such as photos and videos) commercially.
Delicious — a free online bookmarking service where users can save Web addresses so they can be shared or accessed from any device.
Digg — a social news website that enables members to submit and vote on articles. Articles with the most votes appear on the homepage.
Facebook — a social networking website that enables registered users to create profiles, upload photos and video, send messages and keep in touch with friends, family, and colleagues.
Flickr — a social network that enables users to store and share photos online.
Hangout — a service on Google+ with which users can video chat with up to 10 Google+ users.
Forum — an online discussion site. Forums are also known as message boards.
Google + — Google’s version of Facebook. The focus of Google+ is not on sharing with a mass group of friends, but on targeted sharing with groups called “circles.”
Hashtag — words or phrases prefixed with the symbol “#,” which is used on Twitter as a way to annotate a message and make it more easily searchable. Hashtags are commonly used to show that a tweet is related to an event or conference.
Instagram — a smartphone app with which users take photos, apply filters, and share the images. Now only can users share photos on their Instagram accounts, they can also post to other social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. Owned by Facebook.
Klout — a service that measures a user’s social influence by examining that user’s various social media accounts (such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and providing a score on a scale from one to 100.
LinkedIn — LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site. LinkedIn is to your professional contacts what Facebook is to your friends. Think of it as a professional Facebook page.
Meme — content such as a video, link, or email message that is widely spread. The term can also apply to a concept such as a way of telling a joke or a type of video.
Ping — to send a short message (via email, chat, or text) expecting a brief response.
Pinterest — a pinboard-style photo sharing website that enables users to create and manage theme-based image collections related to events, interests, hobbies, etc. Users can browse other pinboards for inspiration, “repin” images, or “like” photos.
Reddit — a social news site that enables users to share, vote and comment on stories.
Skype — a software application and online service through which users can make voice and video phone calls over the Internet.
Snapchat — a photo-sharing service for smartphones. Users send images to a select group of recipients, and after a set amount of time, those photos (“snaps”) stop being viewable.
Slideshare — a social network for sharing presentations and documents that enables users to embed, comment on, and share presentations.
StumbleUpon — a search engine and toolbar that finds and recommends content to users. It gives users the opportunity to discover and rate websites, photos, and videos that are personalized to their tastes and interests.
Tumblr — a social media website through which users can post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog. Users can follow other users’ blogs, “reblog” content and “like” posts.
Twitter — a platform by which users share messages no longer than 140 characters. Users can follow each other to subscribe to each other’s messages. Users can also use the “@” command to reply to another Twitter user’s message.
Vimeo — a video sharing service, similar to YouTube. Vimeo user videos are often more artistic, and the service does not allow commercial video content.
Vine — a video sharing service through which users can upload videos no longer than six seconds each. Owned by Twitter.
Tweet — a 140-character message posted on Twitter. Echoing one of these messages is called a “retweet.”
Wiki — a web site developed collaboratively by a community of users, allowing any user to add and edit content.
Wikipedia — a free, web-based, collaborative encyclopedia that has been written by volunteers and can edited by anyone with access to the site. There are currently 100,000 active contributors.
Yelp — a social network and local search website that provides users with a platform to review, rate, and discuss local businesses and services.
YouTube — a video-sharing web site on which users can upload, share, and view videos.
Ragan readers, what else would you add to the list?
Laura Hale Brockway is an Austin-based writer and editor. Read more of her work at impertinentremarks.com.