Commonly misused social media terms

And how you should be referring to them.


Everyone has pet peeves.

They can range from people not using their turn signal to sentences with a double negative. In the social media world, there are a slew of things that get people worked up. For instance, when someone likes his own Facebook post. For my friend Jacqueline, it’s when social media professionals use silly names for themselves such as “guru” or “ninja.” For me, it’s even nerdier.

Working in social media every day, I’ve become familiar with the terminology used to describe what I do. I know that someone who tweets is a Twitterer, and I can even use the word virality (correctly) in a sentence.

However, not everyone is as immersed in social media on a daily basis, so they don’t always get the terminology quite right. I don’t blame them—there are numerous social media terms that are commonly misused by the masses.

I’ve compiled some of (what I’ve seen to be) commonly misused social media terms to help you, a friend, or a loved one, talk a little nerdier about social media:

Your business has a “page,” not a “fan page.”

In 2007, Facebook first rolled out an option for businesses to get in on the social network. Your business could create an account, collect fans, and place ads. Today, however, “fan pages” are long gone. What your business has is simply a “page” or “business page.”

Say goodbye to Facebook “fans.”

In mid 2010, Facebook Business Pages began collecting “likes” instead of “fans.” When discussing the number of people connected to your page, refer to them as “likes” to avoid sounding archaic.

Different social networks have different ways to share.

Social networks differ in many ways, so it’s not surprising that they each have their own way to share information. The correct names for the ways you share are as follows: Facebook = posts; Twitter = tweets; Pinterest = pins, YouTube = uploads; and Google+ = posts.

“Impressions” and “reach” are not interchangeable terms.

While they represent similar statistics, these two words have distinct meanings. Impressions are the number of times a post (tweet, ad, etc.) is displayed, while reach is the number of unique people who saw it. In fact, reach is often lower than impressions, as one person can receive multiple impressions.

Infographics and instructographics—say what?

In the most basic sense, an infographic is a visual representation of information or data. However, in the social media world, we use the word infographic to talk about a very specific piece of content: one that uses icons, graphics, and charts to make information easily digestible and shareable across the Web.

Similar, yet different is the instructographic. While, at first glance, it appears to be the same as an infographic, an instructographic uses icons as imagery to provide step-by-step instructions on how to do something. (Here’s an example.)

Clearly, this isn’t a comprehensive list of social media terms. Hopefully, though, it will come in handy for those of you who enjoy talking nerdy—and want to ensure you’re doing it right.

Emily Trimble is the Chief of Content at BLASTmedia in Fishers, Indiana. She specializes in blogging for technology and lifestyle clients. Follow her on Twitter @trimblyton. A version of this story first appeared on the Blast Media blog.

(Image via)

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